Quite a few notable performances were turned in by former Vancouver Canadians in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system over the first five days in May. Here is a quick recap of what happened with Lansing, Dunedin, New Hampshire and Buffalo.
Christian Williams had a perfect night at the plate for Dunedin May 1.
Williams Waxes Tortugas, Pearson Promoted & Steinmetz Swats One Out
Christian Williams (2016) enjoyed a pair of multi-hit efforts this week. The Gulf Coast Community College product went 4-for-4 with a home run and a double as Dunedin dumped Daytona 9-2 Wednesday. The 2017 C’s trio of Cullen Large, Kevin Vicuna and Norberto Obeso and 2018 catcher Chris Bec all had two hits apiece. Nate Pearson (2017) struck out five and walked just one over his two-inning stint. Pearson will get his first crack at Double-A later this week. Kyle Weatherly (2017) contributed a couple of scoreless frames out of the bullpen.
Dunedin knocked off Daytona again 6-2 Thursday. Obeso had a three-hit game while 2018 C’s outfielder Hunter Steinmetz belted a three-run home run for his first professional dinger in his season debut after being promoted from extended spring training. Graham Spraker (2017) got the victory, improving to 3-0 after surrendering just one run on three hits and a hit by pitch. He struck out four to lower his earned run average to 2.45. Matt Shannon (2017) gave up a run over 2-2/3 innings while William Ouellette (2017) stranded a runner for Shannon and got the final four outs in his return from Buffalo.
The D-Jays were walloped by St. Lucie Friday before suffering a 2-1 loss to the Mets Saturday. Lefty Nick Allgeyer (2018) gave up a two-run home run but lasted six innings, allowing four hits and two walks but striking out six. The left-hander has posted a 30-4 strikeout-walk total in 32-2/3 innings and a 1.38 ERA. Connor Law (2018) worked around a hit and a walk and punched out two over three shutout frames. Williams drove in the only run in the ninth and went 2-for-4. Obeso singled and stole a base while Large singled and scored the lone
Nick Podkul has raised his batting average 86 points to .282 with Lansing.
Podkul Heats Up, Contreras Crushes One & Kirwer Returns
The Lugnuts began the month of May on the wrong foot as they were whacked by Wisconsin Wednesday. One bright spot was the 5-1/3 innings of one-run relief by Cobi Johnson. The run was a solo homer but the son of Dane allowed just two other hits and issued one walk while striking out three in the first game of a doubleheader. The second game saw Nick Podkul go 3-for-3 but the Lugnuts lost 2-1. Fitz Stadler got the loss despite a decent outing that saw him give up two runs on four hits and two walks. The former Arizona State Sun Devil put up strikeout and groundout totals of five apiece.
Lansing bounced back Friday against the Timber Rattlers by rattling them 10-4 Thursday. Jake Brodt and McGregory Contreras contributed a pair of hits each and Reggie Pruitt tripled, singled and walked in support of Joey Murray who allowed just two runs over six innings. The former Kent State Golden Flash gave up a home run among five hits and two walks but struck out seven. Murray has struck out 40 and walked 12 over 30-2/3 innings.
The Lugnuts reached double digits again Friday as they broke the Beloit Snappers 10-2. Brodt doubled twice and Otto Lopez tripled, singled and stole a base but also notable was the return of Tanner Kirwer. The Sherwood Park. Alberta native was 0-for-2 but walked twice and stole a pair of bases in his Lugnuts debut.
Lansing only scored a run Saturday and that was not enough to support Troy Miller in his first professional start. The former Michigan Wolverine made his season debut with 4-1/3 innings of two-run ball on four hits (including a homer) and two walks which he matched with two strikeouts. North Vancouver, BC native Will McAffer supplied 2-2/3 shutout innings of one-hit relief with two whiffs.
The Locos would take the rubber match Sunday against Beloit with a 7-5 triumph. Contreras cracked a three-run dinger for his first Midwest League home run and Pruitt had a run-scoring triple to put Lansing in flight. Podkul had three hits and scored a pair of runs while Brodt singled twice, walked twice and scored twice.
Sean Wymer gave up just one hit over the first innings but things unravelled in the sixth as he only got one out while being charged with five runs. The former TCU righty yielded five hits and a walk but struck out seven to get the win.
Brock Lundquist is beginning to find his stride with New Hampshire.
Lundquist Locks In, Heidt Homers
New Hampshire opened the month of May with a win over Trenton Wednesday. Brock Lundquist (2017) contributed a hit and a walk, Gunnar Heidt (2014-2015) walked and stole a base and Jake Fishman (2017) provided two shutout frames with three strikeouts to offset a hit and a walk.
The Fisher Cats returned home Thursday and opened their series against Hartford with a 1-0 victory. Nash Knight (2016) singled and scored the only run of the game in the sixth. Vinny Capra (2018) singled and Heidt walked and swiped another bag.
The Yard Goats returned the favour against the Fisher Cats Friday with a one-run victory of their own. Patrick Murphy (2016) gave up four runs over six innings but one of the runs was unearned to give him a quality start that saw him strike out eight with zero walks. He allowed six hits but nine of his 12 outs in play were on the ground. Jackson McClelland (2015-2016) gave up two hits and struck out one over two shutout frames and Danny Young (2016) whiffed one in a perfect ninth. Capra, Lundquist and Knight had two hits with Lundquist walking and stealing a base.
Heidt’s homer Saturday tied the game at 1-1 in the seventh but New Hampshire would lose to Hartford in 10 innings Saturday before losing again Sunday. Lundquist—who had a hit Saturday—doubled in the only run for the Fisher Cats and also added a single. After starting the year 0-for-19, Lundquist is above the Mendoza line at .214 thanks to a .290 batting average over his past 10 contests. Riley Adams (2017) made his Double-A debut over the weekend. He was 0-for-4 Saturday but went 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by a pitch Sunday.
Cavan Biggio continues to impress with the Buffalo Bisons in 2019.
Biggio, Burns, Davis & De La Cruz Go Deep, Urena Sacrifices & Saucedo Supreme Again
The Bisons began the month with a doubleheader at home Thursday. Andy Burns homered, Richard Urena (2014) had two hits and Cavan Biggio (2016) walked twice but lost to Pawtucket in Game 1. Jonathan Davis (2014) also had a single, a walk and a stolen base in a losing cause. The Herd regrouped to pound the PawSox 10-1 in Game 2. Biggio and Michael De La Cruz (2014) both homered while Davis was 1-for-1 with two runs scored and three walks. Urena was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
The Herd lost to visiting Lehigh Valley Friday. The only highlights were Davis and Burns getting singles with Davis stealing a base. Urena contributed a sacrifice fly. Conor Fisk (2015) stranded a runner and put up a scoreless stint of 2-1/3 innings of three-hit ball with punchouts.
The IronPigs knocked off the Herd again Saturday. Sean Reid-Foley (2014) walked five over six innings but kept the damage to two runs on three hits, including a home run. He struck out six to go with a groundout total of six. Roemon Fields (2014) drove in a run on a sacrifice fly but Burns was thrown out trying to score from second.
The Bisons salvaged the series finale with a 3-2 win Sunday. Davis homered and Urena lifted a sac fly to put Buffalo on the board in the first. Biggio scored the winning run after a base hit in the sixth as part of a two-hit day while adding a stolen base. Davis also a walk while Fields walked twice and stole a base. Urena also laid down a sacrifice bunt in this one. That makes it three sac flies and one sac bunt over the past four contests.
Tayler Saucedo (2015) improved to 2-0 by surrendering just three hits and striking out three over five scoreless innings in his first Triple-A start. Justin Shafer (2014) got the save by getting the final out of the game to strand the tying run on base.
The Vancouver Canadians have released its 2019 promotions schedule. Former major leaguers coming to sign autographs at Nat Bailey Stadium this year are former Blue Jays first baseman Willie Upshaw, Gibsons, BC native Ryan Dempster and Mets ace Dwight “Doc” Gooden. They will be in town June 19, July 22 and August 8 respectively. Also, tickets will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, May 11 with the annual Super Saturday at the ballpark. Bobblehead collectors will have July 2 circled on the calendar as 2014-2015 C’s lefthhander Ryan Borucki will be immortalized with his own bobblehead.