The Blue Jays have released nine MiLB players including Suriel and Anderson
According to Baseballamerica.com, the Blue Jays released nine minor league players. In their list of minor league transactions over the past week, they show, RHP Starlyn Suriel, LHP Nate Abel, LHP Hunter Barnett, LHP Christian Cox, C Justin Atkinson, C Seth Conner, 2B Aaron Attaway, OF Jacob Anderson, and OF Kalik May as receiving their walking papers.
This collection of names will probably elicit a “who?” from most but Jacob Anderson might be recognizable to some. He was the Blue Jays’ first round selection in 2011. Aside from a very brief stint to begin his pro career, he disappointed over five seasons in the Jays’ system. He dealt with injuries and advanced very slowly.
The highest level he reached was Lansing last year for 27 games. He posted a .199 .260 .290 slash over two levels in 2016—very discouraging numbers for a 23 year old, 5 season pro. We at TheBirdfeed had slated Jacob to ride the pine in Vancouver. It’s hard to disagree with the Jays’ assessment and decision to put an end to his tenure with the club.
It’s quite a bit harder to understand the Blue Jays’ decision to release Starlyn Suriel. He was looking like he’d be one of the better options in Lansing’s bullpen. In his 3rd season in the organization, the now 23 year old put up a 3.25 ERA over three levels. He had a brief stint in New Hampshire and Dunedin each but spent most of the season with Lansing. With the Lugnuts, he had a 3.21 ERA, 0.7 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, 8.8 K/9 over 61.2 IP. Those are solid numbers and they made him one of Lansing’ most reliable options.
With Suriel’s effective season, he probably deserved a promotion to A+ instead of a pink slip. It’s tough to see the logic here, perhaps there were extenuating circumstances that go beyond what occurred on the diamond.
Nate Abel also showed promise with a 3.38 ERA.
The reasoning behind the other releases is sound. Cox is now 25 and has only played one game beyond rookie ball. Barnett had a rough time in Bluefield. May was heading back to rookie ball at age 24. Attaway couldn’t produce at the plate and was 25. Atkinson managed just a .532 OPS in Lansing last year. Conner hadn’t really been a player for a few years now—he had been serving as a player/coach. Perhaps he’ll make a permanent transition to coaching. He is spoken highly of in that role.
The Blue Jays’ system was getting packed and a few cuts needed to be made to free up some space for prospects the team is more optimistic about. For the players involved, it’s unfortunate but for the organization, necessary pruning.