Heading into this season, most of the Blue Jays top prospects were slated to start the year in the low minors, a few years away from the bigs. Even though the Buffalo Bisons are sitting atop the International League's Northern Division standings, their roster is comprised mostly of minor league veterans. With some players returning from injury and other issues, however, the picture in the upper levels from a prospect perspective is getting brighter.
Lefthander Sean Nolin, sidelined since suffering a leg injury near the end of spring training after a dazzling 2012, returned to action with New Hampshire last night, and had a respectable outing, considering his layoff. Nolin gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits in 3 1/3 innings in an eventual 8-5 loss to New Britain, walking one and striking out three. The day before, righthander Chad Jenkins, who appeared in 13 games (3 starts) with the Blue Jays last year, also made his season debut with the Fisher Cats, allowing 2 runs in 5 innings. Jenkins allowed 3 hits, with 1 BB and 1 K. Adding to this new depth is the imminent return of righthander Marcus Stroman, who is 15 days away from returning from his suspension. The plan is likely for Stroman to join New Hampshire's starting rotation.
Not to be outdone, OF Kevin Pillar has hit .349 in his last 10 games for the Fisher Cats, and leading the club in hitting with a .324/.383/.467 line.
With the parent club on a modest run with a pair of come-from-behind wins as part of a 3 game winning streak, the high-flying Bisons, the strong performances of some of the club's top prospects in A ball, and now the bolstering of New Hampshire's roster, things are looking a lot better for the organization than they were a week ago.