Parish native makes MLB team's roster pool
After being delayed for four months due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Major League Baseball season is finally just a few weeks away from beginning.
And when it does start, one of Ascension's own will be waiting in the wings for his opportunity to contribute. Last week, the Toronto Blue Jays added Dutchtown alum Jacob Waguespack to their 60-man roster pool. He will be one of their top options to step in when a spot starter is needed during the season.
This MLB season will be like nothing we've seen before. Because of being delayed for so long, it has been reduced from 162 games to just 60.
The year is set to begin on July 23-24.
They will mostly play divisional games, and they will be aligned geographically to reduce travel.
They will not be converging on one location to play in a "bubble," like the NBA. They are planning on playing games in teams' home cities.
Teams will open the season with a 30-man roster, which will be reduced to 28 after two weeks and then go down to 26 after a month.
There are a couple of rule changes for this shortened season. There will be a universal DH, and a base-runner will be placed on second at the start of every half inning if a game goes into extra innings.
Waguespack was an All-State pitcher while he was at Dutchtown. He helped lead the Griffins to the semifinals in 2010 and the quarterfinals in 2012.
He signed with Ole Miss, but he never got many opportunities with the Rebels. In his final year in Oxford, he made just nine mound appearances and started two games. He finished 1-0 with a 3.77 ERA.
Waguespack went undrafted in 2015, but he signed with the Phillies. He worked his way up to Double-A in 2017, and the next year, he got up to Triple-A.
Waguespack was then traded to the Blue Jays and played with their Buffalo Bisons minor-league affiliate. Soon afterward, he was added to the Blue Jays' 40-man roster.
Last May, Waguespack's dream finally came true as he was called up and made his first big-league appearance. He came in, in relief against the Rays and set a franchise record for most strikeouts by a debuting reliever with seven.
On July 3, Waguespack earned his first MLB win when he beat the Red Sox, 6-3.
He pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed just one hit against the Dodgers in August. Waguespack was just the sixth pitcher in franchise history to record a start of at least seven innings with no runs and one hit allowed in his first 10 career games.
He finished the season with 16 appearances and 13 starts. In 78 innings pitched, he struck out 63 and held a 4.38 ERA.
Before spring training was halted, Waguespack was off to a great start. He threw five and a third scoreless innings, striking out seven.
But during the offseason, the Blue Jays brought in three established starters in Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson, along with Japanese pitcher Shui Yamaguchi.
Due to this, Waguespack didn't make their opening-day roster and was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo back in March.
But now he has been moved up to the team's 60-man roster pool, allowing him the opportunity to be called up when needed.