Though the Toronto Blue Jays claim that it’s not serious, right-handed pitching prospect John Stilson has hit the disabled list with right shoulder tightness.
Stilson sat out last summer with a torn labrum in his right shoulder and was regarded as an injury risk in the 2011 MLB Draft due to his injury history and violent delivery.
Obviously, this is cause for significant concern with Stilson, even if the Blue Jays believe that the injury is not serious. Since Stilson did not undergo surgery last year to repair any damage, instead opting for a six-week rehabilitation program with Dr. James Andrews, an injury now could mean re-aggravating the shoulder injury sustained last summer.
This is disappointing news for Stilson, who had moved quickly through the Blue Jays’ organization. Stilson was aggressively assigned to advanced-A Dunedin, and after performing well there, was promoted to AA New Hampshire. Stilson has had his ups and downs with New Hampshire, but has looked solid overall. Stilson has had excellent stuff and has demonstrated the ability to get batters out when he remains calm.
Stilson has the stuff to be extremely successful in the major leagues. He lacks poise, becomes rattled easily, and must improve his control, but there is no question that John Stilson will strike batters out when he steps on a big league mound.
With this injury for Stilson, the Blue Jays might opt to more strongly consider the possibility that his future lies in the bullpen. This has long been a possibility with Stilson, and much of the justification for his role as a starter this year has been to get Stilson innings to work on his development.
Of course, Stilson would have more value in the starting rotation, but like fellow member of the Fisher Cats, Marcus Stroman, the Blue Jays will have to weigh their options when it comes to deciding how to move forward with their young power arms. Both Stilson and Stroman would throw harder out of the bullpen, but both also have the potential to have a wide enough repertoire to stick as a starter. Be sure to keep an eye on the way in which the Blue Jays handle Stilson when he returns from his injury.
Read up on John Stilson in a recent edition of Prospect Power.
Charles Davis is a baseball writer for RantSports.com with a specific focus on the Toronto Blue Jays, their farm system, and prospects league-wide. Read his articles here and follow him on Twitter @CPDavis90.