Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos visited the short-season A Vancouver Canadians late last week with some of his prospects beyond the usual suspects apparently garnering some interest.
Scouts from the Texas Rangers, among other clubs, have also been through Vancouver more often than usual of late, where shortstop Franklin Barreto (.313/.401/.464 in 43 games), right-hander Miguel Castro (5-2 with a 2.18 ERA in nine starts, 48 strikeouts in 45.1 innings) and left-hander Jairo Labourt (2-3 with a 2.79 ERA in nine starts, 43 strikeouts in 38.2 innings) appear to be focal points.
Meanwhile, left-hander Sean Nolin is headed back to triple-A Buffalo after making a couple of rehab starts with single-A Dunedin (7.1 innings, three runs, four walks, nine strikeouts) and an outing for the rookie ball GCL Blue Jays.
An industry source said the Philadelphia Phillies watched him specifically in Florida. Nolin had been out since June 17 with a left groin injury, and his next regular turn comes up Tuesday, when the Bisons host Indianapolis.
While the scouting may simply be part of other teams’ regular coverage, it also suggests the Blue Jays have the potential to make a pre-deadline deal without including organizational blue-chippers like Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey, who are regarded as key parts of the team’s immediate or very near future.
Sanchez is already in the majors, allowing a run in two innings of work while picking his first career big-league win in a 5-4 victory at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Norris, 2-1 with a 5.76 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 25 innings over six starts at double-A New Hampshire, could be in Buffalo by mid-August, while Pompey, .286/.369/.449 in 27 games with the Fisher-Cats, is also on the fast-track.
Keeping them in the fold while using prospects in the lower levels of the system is the ideal scenario for the Blue Jays, who’ll need the trio above plus Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison to sustain their current competitive window beyond this season.
Whether it’s possible we’ll soon find out, with the trade deadline looming Thursday.