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Thoughts on next year’s starting rotation

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

I was wondering about next year’s starting rotation.

Let’s think about the candidates in no particular order:

  • Matt Shoemaker: Matt had 5 terrific starts before tearing his ACU and missed the rest of the season. Matt seems to be great with the younger pictures. He’s been around the team while on the IL, talking with the pitchers. He seems like a great guy. He said he would like to re-sign with the Jays for the long term. I’d love to have him back, but I can’t see a multiyear deal. He turns 33 next week. He’s spent most of the last 3 years injured (which I suppose is a plus for his game, very little wear and tear). He made $3.5 million this year. What I could see and what I’d like the Jays to do and for Matt to go along with, is a similar contract and team option for the next season. I guess he is arbitration eligible this winter.
  • Clay Buchholz: Almost the same story as Matt, pitched well, but was injured. Again he seems great on the bench. I’ve almost grown to like him, which I was sure would be impossible. He’s 34 and he’s made 27 starts over the past three seasons. I’d imagine, at his age, there would be a question of whether he wants to retire. If not, a 1-year contract around the $3 million he got last year would be about as much as I’d want to pay. With both Matt and Clay, I think the team would want to see who is on the market who might fit the same ‘veteran guy’ role and who might be more likely to be able to make 25+ starts on the season.
  • Anthony Kay: If you forced me to bet on ‘who will throw the most innings for the Jays next year’ I’d take Kay at the moment. I know that is after just 2 starts (and one of them didn’t end well), but he’s about the only one on this list who I’m 90% sure will be in the rotation next year. In 7 starts at Buffalo, Kay had a 2.50 ERA. That sounds impressive, but then, while he only gave up 10 earned runs in 36 innings, he also gave up 11 unearned runs.
  • Ryan Borucki: Presuming he’s recovered from the various arm troubles that ruined this season, he’s pretty sure to have a spot in the rotation next year. If he can pitch like he did last year, then life will be good. Unless we sign more than 2 free agents, he’ll be in the rotation at the start of the season.
  • Trent Thornton: He’s made 28 starts (leading the team), and has thrown 139.1 innings (also leading the team) in his rookie season. He didn’t do bad for a rookie. I don’t think the plan going in was that he would be in the rotation all year. He’s had good and bad games, don’t we all? I’m interested to see if the new grip on the curveball, which helped him to 5 no hit innings against Boston, can continue to help him be successful. I’d rather a starter who can get us more than 5 innings, but then I’m old.
  • Jacob Waguespack: On August 22 he had a 3.63 ERA and I thought we really had something, but he seems to have hit a wall. In his last 4 starts he has 4 losses and an 8.40 ERA. He wouldn’t be the first pitcher to tire at the end of his first MLB season. He hasn’t earned a spot in next year’s rotation, but he’s at least earned a chance to complete for a spot in spring training. The undrafted but made it to the majors is a great story.
  • T.J. Zeuch: He’s looked good in his handful of September innings. I’d bet he will be in the rotation to start next season. I mean I wouldn’t bet a lot, but I’d bet. His terrific August, with the Bisons, really moved him up in the eyes of the team. You want the front office to notice you, throw a no-hitter in Triple A. He had a 2.58 ERA in 6 starts.

In a class by himself:

  • Nate Pearson: In a just world, Nate Pearson would make the rotation out of spring training. Nate made 25 starts, split between Dunedin, New Hamphire and Buffalo. In all he had a 2.30 ERA. In 101.2 innings, he allowed 63 hits, 27 walks and 119 strikes. If not for service time and inning limits issues, he’s win a spot in spring training. But, after throwing almost no innings in 2018, the 101 innings this year was a ton. I’d expect they wouldn’t him throwing much more than 150 innings next year. What I think they would do is start him in Buffalo, have him threw 5-10 starts limiting his innings as best they can and then have him come up.

Might see some starts:

  • Julian Merryweather: Missed the season after Tommy John surgery (well he threw 6 innings). It will be interesting to see him in spring training.
  • Sean Reid-Foley: Made 6 starts and 3 relief appearances for Toronto this year. The problem has always been that he gives up too many walks. In 31.2 innings, for the Blue Jays, he allowed 21 walks, which would git right in that ‘too many walks’ class. In Buffalo you gave out 65 walking in 89 innings, which is even worse. He has to figure out how to throw strikes.
  • Yennsy Diaz: Made 24 starts in New Hampshire, and had a 3.74 ERA in 144.1 innings, he allowed 125 hits, 53 walks and 116 strikeouts. He came up to Toronto for one relief appearance.
  • Hector Perez: Made 24 starts had a 4.60 ERA. In 121.1 innings he allowed 130 hits, 67 walks and 117 strikeouts.
  • Patrick Murphy: Lost a good part of the season to trying to fix a windup which was suddenly deemed illegal. But in AA than in the majors I guess, but we see a toe tap or a rock step in many windups in the majors. It seems a very fine (or invisible line) between what Murphy did and what others do. Presuming he has everything figured out next year, I’d bet we see him at some point.
  • Tom Hatch: Came to the Jays in the David Phelps trade. He made 6 starts for the Fisher Cats, putting up a 2.80 ERA. In 35.1 innings he allowed 25 hits, 2 walks and 34 strikeouts. That was much better than the 4.59 ERA he had in 21 starts in the Cubs system.

How do you see the starting rotation shaking out next year?


Who will pitch the most innings for the Blue Jays next year?

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