Forgotten Former Toronto Blue Jays: 2019 Edition

We've tracked down some former Toronto Blue Jays to see what they're up to and how they're doing.

Most Blue Jays fans will agree that the 2019 season is one they’d like to forget. In an effort to provide some distraction from this somewhat train wreck of a season, we’ve put the sleuths on the case to track down some former Toronto Blue Jays to see how they’re doing. Without further ado, we present to you Forgotten Former Blue Jays: 2019 edition.

Dave Stewart

Dave Stewart
Photo credit: Acereros del Norte

Older Blue Jays fans will remember Dave Stewart as the perpetual Cy Young candidate in a vaunted Oakland A’s rotation from the late 1980s to early 1990s. Stewart joined the Blue Jays in 1993 and helped them win their second World Series. From Wikipedia:

As a member of the Blue Jays rotation in 1993, Stewart made 26 starts and was 12–8 with a 4.44 ERA. He suffered from a number of injuries during the season but the Blue Jays stuck with him because of his heart and competitiveness as well as the support he offered to other pitchers on the staff. The Blue Jays made it to the ALCS where Stewart got the call in game two. He allowed only one run in six innings of work to pick up the win. The day before his next start, while the rest of his team was already in Chicago, he was in Toronto helping the Salvation Army deliver food to the homeless on Thanksgiving Day in Canada. He made it to the game on time, and pitched 7.1 innings for his second win of the series, in the clinching game six that sent the Blue Jays back to the World Series. He was selected as ALCS MVP for the second time in his career. In the 1993 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Stewart got the start in game two and struggled, allowing five runs in six innings to take a rare post-season loss. Nevertheless, he was confident heading into his next start, in game six, saying he was pitching for respect as much as for another championship. He allowed four runs in six innings but that was enough as the Blue Jays, thanks to a three-run walk-off homer by Joe Carter won the game 8–6 and with it took the series, 4 games to 2.

Stewart tried his hand at management, serving as GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2014-2016 with disastrous results. He is currently the pitching coach of the Acereros del Norte, a Mexican League team based in Monclova, Mexico. He coaches former major leaguers Al Alburquerque and Francisco Rodriguez. Stewart has warm memories of his time in Toronto; he even views Toronto as his second home.

Travis Snider

Travis Snider
Photo credit: milb.com

One of the most hyped prospects in Toronto Blue Jays history, Travis Snider was the #1 ranked Blue Jays prospect for a considerable period of time. Yet Travis Snider was never able to realize his (artificially inflated?) potential. Back in 2006, we pieced together a scouting report on Snider in which Snider’s Dad, Denne, saw fit to comment:

“The proof will be in the pudding, in the upcoming years. My son and I have always believed in that hard work and dedication will speak for itself.”

While Travis has been out of the majors since 2015, Travis has continued to work hard – true to his father’s word. He even joined the independent Atlantic League in 2018 to prove his worth, which he did. He parlayed a successful Atlantic League stint into a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. While he’s playing in the power-friendly PCL with a juiced up ball, Snider’s power numbers aren’t where you would expect them to be. Regardless, he currently sports a sparkling .415 OBP. 

Deck McGuire

Deck McGuire
Photo credit: koreabaseball.com

Deck McGuire was the Toronto Blue Jays’ first round pick in 2010, signing for a $2 million signing bonus. After four seasons, the Jays designated him for assignment to make room for Brad Mills on the 40-man roster. Since then, he’s bounced around from Oakland to Los Angeles to St. Louis to Cincinnati, back to Toronto, and then back to Los Angeles again.

He’s currently pitching for the Samsung Lions in the KBO and he had some success early on. At the beginning of the season, Deck threw a no-hitter:

Since then, he’s come back to earth. He’s walking nearly 5 for every 9IP, which is… not ideal.

Moises Sierra

Moises Sierra
Photo credit: milb.com

Back in 2011, I called Moises Sierra my “sleeper pick to click.”

While Sierra did have a cup of coffee with the Blue Jays, he never really did click. He’s now in Oaxaca, Mexico, playing for the Guerreros. And he’s absolutely KILLING it, sporting a 1.065 OPS. Will he parlay this season into another shot with a big league team? Probably not, but he’s worth keeping an eye on. 

Mat Latos

Mat Latos
Image credit: Southern Maryland Blue Crabs

From Dumpster Diving for Arms: A Blue Jays Retrospective:

On February 16, 2017, the Blue Jays signed RHP Mat Latos to a minor league deal worth $1.5 million, contingent on being called up to the big league club. Latos pitched poorly during spring training, allowing 13 hits and walking 8 in 14.2 IP. In spite of Latos’s considerable struggles, Mike Wilner said “The righty … just needs to show that he’s healthy and strong in order to make the team” and he believed “the big-league club is a lot better with Latos on it.”

Not surprisingly, Wilner’s premonitions turned out to be false. Latos was called up April 21 and pitched just the way he did during the spring over the course of three starts. He allowed 19 hits (five of which were ding-dongs) and walked 8 over 15 innings and then took his talents to the Atlantic League.

Latos has since joined the Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League in a relief role and seems to have gotten a little bit of the magic back. His WHIP is a sparkling 0.79 – the same number as his ERA. That said, he is facing a considerably lower level of competition.

Balbino Fuenmayor

Balbino Fuenmayor
Image credit: milb.com

Although not technically a Blue Jay, since he never played at the major league level, the man they call “Balbi” was once a skinny kid beloved across the Blue Jays minor league system. An international signing by the Blue Jays in 2006 for $1.15 million, Baseball Prospectus had this to say about the young Venezuelan:

Among the top Venezuelan prospects available this summer. Outstanding pure hitting skills with an uncanny knack for contact and impressive hand-eye coordination. Solid defensive skills with plus range to both sides and above-average arm strength.

Balbi spent seven years in the Toronto system but was never able to put it together. Until he left, of course. He signed with the Frontier League and then the Can-Am League, beefing up and mashing all the way. He parlayed his strong independent league performance into a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals, where he went on to post a .972 OPS across the AA and AAA levels. He then came back down to earth and has been playing in the Mexican League ever since.

Fuenmayor is en fuego (on fire) in Mexico and is clearly back to his slugging ways. Playing half his games in Laredo – a ballpark not subject to the performance-enhancing altitude of most Mexican League parks – Balbino has mashed 22 ding dongs in half a shortened season. Not bad at all.

 

For more forgotten former Blue Jays, check out previous iterations below:

Forgotten Former Toronto Blue Jays: 2018 Edition
Forgotten Former Toronto Blue Jays: 2012 Edition

 

Featured image photo credit: Acereros del Norte

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