In recent weeks, prospect flame-thrower John Stilson has been pitching out of the bullpen for the Toronto Blue Jays double-A affiliate in New Hampshire. This might not be the hottest of recent MLB Rumors, but the news is reassuring for Jays fans who thought that the Blue Jays had prematurely given up on the John Stilson as a starter project.
Upon seeing Stilson pitch out of the ‘pen, I was quick to chastise the Blue Jays over this decision on the basis that they had just recently acquired several back-end bullpen pieces who could fill a similar role as Stilson would.
Perhaps I was hasty in my chastising of general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
In a recent interview with BattersBox.ca, minor league pitching coordinator Dane Johnson acknowledged that Stilson is approaching his innings limit and that the team simply decided to allow him to pitch out of the bullpen to round out his season.
Of course, this scenario is far more sensible than a premature transition to the bullpen for Stilson. However, given that Stilson had just returned from a brief stint on the disabled list when he made his first relief appearance, it was reasonable to assume that the Jays had decided Stilson would be a better long-term fit for the bullpen.
Though John Stilson does have a violent delivery, and though he does provide more velocity out of the bullpen, he certainly has the repertoire to be a starter long-term. If the Blue Jays indeed make the Buffalo Bisons their triple-A affiliate next season, expect Stilson to begin his season there – of course, as a starter.
Sorry, Alex Anthopoulos. Next time I will wait before denigrating your decision-making.
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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.