The Toronto Blue Jays, almost always known for their powerful bats, have made a splash in the arms department. Last week the Jays made headlines by signing ex-National, Drew Storen to a one-year $8.375mm contract. In a little known move, they also inked a durable independent arm from the American Association’s Kansas City T-Bones’ Bobby Doran.
The reigning American League East champs never rest on their laurels and this isn’t the first time they dug deep for pitching help. It wasn’t that long ago that they spotted independent standouts Mike Benacka of the Laredo Lemurs and Quebec Capitales lefty-specialist Tony Davis.
Doran, a relatively unknown in the baseball world, has spent his share of time in the minor leagues. Originally selected by the Houston Astros in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft from Texas Tech, he hasn’t put up spectacular numbers. With the majority of his six minor league seasons spent with Astros affiliates, his career record sits at 45-28 with an alarming 4.81 ERA. In addition to pedestrian SO9 (5.9) and BB9 (3.0), what makes anyone think that there’s an upside to this? In between all those crooked numbers, Doran has produced some very solid seasons, including two where he had double-digit wins (2012/2013) and a WHIP that came in under 1.3.
There are skeptics who may not think of independent baseball as a legitimate source for talent, in actuality, it has produced some real gems over the years including Daniel Nava, D.J. Carrasco, Steve Delabar, Brad Ziegler, and has also revived the careers of former first-round picks like Scott Kazmir. Doran is another example of a discarded player who took his release from the Chicago White Sox and used it as an opportunity to impress. In his first Indy season, Doran became the leader of T-Bones pitching staff. He led them in starts (20), wins (8), and his 113 innings were 26 more than anyone else.
The everyday fan might look at this deal and think it serves no purpose. For those on the inside, especially the Jays who have an uncanny knack for finding talent, they look at this as another chance to take someone from obscurity to an asset who can defy the odds.