Blue Jays Midseason Report
BEST PLAYER: Brett Lawrie was close to a call-up to Toronto when a pitch hit his left hand in the first inning of a Triple-A Las Vegas game on May 31. Although initial X-rays revealed no break, a subsequent scan revealed a non-displaced fracture. He might not return until August. He was off to an impressive start, batting .354/.415/.677 with 15 homers, 49 RBIs and 51 runs in 52 games. He also had 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts. Lawrie worked hard to improve his plate discipline and defense. Even more impressive was his all-out style of play and confidence and for a time it looked like he could break with the major-league team. That's how impressive he has been.
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: After going 6-2, 2.63 in 14 starts at low Class A Lansing, right-hander Drew Hutchison, 20, made the jump to high Class A Dunedin without missing a beat. In his first start for Dunedin on June 26, he picked up the win as he allowed one unearned runs and five hits in six innings. He had one walk and five strikeouts. That made him 7-2, 2.42 in his first 15 starts this season. In 72 innings at Lansing he allowed 68 hits including one home run, 19 walks and struck out 84. The 15th-round pick in 2009 has a slider and changeup to go with his fastball that gets up to 95.
Outfielder Kenny Wilson was struggling at Dunedin, batting .201/.296/.274 with 10 RBIs in 48 games. He had 52 strikeouts against 16 walks. He did have 17 steals in 21 attempts. But his final game of the season was June 6 when he went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. His season ended because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder that required surgery. The second round pick in 2008 has speed and can steal bases but has yet to hit for average. He had a brief look during major-league spring training going 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
• Right-hander Kyle Drabek was demoted to Las Vegas after struggling at 4-5, 5.70, in 14 major-league starts. He has been told to put away his cutter and to pitch more with his fastball for now.
• Righthander Zach Stewart was called up from Double-A New Hampshire to take Drabek's spot in the rotation. He was 0-1, 4.86 in three starts before being returned on June 28 to New Hampshire where he was 4-3, 4.39 in 12 starts. His spot in the major-league rotation was taken by left-hander Brett Cecil who was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.