Ryan Metzler saw his three-year tenure in the Blue Jays organization come to an end after being released earlier this month according to the weekly transaction column from Baseball America.
The Blue Jays drafted Metzler in the 9th round of 2014 from the University of South Carolina-Aiken Pacers where he posted on-base-plus-slugging percentages of .947 and .917 as a sophomore and a junior after spending his freshman campaign at Siena College, where he batted .291.
The 6-foot-3 righthanded hitter reported to Vancouver and singled in his second at-bat with the C’s in Spokane June 19. He went into an 0-for-11 skid before recording two-hit performances June 24 and June 25 at home against the Hillsboro Hops. The latter game saw him enjoy a perfect day at the plate that included a double and two walks. Metzler extended his hitting streak to four games to push his batting average to .280 but it would sink to .226 by the end of the month.
Metzler helped the C’s stage a rally with his next two-hit game, singling home a run and scoring the winning run in a come-from-behind victory against the Eugene Emeralds at home July 17. Metzler’s other two-hit efforts came July 21 and the regular season finale on September 1. He did not see any playoff action during the C’s bid for a fourth straight Northwest League title that came up short.
The fans at Nat Bailey Stadium did not get to see him at his best as he hit .194 at home compared to .304 on the road. He also preferred hitting during the day with a .345 average versus a .202 mark at night. Metzler struck out just over 20 percent of the time but his walk rate was just over 13 percent to give him an on-base percentage of .351.
Metzler reported to Vancouver again in 2015 and endured a miserable start by going 0-for-11 with just one walk. However, his first hit came in the bottom of the ninth inning June 27 and he would score the winning run to give the C’s a walkoff victory. His batting average would drop to .050 in early July before giving it a 207 point life with a four-game hitting streak that included a career-best four-hit effort with two doubles in Everett July 17.
Metzler really heated up in August with a 16-game hitting streak that included his first pro home run in Hillsboro August 12. Other highlights included a three-hit game in which he singled and scored the winning run in Spokane August 28 and a career-tying four-hit performance at home against the Indians September 4. His last hit with the C’s came September 6 in the form of a home run in the home/season finale as Vancouver pounded Spokane 11-0. That gave Metzler a final batting line of .283/.341/.365. His walk rate fell to just under seven percent but he only whiffed less than 14 percent of the time.
Splitting his time as a second and third baseman, Metzler chopped his error total in half from eight to four and was involved in 27 double plays in 2015. I thought his improved play at the time merited consideration for the R. Howard Webster Award as the Blue Jays top minor leaguer in Vancouver.
The Glen Burnie, Maryland native started 2016 in Dunedin where he went 2-for-11 in three games. His two hits came in his last game with the D-Jays, singling and scoring the winning run in an 13th-inning walk-off victory against the Palm Beach Cardinals April 16. Despite also drawing a walk in that contest, Metzler was sent back to extended spring training and did not play again until mid-June with the Lansing Lugnuts.
Metzler began his Midwest League career by going 0-for-8 before smacking a two-run triple as part of a three-hit game that was a homer short of the cycle against the West Michigan Whitecaps June 18. He came back with another three-hit game the next day that included a pair of doubles in another home win against West Michigan. He continued to feast on Whitecaps pitching with back-to-back two-hit games June 24 and June 25. Metzler’s batting average was .385 after that game but it began to sink like a stone as the season wore on as he hit just .158 in July and .120 in August before a hitless September that included a 0-for-16 drought to end the year. He was injured for the first part of July as he spent some time on the disabled list before being activated but he could not rediscover his earlier groove at the plate. Defensively, Metzler spent more time at short than second and third with the Lugnuts with a .963 fielding percentage at the six spot.
The 24 year-old Metzler will hopefully find another baseball home before too long. All the best to him in the future.