Home sport What we know — and don’t know — about the Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster

What we know — and don’t know — about the Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster

by admin

March 25, 2023 09:52

DANDIN, FL — Months from now, when the Toronto Blue Jays’ season hangs in the balance and their roster looks different than expected, it can all seem pretty trivial. Will definitely look away.

So before we get too involved in the details of the Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster, it’s worth remembering players like Gosuke Katoh, Zack Collins, and Tayler Saucedo, who all started the season on the big-league team in Toronto a year ago. . . Or the person doing these ads, Charlie Montoyo, the current head coach of the White Sox. In baseball, rollers are designed to fit. The only reference is change.

But the early games also matter, and in the US East League with five competitive teams, every advantage counts. With that in mind, the Blue Jays take the challenge of building their Opening Day roster very seriously. What if this group is destined for a turnaround at the start of the season? This kit is still the best the Blue Jays have to offer today.

In the coming days, the Blue Jays must finalize their 26-man lineup, a group that will be divided equally between pitchers and position players. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what we know – and what we don’t – about the group of players who will be traveling north to St. Louis after the team’s final game in the Grapefruit League Tuesday night:

Put the players
Locks (12): Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Brandon Belt, Beau Pechet, Matt Chapman, Santiago Espinal, Cavan Biggio, Whit Merrifield, Dolton Farshaw, Kevin Kiermayer, George Springer
Main contenders (3): Otto Lopez, Nathan Lukes, Vinnie Capra

Now that Addison Barger and Wynton Bernard are no longer in the major leagues, the competition here seems relatively direct.

Tactically, the last player won’t get many starts at the start of the year, but he should be able to deliver impressive quality against the left throw and pinch hit. Normally the last player on the bench should be versatile, and that’s obviously ideal at all times, but the flexibility of Biggio and Merrifield will also allow the Blue Jays to use that spot for more specialists if they so choose. Elite speed, strength or defense.

Capra excels right-handers, which is positive for a team that might want to find ways to complement its new generation of left-handers: Bilt, Farshaw and Kiermayer. However, Capra is in camp as an unregistered guest, meaning the Blue Jays will have to take over his contract. Conversely, Lukes is already on the 40-man roster, but as a left-handed hitter he doesn’t quite complete the team’s starters.

At the intersection of these two sweet spots is Lopez, a right-handed batter who already has 40 homers. In addition, Lopez had the best spring of the three with an impressive performance for Canada in the WBC to go along with his impressive Grapefruit League bout. This makes him the preferred candidate to head north.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the Blue Jays could make a late-spring acquisition and fill that spot from outside the organization. Barring a trade claim or waiver, it’s up to those three, and Lopez appears to be on top.

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Locks (12): Alec Manoah, Kevin Gusman, Chris Bassett, Jose Berrios, Yossi Kikuchi, Jordan Romano, Eric Swanson, Yemi Garcia, Tim Maesza, Anthony Bass, Adam Semper, Trevor Richards
Main contenders (4): Mitch White, Zack Pope, Nate Pearson, Jay Jackson

Last place seemed to be where White fell short, but a shoulder effect delayed his start in the spring and he had yet to play a major league game. He hasn’t been knocked out yet, but if the season starts at IL, that would leave an opening for the Blue Jays.

Asked where the final race was going to be held on Friday night, manager John Schneider said a small group of shooters had been arguing.

“Some. Maybe three or four in the mix,” he said. “We’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to open up, but there are guys out there who aren’t going to start with us who deserve to be with us at some point. Really good teams have tough conversations at this point, knowing you have really good options to send to Triple A.

Case in point: Trent Thornton and Zack Thompson, who seem most inclined to join Casey Lawrence and Drew Hutchison in the triple-A blogging tournament.

Thornton and Thompson could potentially see some time in the major leagues in 2023, but traditional long relievers are no longer seen as a necessity, opening the door for Pearson, Jackson or Pope. Pearson’s pace is undeniably attractive, and he’s struck out 13 in 8.1 innings pitched this spring, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Blue Jays send him to #1, at least to open the season.

In Jackson, they have a maven in ring-chasing mode with a 95-96 mph fastball and hard slider. He has impressed in camp this spring, with 13 strikeouts in 9.1 innings pitched, and it would be a surprise now if he didn’t contribute in 2023.

But don’t forget about Bob, who is already on the 40-man list, which could give him an advantage over Jackson. As pitching coach Pete Walker recently pointed out, there’s Clay Holmes’ advantage to Pope, whose two-seam fastball averaged 96.5 miles per hour last year. So far this spring, he’s had six hits in 4.1 innings pitched while allowing only one run. If this is the last arm in your barn, you’ve come to the right place.

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