Stilson's Road to the Fall League

Starter-turned-reliever throwing gas in Arizona

By New Hampshire Fisher Cats / New Hampshire Fisher Cats | October 15, 2013 6:07 AM ET

2012 Fisher Cat John Stilson picked up a save for the Salt River Rafters on Monday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League. The right-hander worked a scoreless inning recording a pair of strikeouts to help secure a 3-2 Rafters' win.

Stilson may be the type of player the Arizona Fall League refers to when it discusses those who are on the cusp of being in the major leagues the following season. A year ago, with the Fisher Cats, he was routinely throwing fastballs in the low-to-mid nineties, but as a starting pitcher. During spring training this past year, the Blue Jays shifted him to the bullpen, and Stilson took off. His fastball did as well with the velocity jumping to as high as 99 during the regular season. During Monday's outing, his heater went to 97 MPH.

After an injury in spring training, Stilson made a cameo in New Hampshire this past summer, appearing in all of two games while recording six of his seven outs via the strikeout. He spent the remainder of the season with Triple-A Buffalo, giving up one run over his first 11.2 innings. He finished the year with six wins and 4 saves, and averaged a strikeout per inning. The Triple-A ERA for the 23-year-old? Just 2.09.

Stilson will likely earn another invitation to major league spring training in February. If he continues his progression in the AFL, he could be fighting for a job in a deep, talented Blue Jays bullpen in the spring.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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