* LHP Isaac Anesty (Guelph, Ont.) had an eye-opening performance for the Ontario Blue Jays against the IMG post-graduate team while facing LHP Brady Aiken. The Houston Astros unsigned No. 1 pick’s debut was cut short after 12 pitches and he underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on Thursday.
By Bob Elliott
It was a pitcher’s dream.
And then it was suddenly a night mere.
More than 75 scouts were on hand for the game at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.
They were not all there to see LHP Isaac Anesty (Guelph, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays.
The scouts and evaluators came to see LHP Brady Aiken, the unsigned No. 1 overall pick from last June, and expected first rounder this June, make his debut for the IMG post graduate team.
Just 12 pitches into the game after having his fastball clocked at 92-93 MPH there was a mound conference with the IMG coaches.
“I walked down to the end of the dugout and said to Danny (Bleiwas), this doesn’t look good,” said Jays pitching coach Mike Steed. “I saw his bullpen … he was impressive.”
Aiken came out of the game and roughly 75% of the scouts departed.
Yet, there were still plenty to see Anesty’s fastball clocked at 89-91 MPH in an impressive outing … one of two he had on the Jays March trip south.
Anesty pitched three scoreless innings without allowing a base hit. He walked two and struck out three as the Blue Jays scored a 9-6 win. Anesty threw 40 pitches — 20 for strikes and gained the win leaving with a 1-0 lead.
2B Connor Morro (Caledon, Ont.) had a day to remember at the plate with three hits, including a triple and two RBIs.
LF Nick Howie (Oakville, Ont.) had a pair of hits and knocked in a run, while Troy Daring, Jr. (Brampton, Ont.) also had two hits.
The Jays took a 1-0 lead in the third with J.D. Williams (Brampton, Ont.) walked, Howie and Morro followed with singles to load the bases and Ryan Rijo (Barrie, Ont.) singled.
They added three in the fourth as Matt Jones (Bowmanville, Ont.) walked, Daring singled and Morro hit a two-out triple. Howie knocked in Morro with a double.
After IMG scored a pair against RP Cole White (Barrie, Ont.), who allowed two runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out a four, the Jays plated four for an 8-2 lead. Tony Hrynkiw (Brampton, Ont.) led off with a single, and with two out Daring, Billy Brand (Burlington, Ont.) both singled, and an error led to two unearned runs, Morro singled in a run and Howie walked with the bases loaded.
Hrynkiw singled to open the sixth advanced on a Jones single and scored the Jays final run on a wild pitch for a 9-2 lead.
RHP Danny Roderick (Guelph, Ont.) took over for A.J. Padmore (Toronto, Ont.) pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four for the save.
Aiken allowed a double to Williams on a 3-2 pitch, Morro popped up to first, struck out Howie and on a 1-0 pitch to Rijo everything stopped.
Aiken became eligible for the draft after the Houston Astros failed to sign the No. 1 over-all pick in North America, selected from a San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic high.
“I think you see the ability, and why he was selected where he was selected, even if it was abbreviated tonight,” Bleiwas, told Baseball America after the game, “but there’s no question about his physical tools and even his pitchability. It’s just unfortunate.
“From what I could tell it didn’t seem to be anything at the time; he reacted on a pitch — a breaking ball he left up in the zone.”
Baseball America reported Aiken and the Astros failed to agree on a contract after previously agreeing to terms on a $6.5 million US bonus. The Astros were uncomfortable with the results of Aiken’s physical and withdrew their original offer.
Aiken had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament on Thursday.