Jonathon Wandling helped the Vancouver Canadians reach the Northwest League playoffs in 2014 by winning both of his decisions.
The month of May ended in dismay for Jonathon Wandling. The 2014-2015 Vancouver Canadians righthander was released by the Toronto Blue Jays May 31 after making it back from an injury that caused him to miss all of 2016.
Wandling made two appearances with the Dunedin Blue Jays earlier in May. He was roughed up in his first appearance, allowing four runs on a grand slam home run over 1-2/3 innings against the host St. Lucie Mets May 21. He was much better six days later in Lakeland when he completed a scoreless frame with just one walk as his only blemish. That outing was apparently was not enough to convince the Jays to keep him around.
Wandling signed with the Blue Jays as a free agent in 2014 out of the University of Southern Indiana where he won 10 of 11 decisions with a 2.90 earned run average while striking out 84 batters and walking 22 in 99 innings with the Eagles. That performance earned him an honourable mention All-America and a plethora of other awards including NCAA II Midwest Regional Most Valuable Player and All-Tournament honours. He was a two-way player at with the Eagles where he batted .314, stole 11 bases and recorded a nine-game hitting streak.
Wandling transferred to Southern Indiana after spending three years with Kentucky Wesleyan College where he played football and baseball for the Panthers. Before heading to college, the Evansville, Indiana native had also played basketball as well as spending time on the gridiron and the diamond, lettering in all three sports at Evansville Memorial High School.
Wandling reported to the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays in 2014 to begin his pro career before seeing time with the Dunedin Blue Jays and the Vancouver Canadians, splitting 12 appearances equally at all three stops, all but two of them in relief. The 6-foot-3 righty posted a 1-1 record with a 3.65 ERA in the GCL before pitching 5-2/3 scoreless innings for the D-Jays, despite the Florida State League batting .375 against him. He was shipped off to Vancouver where he made his home debut against the Everett AquaSox August 13. He won his first game with the C’s four days later with a scoreless inning-and-a-third in Everett. His next victory came in his first start when he lasted 5-2/3 innings, surrendering just two runs (one homer) on two hits and three walks against the Eugene Emeralds in Oregon August 29.
Wandling contributed two wins with a 4.63 ERA down the stretch for the C’s to help them reach the playoffs for a fifth straight season. His only taste of post-season action came in Game 2 of the Northwest League finals when he stranded a runner for starter Matt Smoral and threw 2-1/3 scoreless innings against the Hillsboro Hops. In spite of that, Wandling and his teammates had to watch the Hops celebrate on their home field after winning the league championship, ending the C’s three-year reign.
The 2015 season saw Wandling go to Dunedin where he earned the victory in his season debut against the Daytona Tortugas April 26 despite giving up three runs in two innings. He would not pitch again until May 19 as he was in transaction limbo, being shuffled to Vancouver and Extended Spring Training. Despite contributing 2-2/3 scoreless innings in his May outing, he was assigned to Extended Spring again.
Wandling’s next appearance would come with Vancouver during its season opener, pitching a scoreless inning out of the bullpen against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes June 18. He was the winning pitcher in the C’s home opener against Hillsboro June 26 by throwing 3-1/3 innings after Jon Harris‘ pro debut.
Transitioning to the starting rotation near mid-July, Wandling’s best performance came July 18 against Eugene when he pitched seven innings of one-run ball on four hits and two walks. He struck out nine and eight of his 11 outs in play were recorded on the ground for a Game Score of 72. Unfortunately, he got a no-decision in an eventual extra-innings loss.
Wandling’s last start with Vancouver saw him pitch 6-1/3 scoreless innings against the Spokane Indians August 6 before three singles and a double led to four runs in the seventh in an eventual loss. He scattered seven hits and a walk while whiffing five and getting nine groundball outs.
After that outing, Wandling was summoned to Lansing where the Clinton LumberKings ruined his Midwest League debut with five runs over five innings August 12. He rebounded in his home debut with the Lugnuts with seven innings of two-run ball versus the Lake County Captains August 18. His last start for Lansing was bittersweet as he earned his first MWL victory against the West Michigan Whitecaps August 29 but had to leave the game due to an injury.
He lasted 5-2/3 innings, giving up three runs but his K/BB total was 1-4 and that may have been the telltale sign that something was up.
Wandling ends his Blue Jays minor league career with a 7-4 record and a 4.66 ERA over 101 innings in which he posted a K/BB figure of 62-34. Of the 30 appearances he made, 11 were starts. We’ll see if another major league team takes a chance on him or if he will catch on with an independent league team. Here’s hoping for the best – thanks for your contributions with the C’s.