Blue Jays Arizona Fall League updates

October 25th, 2019

Seven Blue Jays prospects are playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Shortstop Kevin Smith (No. 13), second baseman Cullen Large, right-hander Maverik Buffo, right-hander Mike Ellenbest, right-hander Jackson Rees, right-hander Graham Spraker and shortstop Logan Warmoth.

Here’s a day-by-day look at how Toronto's AFL contingent is faring:

Oct. 25: Mesa 3, Scottsdale 0
Logan Warmoth tied a knot on his Fall League campaign by finishing 0-for-2 at the dish with a walk. Overall, the utility man had a strong stint for Scottsdale, hitting .295 with a .394 on-base percentage, having reeled off a seven-game hitting streak earlier in the month. Cullen Large struck out swinging in the final at-bat of the Scorpions’ 2019 season, having entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. The 23-year-old that ascended as high as Double-A during the past regular season hit .233 during his time in Arizona. Julian Merryweather was tagged with the defeat after allowing a three-run home run in the fourth, his first runs allowed during the Fall League. He did add two strikeouts in the effort, giving him eight punchouts across six frames for Scottsdale.

Oct. 24: Surprise 10, Scottsdale 2
Kevin Smith’s struggles continued Thursday as he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts -- three swinging, one looking -- in Scottsdale’s loss to Surprise. The Blue Jays' No. 13 prospect has now gone hitless in six straight games, a stretch during which he’s fanned 13 times in 20 at-bats without recording a walk. Overall, Smith has batted .095 across 18 games, striking out 48 times in 63 at-bats. 

Maverick Buffo entered into a one-out jam in the fourth inning and allowed a pair of inherited baserunners to score before completing the frame. Buffo recorded two quick outs upon returning in the fifth, then loaded the bases via a single and back-to-back walks before yielding a two-run single to Josh Stowers. He ultimately allowed four runs in 1 1/3 innings. Mike Ellenbest entered in relief of Buffo and issued three consecutive walks to push across two runs, both of which were charged to Buffo. He then allowed back-to-back singles, the first of which plated two runs, before recording a nine-pitch groundout to end the frame. It was the first time Ellenbest has been scored upon in eight AFL outings. Graham Spraker tossed the final two frames, both scoreless for the Scorpions.

Oct. 23: Peoria 6, Scottsdale 1
Cullen Large’s batting average dipped to .233 following his 0-for-4 night at the plate. Large did draw a walk and reach base in the seventh, but he was stranded at first. Logan Warmoth went hitless (0-for-2), but drew a pair of walks and has reached base in nine straight games. Jackson Rees had been lights out through the Fall League, but struggled on Wednesday. Rees, who hadn’t given up a run over his first six AFL appearances, gave up three runs on four hits over one inning

Oct. 22: Scheduled off day for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 21: Peoria 4, Scottsdale 3
Logan Warmoth hit leadoff for the Scorpions and delivered a 1-for-5 outing against Peoria on Monday. He laced a double to left-center field in the fifth that likely should have been a single, but never breaking stride, Warmoth sprinted into second ahead of the throw to notch his sixth double of the fall. Julian Merryweather impressed during his two innings out of the bullpen, putting on display a fastball that sat consistently at 95-96 mph. The 28-year-old walked one batter and allowed one hit while striking out three. Through three AFL appearances, he has allowed just three baserunners and struck out six. Cullen Large and Kevin Smith both went 0-for-4 while manning the left side of the Scottsdale infield. Each made an error, with Smith’s first-inning boot (his fifth of the Fall League) leading to an early run.

Oct. 20: Glendale 7, Scottsdale 2
Kevin Smith went 0-for-3 on Sunday. Logan Warmoth has thrived in the desert and is batting .327 through 14 games. Warmoth went 2-for-3, including a pair of doubles, against Glendale and extended his hitting streak to six games in the process.

Graham Spraker allowed a solo homer to Dodgers prospect Michael Busch, one of two hits on his line over two innings of relief for Scottsdale. The right-hander lowered his Fall League ERA to 6.75 with the one-run showing. Maverik Buffo entered the game to follow Spraker, but he recorded only one out en route to being charged with five runs. The first run came on a leadoff homer, the next two on consecutive bases-loaded walks and finally, a two-run single allowed by Mike Ellenbest, who worked 1 2/3 innings without another blemish to his line and two strikeouts. Ellenbest pushed his streak of scoreless outings to seven.

Oct. 19: Glendale 5, Scottsdale 2
Cullen Large picked up a pair of hits, including his third double of the fall, and is batting .269 after his 2-for-4 evening at the plate.

Oct. 18: Scottsdale 4, Mesa 0
Cullen Large got the offense going for Scottsdale on Friday night with a one-out ground-rule double to deep center field in the top of the first. After Braves prospect Trey Harris walked, they both came around to score on Giants prospect Jacob Heyward’s three-run homer. Large went 1-for-4, right in line with his .250 AFL average. Large started the offense, Logan Warmoth put an exclamation point on it. After the Scorpions put three runs on the board in the first, it was nothing but zeroes until there were two outs in the ninth. That’s when Warmoth crushed a 3-1 pitch out to left-center field for his first Fall League home run. He went 1-for-3 and is now hitting .306 this fall.

Julian Merryweather came in to relieve Scottsdale starter (and Phillies prospect) Spencer Howard and kept the shutout going by tossing a spotless frame. The big right-hander was 96-97 mph with his fastball and he struck out two of the three batters he faced. It was just Merryweather’s second Fall League outing -- he arrived on Oct. 14 -- and he’s put up two scoreless innings. Fellow right-hander Jackson Rees closed out Scottsdale’s win with a scoreless ninth. He gave up a hit, but also struck out two. In six outings spanning 7 1/3 innings, Rees has yet to allow a run, while yielding just five hits and one walk while fanning 12.

Oct. 17: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 16: Scottsdale 3, Mesa 0
Logan Warmoth started the scoring for Scottsdale with a line-drive RBI single in the fourth. That would be his only hit of the evening, but he would come around to score later in the frame, giving him a run scored in three of his last four contests, as well as tying him for the team high with nine. He has hit safely in each of his last four games. Kevin Smith’s fall malaise continued as he struck out twice during an 0-for-3 performance. His 32 strikeouts with the Scorpions leads all players in the Fall League.

Oct. 15: Scottsdale 2, Salt River 1
Kevin Smith’s struggles continued on Tuesday with an 0-for-3 night that included a trio of strikeouts. Smith, who hit .209 over 116 games with Double-A New Hampshire during the regular season, is batting .122 in the AFL and has struck out 30 times over 49 plate appearances. Julian Merryweather gave up a hit and struck out one as he spun a scoreless inning out of the ‘pen.

Oct. 14: Scottsdale 6, Salt River 5
Logan Warmoth played hero from the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the Scorpions on Monday night. The left fielder came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning with two runners on and Scottsdale behind 5-4. He took a fastball from Twins lefty Jovani Moran the other way for a single that drove in both runners to give his team a 6-5 edge. Cullen Large didn’t have a hit to show for his night hitting second in the Scottsdale lineup. But while the third baseman did go 0-for-4, he did manage to drive in two runs with a pair of groundouts, one in the third and one in the seventh. 

It was Blue Jays bullpen night at Salt River Fields on Monday. Mike Ellenbest, Maverik Buffo and Graham Spraker all got work in Scottsdale’s eventual 6-5 win over Salt River, and all were effective. Spraker got the win after pitching a scoreless eighth before his offense scored three times to go ahead. The right-hander allowed one hit, walked none and struck out two. Ellenbest went two scoreless earlier in the game, allowing three hits and a walk, while striking out one. He’s yet to allow a run this fall over 9 2/3 innings. Buffo also put up a zero for an inning, yielding two hits and recording one strikeout as Scottsdale relievers went 6 1/3 scoreless in back of Mets starter David Peterson.

Oct. 13: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 12: East 4, West 2
Here's how every player performed in the Fall Stars Game. More »

Oct. 11: Surprise 2, Scottsdale 0
Kevin Smith’s Fall League struggles continued Friday as he struck out swinging twice in as many at-bats for Scottsdale. The Blue Jays’ No. 13 prospect has gone 1-for-his-last-17 with 12 strikeouts and is batting .130 with 27 strikeouts in 13 games overall. Cullen Large went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk. The only Scorpions player to reach base twice in the contest, Large is batting .275 overall and has hit safely in six of his past seven games.

Oct. 10: Surprise 3, Scottsdale 1
Kevin Smith went down swinging in his first two at-bats, but he bounced back to hit his first AFL triple -- a 104.6-mph drive off the wall in center field -- to finish 1-for-3 with a run scored. Smith’s hit was just his sixth in the Fall League and ended an 0-for-14, 10-strikeout stretch at the plate. Overall, he’s batting .136 through 12 games.

Oct. 9: Peoria 3, Scottsdale 1
Graham Spraker retired the first two batters he faced, but then things started to go haywire as he gave up back-to-back hits and walked three straight, two of which forced in runs, before he was lifted. Jackson Rees continues to be untouchable in Arizona. The right-hander struck out two over 1 1/3 scoreless innings and hasn’t allowed a run over five AFL appearances (6 1/3 innings). Cullen Large reached base twice -- a single and hit by pitch -- and is hitting .263 through 10 AFL games. Logan Warmoth did pick up his 12th hit (10 games), but he also struck out three times in a 1-for-4 effort.

Oct. 8: Peoria 3, Scottsdale 2
Kevin Smith struggled at the plate Tuesday, going 0-for-4 with three swinging strikeouts from the eight-spot in Scottsdale’s lineup. Cullen Large fared better, as he hit a 103.6-mph single in the fifth inning and then added an RBI single in the ninth to finish 2-for-5. His Fall League average improved to .257 with the multihit performance, while Smith’s dropped to .122. 

Maverik Buffo took the loss for the Scorpions after allowing two runs on two hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning. Mike Ellenbest relieved Buffo and retired all four batters that he faced, striking out one. The right-hander has yet to allow a run in 7 1/3 innings (five games) in the AFL.

Oct. 7: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 6: Scottsdale 6, Glendale 5
Logan Warmoth, who batted fifth and started in left field for Scottsdale, improved his Fall League average to .314 with a 2-for-4 performance. With the multihit performance, the former first-round pick (2017) snapped out of a two-game, 0-for-7 funk at the plate. Jackson Rees pitched around a single and a walk in the ninth inning to record his first AFL save. The right-hander has been lights-out out of the Scorpions’ bullpen so far, racking up eight strikeouts and allowing just two hits in five scoreless frames.

Oct. 5: Navojoa 4, Scottsdale 1
Three of Toronto’s seven Fall Leaguers were in the lineup for Scottsdale on Saturday night, and the trio of shortstop Kevin Smith, third baseman Cullen Large and second baseman Logan Warmoth were all held off the scoreboard by Navojoa. Smith went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, while Large and Warmoth each went 0-for-3 and walked once.

Oct. 4: Scottsdale 6, Mesa 5 (10 innings)
Cullen Large delivered the game-winning hit for Scottsdale with an RBI single in the top of the 10th inning. He reached base four times, finishing 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored from the two-hole in the lineup. Kevin Smith is batting .152 after an 0-for-4 performance.

Oct. 3: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 2: Salt River 4, Scottsdale 2
Two of Toronto’s hurlers headed to the mound on Wednesday against Salt River. Graham Spraker was the first man out of the bullpen for Scottsdale, and the 24-year-old right-hander allowed two runs on three hits over two innings, adding two strikeouts. Mike Ellenbest followed Spraker, and the 25-year-old righty allowed one hit and fanned one over one scoreless frame. Logan Warmoth was the lone Toronto prospect in the lineup for the Scorpions, and the second baseman went 0-for-4 with one strikeout.

Oct. 1: Salt River 5, Scottsdale 2
Maverik Buffo, who has pitched to a 6.00 ERA over four appearances in the AFL, struggled on the mound and gave up three runs, including a two-run homer, on four hits over 1 2/3 innings. He didn’t record any strikeouts and issued two walks. Jackson Rees cruised through the ninth inning, striking out one and retiring the side in order.

Kevin Smith doubled and scored in the eighth inning and finished 1-for-3. The shortstop has had a rough go of it so far in Arizona and is hitting .172 through eight games.

Sept. 30: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 29: Scottsdale 17, Los Mochis 0
Cullen Large was locked in at the plate for Scottsdale on Sunday, as he produced exit velocities of 92.8 mph (sacrifice fly), 95.3 (lineout), 96.7 (lineout) and 103.1 (RBI double). The 23-year-old infielder finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs as he improved his AFL average to .208. 2017 first-round pick Logan Warmoth hit a two-run double in the eighth inning to cap a 3-for-5, three-run night at the plate that boosted his average to .375. Kevin Smith went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and was one of two Scorpions hitters to not collect a hit in their 17-0 win over Los Mochis.

Mike Ellenbest racked up a pair of strikeouts and threw 10 of his 12 pitches for strikes during a perfect inning of relief, and Graham Spraker posted the same line two innings later while finding the strike zone with eight of 12 pitches. Spraker has thrown five scoreless frames across three appearances this fall.

Sept. 28: Scottsdale 2, Surprise 0
Cullen Large is batting .200 in the AFL after a 1-for-4 showing for Scottsdale from the two-spot in the lineup. Logan Warmoth broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the fifth inning and finished 1-for-4. The former first-round pick is batting .316 in the Fall League, where he’s received the bulk of his playing time in left field.

Sept. 27: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 3
No. 13 prospect Kevin Smith reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks from the eight-spot in Scottsdale’s lineup. Right-hander Maverik Buffo owns a 2.08 ERA in the Fall League after tossing 1 1/3 scoreless frames for the Scorpions on Friday. He allowed one hit and struck out three in the outing while throwing 13 of 19 pitches for strikes.

Sept. 26: Thursday's game between Scottsdale and Peoria was rained out and will not be made up.

Sept. 25: Scottsdale 8, Mexicali 1
It’s hard to fare much better than Jackson Rees did on the mound for Scottsdale. Rees gave up a hit to the first batter he faced and then struck out the side in the seventh. He came back out for the eighth and retired the side in order, tacking on another strikeout in the process. Cullen Large went 0-for-5 and is batting .188 in the AFL. Kevin Smith scored a pair of runs and finished 1-for-4 at the plate.

Sept. 24: Mesa 8, Scottsdale 4
Cullen Large, a fifth-round pick in 2017 out of William & Mary, opened the sixth inning with an opposite-field home run to left, his first of the AFL. He finished 1-for-4 in Scottsdale’s loss against Mesa. Former first-round Draft pick (2017) Logan Warmoth started in left field and went 0-for-2 with two walks from the No. 8 spot in the lineup.

Sept. 23: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 22: Salt River 11, Scottsdale 4
Graham Spraker gave up three hits in two innings of relief. He also struck out three and gave up a trio of runs, however only one was earned. Mike Ellenbest cruised through two innings, throwing 17 of 25 pitches for strikes and retiring all six batters he faced. Maverik Buffo retired three of the four batters he faced, issuing one walk in a scoreless inning.

Kevin Smith doubled in the fourth, but struck out in his other three plate appearances on a 1-for-4 night. Logan Warmoth is hitting .385 thus far in the AFL, but he went 0-for-4 on Sunday.

Sept. 21: Glendale 1, Scottsdale 0
No. 13 prospect Kevin Smith was the only Blue Jays prospect to see action in Saturday night’s 1-0 loss at Glendale. He started at third and hit sixth in the Scorpions lineup. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in a game that saw Scottsdale collect just three hits. He’s now 1-for-12 over his first three Fall League games. He’s started two games at third and one at shortstop.

Sept. 20: Scottsdale 3, Glendale 2
Logan Warmoth continued raking in his second game of AFL action for the Glendale Desert Dogs. He went 2-for-4 with a double while playing center field and hitting ninth on Friday night and is now 5-for-9 with a pair of doubles. Third baseman Cullen Large has been barreling up baseballs over two games and now has a hit to show for it, going 1-for-3 with a walk on Friday. He’s now 1-for-6 combined. Right-hander Jackson Rees tossed a perfect ninth inning, striking out two on his slider and got the win thanks to Phillies prospect Nick Maton’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning.

Sept. 19: Scottsdale 8, Surprise 6
Second baseman Logan Warmoth had a big game in Scottsdale’s 8-6 win over Surprise on Thursday, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Warmoth has fallen out of the Blue Jays' Top 30 list after being selected in the first round of the 2017 Draft -- six picks ahead of Toronto’s No. 1 prospect, Nate Pearson – but the Blue Jays are optimistic that the 24-year-old can come back stronger in 2020. This season, between Class A Advanced Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire, Warmoth hit .235 with three home runs and a .658 OPS over 101 games. Warmoth shared the middle infield with No. 13 prospect Kevin Smith, who started at shortstop and went 1-for-5 with a single and two strikeouts.

Sept. 18: Scottsdale 5, Mesa 4
Mike Ellenbest, the Blue Jays’ 24th-round pick from the 2016 Draft, pitched two scoreless innings in relief. The right-hander walked two and gave up a pair of hits, but kept runs off the board. He also struck out two. He was followed by fellow Blue Jays Maverik Buffo, who tossed two innings of one-run ball with two hits allowed and two strikeouts, and Graham Spraker, who allowed two runs on three hits and a walk over two innings while striking out three.

At the plate, No. 13 prospect Kevin Smith went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Smith started at third base, where he made just 18 starts this season compared to 87 at shortstop with Double-A New Hampshire. Designated hitter Cullen Large, batting second, went 0-for-3 with a walk in the 5-4 win.