Mar 13, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress (33) pitches in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Twitter was abuzz this morning as the Toronto Blue Jays have been putting the finishing touches on their Opening Day roster and according to Mike Wilner of SN 590 right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress has made the squad.
Jeffress, 26, pitched in 10.1 innings last season for the Blue Jays and allowed just one earned run, eight hits and five walks. He spent the majority of last year with the Triple-A Buffalo and in 27.1 innings pitched to a 1.65 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 13 walks.
The former Top 100 prospect has always struggled with control and in ten innings this spring walked nearly one batter per inning and had more walks than strikeouts. He’s out of options so the Blue Jays decided to add him to the active roster now, which was made possible by J.A. Happ hitting the DL, in order to avoid having to expose Jeffress to waivers.
Despite his past top prospect pedigree, I’m not convinced Jeffress will be much of a contributor for the Jays out of the bullpen. He throws extremely hard (close to 100 MPH) but has never been able to throw strikes consistently.
He can look good in small sample sizes but, in the long run, his inability to throw strikes makes me question how much success he can have against patient and skilled major league batters.
The Blue Jays bullpen is still loaded but I’m not really sure where Jeffress fits with all of the other right-handed relievers. He probably won’t see time unless it’s a fairly low leverage situation and my guess is that Jeffress will be designated for assignment by May or June.