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Blue Jays roster tenure rankings: 2020 update

Continuity after several years of large turnover

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

With the annual roster housekeeping to get down to a true 40-man winter roster complete, it’s an opportune time for the annual (2017, 2018, 2019) look at roster tenure. After more than 50% turnover two years ago among the top 10 followed even more wholesale turnover with the top 12 gone last year, this year there is some stability, and given the names it seems likely to continue next year and even into the future.

There are different ways of measuring tenure, and that can make a significant difference in a ranking of tenure. When I started tracking this based on a historical overview I did five years ago, I was using total time in the organization and service time with the Blue Jays. Active service was added because chronically injured players accumulate service time without having on-field impact. This year I’m adding a further list in terms of earliest debut, which is another way of ordering tenure and last year would have had the now-departed Anthony Alford rather than Teoscar Hernandez heading it.

This year presents a unique challenge given that the 2020 season was shortened to 67 days rather than the usual 186 days and accordingly, service time credit was awarded on a pro-rata basis. That creates a bit of a conundrum when it comes to comparing across years. For example, Hyun-Jin Ryu has one year of credited service time as a Blue Jay, but amounting to just 67 days. By contrast, Sean Reid-Foley has less than three quarters of a season of service credit (124 days of the 172 that is considered one year), despite 50% more credited actual days at 100.

What I have decided to to is order the service time list by the credited service time rather than actual days, though I show that as well. However, since the purpose of the active service list was basically to have a ranking of days in uniform, that will be done on the basis of actual days.

Starting then with credited MLB service time with the Blue Jays (format: years.days, with 172 days needed for a full year), where there is a new leader from last year’s list but he’s been atop for almost that entire time:

2020 tenure ST

Last year no player had three years of service with the Jays and only three had two or more, which has ballooned to two and seven. Six of the names from last year remain on the list, and because of that continuity the total service time among the top 10 has increased almost 50% from about 16 years to above 23.

The list would be shuffled a bit by actual service days, though it would be the same top 10. While Teoscar tops the list, Randal Grichuk actually has a few more days, though interestingly quirk isn’t pandemic related. Teoscar had 31 days in 2017 before Grichuk was around, but was optioned for 15 and 20 days in 2018 and 2019. However for service time purposes, those 31 days are about a sixth of the season, while he still got almost full seasons in 2017 and 2018 thanks to the cushion between 186 actual seasons days and 172 counting as a full season.

Turning to active service:

2020 tenure active

Coincidently, it’s the same 10 names, though Teoscar is the clear cut #1 rather than relying on technicalities. Trent Thornton and Ryan Borucki tumble down due missing significant time to injuries, while Danny Jansen represents the ironman of sorts, having never missed time in the majors on the IL, and having the longest tenure of players for whom that’s true (also Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio).

Tim Mayza hasn’t been on the 40-man for the last year, but still has the third most active service time among players in the organization. Since Alford’s departure, Teoscar is usually referred to the player with the earliest debut, and that’s true if limited to the 40-man roster, but organizationally it’s actually Mayza:

2020 tenure debut

Finally, we’ll close by looking at total organizational tenure, where there are only 11 players who have been Blue Jays prior to 2015, though the seven names carrying over is abnormally high compared to recent years:

2020 org tenure

With the exception of Tepera becoming the 35th player to accrue 10 years in the organization, there have been no changes to the historical list, which can be reviewed in this 2015 post.