As Blue Jays minor-leaguers set whiff records, MLB ‘pen lacks strikeouts

TORONTO – When Ross Atkins settled in to watch the Blue Jays’ Class-A affiliate Sunday night, he was hoping to see some of the organization’s young arms first-hand, watch the automated strike zone in action and catch up with former pitcher C.C. Sabathia, now a special assistant to commissioner Rob Manfred.

But even the most optimistic of general managers wouldn’t have expected what followed.

Making his first game appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery, 2020 fourth-round pick Nick Frasso struck out eight Tampa Tarpons over three innings while touching 100 mph multiple times. Next up was right-hander Dahian Santos, an athletic 19-year-old signed out of Venezuela, who struck out 10 over four innings thanks to a fastball that topped out at 93 mph and a swing-and-miss slider. Finally, left-hander Braden Scott used an effective two-seamer to whiff six over the game’s last two innings and close out the 1-0 win.

All told, the Dunedin Blue Jays struck out 24 batters in nine innings, a minor-league record that stands in stark contrast to a big-league team searching for ways to strike out more hitters late in games. To say the prospects impressed their GM would be putting it mildly.

“Just happened to be there to watch one of the more dominant performances I’ve seen,” Atkins said. “We’ve been working really hard to put our pitchers in a good position and we’ve taken some pretty big risk in swinging big in terms…

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