When you look at the Toronto Blue Jays current starting rotation it’s hard to think of many teams that have had a rotation that looked as stacked on paper as the Blue Jays rotation.
It’s easy to think of many teams with stacked offenses. Heck there’s teams that could have better offenses than the Blue Jays (LA Angels, Detroit Tigers).
However when you look at the Blue Jays starting rotation you see 5 starters that all have the potential to pitch 200 innings in a season. Unless I just haven’t been watching baseball long enough or have a bad memory the only other team I can think of that had 5 starters capable of pitching 200 innings is the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies. They had Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton but even they didn’t all pitch 200 innings that season.
Pitching 200 innings is very hard for any starter because they have to pitch deep into a lot of games and stay healthy and consistent. As hard as it is, all the Blue Jays starters are capable of it.
You can’t talk about the Blue Jays rotation and pitching 200 innings without talking about Mark Buehrle first. He’s pitched over 200 innings for 12 straight seasons. He’s going to be pitching in the AL East now where it won’t be as easy to eat up innings. Especially since he barely made it the last 2 seasons with 205.1 in 2011 and 202.1 in 2012 but we certainly know he’s capable of it.
R.A. Dickey made his big league debut in 2001 and has only been a full time starting pitcher since 2010. In each of the years he’s been a full time starter his inning totals has gone up from 174.1 in 2010 to 208.2 in 2011 to 233.2 in 2012. Dickey’s knuckleball doesn’t put a lot of strain on his arm and he’s been a starter for such a short time that it’s reasonable to believe that 2011 and 2012 were just the beginning and that he’ll be able to continue pitching 200 innings.
After Buehrle and Dickey it starts getting a little more questionable.
Ricky Romero had a big down season in 2012 and as a result only pitched 181 innings. However he did pitch 210 innings in 2010 and 225 in 2011. Those were also just his second and third seasons in the big leagues. If Romero can have a bounce back season in 2013 he’s definitely capable of hitting the 200 innings mark.
Innings pitched is far from being the most important stat for a starting pitcher as starters like Josh Johnson make painfully obvious. Johnson is arguably the Blue Jays best starter but because of his injury history has only cracked 200 innings in 2009 with 209. Even last season when he stayed healthy he just pitched 191.1. Johnson is just coming into his prime at age 29, so if he can stay healthy he doesn’t need that big an innings jump to get to 200 in 2013.
Brandon Morrow is the biggest wild card as far as pitching 200 innings goes because he’s never done it. He’s only been a full time starter for 3 seasons. In 2010 he was on an innings limit. In 2011 and 2012 Morrow dealt with injuries but he still managed 179.1innings in 2011 and 124.2 in 2012. Like Johnson, Morrow is young and coming into his prime so if he can stay healthy and make all his starts he should be capable of pitching 200 innings.
No one should expect all 5 Blue Jays starters to pitch 200 innings. No one would be upset if they all didn’t. Just knowing they’re all capable of it is more than enough.