I love watching pitchers for the first time. Therefore, I love when a young kid makes his major league debut. We are fortunate enough to see it twice this series, – last night with Kevin Gausman of the Orioles and tonight with lefty Sean Nolin.
MLB.com ranks Nolin as the Blue Jays number 8 top prospect. After being drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 class, Nolin has excelled the past couple years in the minors. Making the leap from short season A-ball, to rookie ball, to low-A ball, to high-A ball, and finally double-A this year. Overall in the minors, Nolin sports a 16 – 6 record, a 2.92 ERA with 263 strikeouts in 246.1 innings. In three starts in double-A this year, he is 2-0 with a sparkling 1.17 ERA while adding 16 K’s in 15.1 innings. It will be fun to see how he reacts to the big stage. If he can manage his emotions, he might just be able to steal us a game since there will be little to no scouting report or video on him for the Orioles players to prepare. First time through the line up, it’s important to note if he is throwing strikes and getting ahead. Too often excitement gets the best of young pitchers or they feel they need to be “too perfect” with their pitches, which leads to walks and hitters counts. If he can settle in the first time through, it will be equally interesting to see how he pitching the second and third time through the Orioles line up. Once MLB players see what a pitcher has, they are very quick to make adjustments.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Nolin, J.A Happ has been transferred to the 60-day DL. Happ is able to play catch and cleared from to play from a perspective of his head injury when he was hit by a vicious comebacker square in the ear. His right knee sprain, however, from when he fell after being struck by the ball in the head has not healed well. Doctors do not want him throwing off a mound yet without a brace, which has been ordered and is on route. This means Happ won’t be back until early July at the earliest. I’m guessing shortly after the allstar break if all goes well during his rehab.
To make room on the 25-man roster, Darren Oliver has been placed on the 15-day DL. The move is retroactive to May 19th meaning Oliver (he last pitched on the 18th) meaning Oliver could come back on June 3rd if healthy. The 42-year-old lefty has been plagued by a sore pitching shoulder and has been held out of games recently. The soreness has persisted so the Jays have decided to give him a breather. Oliver has again pitched well boasting a 3.17 ERA in 17 appearances this season. If we are going to make a serious run, we’ll want him healthy and pitching some late innings for us. Look for Steve Delabar and Brett Cecil to split the 8th inning work until Oliver can come back.