|Hansel Rodriguez - Rocketsports.com photo|
The Blue Jays Low A affiliate Lansing Lugnuts play an annual exhibition called the Crosstown Showdown against the Michigan State Spartans on the eve of their Midwest League season opener.
The Lugs traditionally bring up several pitching prospects to play in the game, in order to save the arms on the Lansing pitching staff.
This year, they will feature prospects Patrick Murphy, Jose Nova, and Hansel Rodriguez for their first taste of life in the chilly midwest.
Murphy was the Jays 3rd round pick in 2013, but his pro debut was delayed a year due to Tommy John surgery in high school. Since then, Murphy has been beset by several injury issues, and has been limited to all of 4 IP since turning pro. Here's a scouting report from Baseball America from his draft year:
The Blue Jays signed third baseman Mitch Nay out of Hamilton in 2012, so area scout Blake Crosby got a good look at Murphy and had some history with him before he had to have Tommy John surgery last summer. He didn't pitch at all during the high school season, but has been throwing some rehabilitation bullpen sessions, as he is nearly a year removed from the operation. Murphy has a big, strong build at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds. At his best last year, his fastball sat in the 89-93 mph range and he mixes in a solid curveball and changeup. Murphy is committed to Oregon.He's apparently healthy now, and being kept back in Extended for the time being.
Lefty Nova and righty Rodriguez were 2014 IFAs. Rodriguez signed for $300K, and has a fastball that hits the mid-90s. Both pitched stateside in the GCL last year. Chris King had this observation:
Murphy should be starting in he GCL this year, but will likely move quickly if he's healthy and successful.Hansel Rodriguez pumping easy 93-94. Filled the lower half of the zone with his heavy FB #BlueJays— Chris King (@StatsKing) March 16, 2016
Nova and H-Rod should start at Bluefield.
With the mix of rain and snow currently hitting Southern Ontario also hanging around Lansing, the game may be a challenge to get in.