Before they were postseason bound: Blue Jays

Before they were postseason bound: Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have burst onto the scene this season and have been baseball's hottest -- and arguably best -- team since the All-Star break. For those of you not as familiar with what these guys are all about, here's a primer.

David Price, LHP
Born: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
DOB: 8/26/85
HS: Blackman (Tenn.) High School
College: Vanderbilt University
Minors: Vero Beach (A+), Montgomery (AA), Durham (AAA)
• Price shattered Vanderbilt's single-season strikeout record in his junior season when he recorded 194 in 2007.
• He played against Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak for two seasons at Vanderbilt. Smoak was a standout for USC and the two sides regularly faced each other in the SEC East.
• He set Blackman's single-game strikeout record by fanning 21 batters over nine innings against Cookeville in 2004.

R.A. Dickey, RHP 
Born: Nashville, Tenn.
DOB: 10/29/74
HS: Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.) High School
College: University of Tennessee
Minors: Port Charlotte (A+), Tulsa (AA), Oklahoma (AAA), Nashville (AAA), Tacoma (AAA), Rochester (AAA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Dickey, the author of an autobiography and a children's book, studied English literature at Tennessee, where he had a 3.35 GPA and was named Academic All-American.
• Dickey played with former Rockies standout Todd Helton while at Tennessee.
• Dickey honed his knuckleball during the 2007 season with Triple-A Nashville, where he earned PCL Pitcher of the Year honors.

Before they were postseason bound

Marco Estrada, RHP 
Born: Sonora, Mexico
DOB: 7/5/83
HS: Sylmar (Calif.) High School
College: California State University Long Beach
Minors: Vermont (A-), Savannah (A), Hagerstown (A), Potomac (A+), Harrisburg (AA), Columbus (AAA), Syracuse (AAA), Nashville (AAA)
• Estrada played with Rays third baseman Evan Longoria while at California State University Long Beach.
• He played with fellow Blue Jays pitcher LaTroy Hawkins in 2010 as a member of Triple-A Nashville.
• Estrada was the first Sylmar player since Pete Redfern in 1976 to make it to the Major Leagues.

Mark Buehrle, LHP
Born: St. Charles, Mo.
DOB: 3/23/79
HS: Francis Howell North (Mo.) High School
College: Jefferson College
Minors: Burlington (A), Birmingham (AA)
• Buehrle was cut from his high school team twice before finally making it as a junior.
• In 2000, Buehrle went 8-4 with a 2.28 ERA for the Barons while walking only 17 in 119 innings on his way to earning the Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher Award.
• Rob Wort, a 26-year-old in the Nationals system, is the only other player to have been drafted from Francis Howell North HS. Like Buehrle, he would later attend Jefferson College.

Marcus Stroman, RHP 
Born: Medford, N.Y.
DOB: 5/1/91
HS: Patchogue-Medford (N.Y.) High School
College: Duke University
Minors: Vancouver (A-), New Hampshire (AA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Stroman's cousin, Erskine Kelley, was Minor Leaguer in the Pirates and Cubs organizations.
• During rehab for his torn ACL, Stroman returned to Duke University to finish his degree over the 2015 summer.
• Stroman owns trademarks for "Height Doesn't Measure Heart," and "HDMH." which he's used to launch his own apparel line.

Roberto Osuna, RHP 
Born: Juan Jose Rios, Mexico
DOB: 2/7/95
Minors: Vancouver (A-), Lansing (A) Dunedin (A+)
• Osuna, the youngest player in the Major Leagues at age 20, skipped Double-A and Triple-A and landed on the Blue Jays roster out of Spring Training in 2015.
• The right-hander, an international signee, played his first professional season at age 16 in Mexico.
• Osuna's uncle, Antonio, pitched parts of 11 seasons in the Majors for five teams.

Bo Schultz, RHP 
Born: Dallas, Texas
DOB: 9/25/85
HS: Highland Park (Texas) High School
College: Northwestern
Minors: Vancouver (A-), Kane County (A), Grand Prairie (Ind), Stockton (A+), Visalia (A+), Mobile (AA), Reno (AAA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Schultz in 2006 had almost given up on baseball and took and internship at Men's Journal magazine in New York City with a plan to start a career in journalism while at university. He also interned at Outdoor Life and ESPN Radio.
• Prior to walking on at Northwestern, Schultz was playing for a beer league softball team in New York City.
• While playing independent ball in Texas, Schultz occasionally worked out with Clayton Kershaw, who was a high school student at the time.

Mark Lowe, RHP 
Born: Houston, Texas
DOB: 6/7/83
HS: Fort Bend Baptist Academy (Texas) High School
College: University of Texas at Arlington
Minors: Everett (A-), Wisconsin (A), Inland Empire (A+), San Antonio (AA), West Tenn. (AA), Tacoma (AAA)
• Lowe lives with Type 1 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with in 2009.
• Lowe played with Hunter Pence of the Giants while at the University of Texas.
• Despite being a lights-out pitcher, he hit .365 with four home runs, 29 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in his senior high school season.

Aaron Sanchez, RHP 
Born: Barstow, Calif.
DOB: 7/1/92
HS: Barstow (Calif.) High School
Minors: Auburn (A-), Vancouver (A-), Lansing (A) Dunedin (A+), New Hampshire (AA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Sanchez's stepfather, Mike Shipley, was drafted in the fourth round of the 1976 Draft by the California Angels.
• Sanchez climbed from Double-A to the big leagues in 2014, joining the Blue Jays bullpen when he arrived to the Major Leagues.
• Sanchez was once a part of the "Lansing Three," a trio of formidable Blue Jays pitching prospects that suited up for the Lugnuts in 2012 that also included Noah Syndergaard and Justin Nicolino.

LaTroy Hawkins, RHP 
Born: Gary, Ind.
DOB: 12/21/72
HS: West Side (Ind.) High School
Minors: Fort Wayne (A), Fort Myers (A+), Nashville (AA), Salt Lake (AAA)
• Hawkins, at 42 years old, is the oldest player in the Major Leagues this season.
• Hawkins is the only active player to have pitched in 1,000 games.
• Hawkins played in the Minor Leagues in 2010 with fellow reliever Estrada.

Brett Cecil, LHP 
Born: Dunkirk, Md.
DOB: 7/2/86
HS: DeMatha (Md.) High School
College: University of Maryland
Minors: Auburn (A-), Dunedin (A+), New Hampshire (AA), Syracuse (AAA), Las Vegas (AAA)
• In his sophomore season at Maryland, Cecil shattered the school's single-season saves record with 13, nearly doubling the previous record of seven.
• Of the 11 players drafted to MLB from DeMatha, Cecil is the only one to make it to the big leagues.
• Cecil lost nearly 40 pounds during the offseason ahead of his 2012 season.

Drew Hutchison, RHP
Born: Lakeland, Fla.
DOB: 8/22/90
HS: Lakeland Senior (Fla.) High School
Minors: Auburn (A-), Lansing (A), Dunedin (A+), New Hampshire (AA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Hutchison moved quickly through the Blue Jays Minor League system, posting a 2.49 ERA in 45 games before making his Major League debut.
• Hutchison was a standout shortstop in addition to a pitcher during his high school days.
• Hutchison became the youngest Opening Day starter in Blue Jays history when he opened the 2015 season at age 24.

Russell Martin, C
Born: East York, Ontario, Canada
DOB: 2/15/83
HS: Polyvalente Edouard Montpetit (Quebec) High School
College: Chipola JC
Minors: South Georgia (A), Vero Beach (A+), Jacksonville (AA), Las Vegas (AAA)
• He played with Blue Jays teammate Jose Bautista while at Chipola.
• Martin attended the same Quebec high school as former Major League closer and former Dodgers teammate Eric Gagné.
• Martin, who speaks fluent French, is one of two Canadian-born players on the Blue Jays roster, along with Dalton Pompey.

Dioner Navarro, C
Born: Caracas, Venezuela
DOB: 2/9/84
Minors: Greensboro (A), Tampa (A+), Trenton (AA), Columbus (AAA), Las Vegas (AAA)
• He played with Blue Jays teammate and fellow catcher Martin with the Dodgers in 2006.
• Navarro suited up alongside Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano on the 2003 Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League.
• Navarro, and avid soccer fan, is a well-known FC Barcelona supporter.

Josh Donaldson, 3B
Born: Pensacola, Fla.
DOB: 12/8/85
HS: Faith Academy (Ala.) High School
College: Auburn University
Minors: Boise (A-), Peoria (A), Stockton (A+), Midland (AA), Sacramento (AAA)
• Donaldson grew up as an all-around athlete, staring in football, basketball and baseball while in high school. He's also a scratch golfer and claims he can dunk a basketball.
• Donaldson, who broke into the Majors late, was originally a catcher before converting to third base during the 2012 season.
• Donaldson set Faith Academy single-season records for triples (6), doubles (21), hits (55) and RBIs (54) in baseball and for interceptions (11) in football.

Edwin Encarnacion, DH/1B
Born: La Romana, Dominican Republic
DOB: 1/7/83
HS: Manuela Toro (P.R.) HS
College: Auburn University
Minors: Savannah (A), Dayton (A), Dunedin (A+), Potomac (A+), Chattanooga (AA), Louisville (AAA), Las Vegas (AAA)
• Encarnacion won gold as a member of the Dominican Republic at the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
• Though Dominican-born, Encarnacion attended high school Puerto Rico at Manuela Toro. Of five players drafted to the Majors from that school, he's the only one to reach the big leagues.
• Encarnacion played alongside Angels lefty C.J. Wilson in 2001 as a member of Class A Savannah.

Ryan Goins, 2B
Born: Round Rock, Texas
DOB: 2/13/88
HS: Stony Point (Texas) High School
College: Dallas Baptist University
Minors: Savannah (A), Dayton (A), Dunedine (A+), Potomac (A+), Chattanooga (AA), Louisville (AAA), Las Vegas (AAA)
• Goins' father and uncle were both Minor Leaguers.
• He hit 22 homers in 2009 for DBU, setting the team record since the school joined Division I ranks in 2004.
• Goins was one of four players from the 2010 Class A Lansing squad to play for the 2015 Blue Jays, along with Aaron Loup, Hutchison and Ryan Tepera.

Justin Smoak, 1B
Born: Goose Creek, S.C.
DOB: 12/5/86
HS: Stratford (S.C.) High School
College: University of South Carolina
Minors: Clinton (A), Frisco (AA), Oklahoma City (AAA), Tacoma (AAA)
• Smoak grew up and played high school baseball with Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.
• Smoak is one of only seven players in SEC history to record 60 or more career home runs.
• He helped the USA to a silver medal at the 2007 Pan Am Games.

Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Born: Santa Clara, Calif.
DOB: 10/10/84
HS: Fremont (Calif.) High School
College: California State University Long Beach
Minors: Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• Tulowitzki is one of two Blue Jays players that are alumni of California State University at Long Beach, along with reliever Estrada.
• Tulowitzki was taken seventh overall in the 2005 Draft -- one spot after the Blue Jays took Ricky Romero.
• He was one of 16 Cal State at Long Beach players playing in the Major Leagues in 2014. Other former Dirtbags include the Angels' Jered Weaver, the Rays' Evan Longoria and the Royals' Jason Vargas.

Jose Bautista, RF
Born: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
DOB: 10/19/80
HS: De La Salle (D.R.) High School
College: Chipola College
Minors: Williamsport (A-), Hickory (A), Lynchburg (A+), Altoona (AA), Indianapolis (AAA)
• Bautista played at Chipola alongside Martin.
• Bautista suited up for four Major League teams in 2004 -- the Orioles, Rays, Royals and Pirates.
• He has had Major League experience at six positions on the field because of his role as a utility player prior to his success with the Blue Jays.

Chris Colabello, DH/1B
Born: Farmingham (Mass.)
DOB: 10/24/83
HS: Milford (Mass.) High School
College: Assumption College
Minors: New Britain (AA), Rochester (AAA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Colabello spent seven years playing independent ball before he finally rose to the Majors.
• His father, Lou, played pro baseball in Italy and pitched in the 1984 Olympic Games.
• Colabello was named to the Team Italy roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Kevin Pillar, CF
Born: West Hills, Calif.
DOB: 1/4/89
HS: Chaminade College Preparatory School (Calif.) HS
College: California State University Dominguez Hills
Minors: Lansing (A), Dunedin (A+), New Hampshire (AA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Pillar was the Midwest League MVP in 2012 as a member of Class A Lansing.
• Pillar finished his college career at California State University Dominguez Hills as the school's all-time batting leader with a .367 average.
• Pillar played alongside Syndergaard of the Mets, as well as Blue Jays Pompey and Sanchez while with the Lugnuts.

Ben Revere, LF
Born: Atlanta, Ga.
DOB: 5/3/88
HS: Lexington Catholic (Ky.) High School
Minors: Beloit (A), Fort Myers (A+), New Britain (AA), Rochester (AAA)
• Revere didn't hit his first home run until his 1,466th career MLB at-bat.
• Revere was named Gatorade Kentucky Baseball Player of the Year, Mr. Baseball for Kentucky and a member of the All-USA Today high school baseball team following his senior high school season.
• Revere played in the 2010 All-Star Futures Game as a member of Double-A New Britain.

Cliff Pennington, 2B
Born: Corpus Christi, Texas
DOB: 6/15/84
HS: Mary Carroll (Texas) High School
College: Texas A&M University
Minors: Kane County (A), Stockton (A+), Midland (AA), Sacramento (AAA)
• As a junior, Pennington batted .363 with a .453 on-base percentage, seven home runs, 39 RBIs, 44 runs and 29 steals for Texas A&M.
• Pennington played with Donaldson while in Oakland in 2012.
• Pennington suited up alongside former Blue Jays pitching prospect Robert Ray while at A&M.

Devon Travis, 2B
Born: West Palm Beach, Fla.
DOB: 2/21/91
HS: Palm Beach Central (Fla.) High School
College: Florida State University
Minors: Connecticut (A-), West Michigan (A), Lakeland (A+), Erie (AA), New Hampshire (AA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Travis played in the Little League World Series in 2003 and was the runner-up to the team from Tokyo.
• He was among national leaders in doubles (8th), runs (21st), total bases (41st), doubles per game (45th), hits (47th) and runs per game (81st) in 2012 for FSU.
• Travis played his junior season at FSU alongside former Cardinals first-rounder James Ramsey.

Dalton Pompey, CF/LF
Born: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
DOB: 12/11/92
HS: John Fraser (Ontario) Secondary School
Minors: Vancouver (A-), Lansing (A), Dunedin (A+), New Hampshire(AA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Along with Martin, Pompey is the only other Canadian-born player on the Blue Jays.
• Pompey's younger brother, Tristan, was drafted by the Twins in the 31st round of the 2015 Draft.
• Pompey was taught to switch-hit at age 3.