For many years, the Toronto Blue Jays have failed to develop high end starting pitchers consistently. With high draft picks such as Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil, who have had success as starters in the majors, only to eventually get demoted to Triple-A in Romero’s case and convert to a reliever in Cecil’s case. While Cecil has had success as a reliever, Romero has continued to falter as a starter and is now out for the season with a knee injury.
Anyways, this piece isn’t about Romero, Cecil, or Halladay, its about the fact that it finally seems like the Toronto Blue Jays are developing high-end starting rotation talent.With Marcus Stroman emerging as a dominant starter, and Aaron Sanchez giving us Blue Jays fans a glimpse as to why Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t want to part with any of his top pitching prospects, the future is looking bright for the Toronto Blue Jays rotation.
Before Marcus Stroman was drafted, we always heard about the big 3: Justin Nicolino, Noah Syndegaard, and Aaron Sanchez, at least until two of the big 3 were dealt. Justin Nicolino was dealt as a part of the Miami Marlins mega deal, while Noah Syndegaard was a part of the trade that brought 2012 NL Cy Young winner RA Dickey to the Blue Jays. With 2 of their top 4 pitching prospects gone, the Blue Jays farm system was looking a little weak, then along came the emergence of lefty Daniel Norris, whom the Blue Jays selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 MLB draft.
Norris originally struggled in the minors, but has now found his stride in 2014 and in some opinions, has taken over the spot as the Blue Jays top prospect. Along with Norris, there are prospects in the minor leagues such as Sean Nolin and Taylor Cole,(who has a ridiculous 143 K’s in 114 innings in Single-A Dunedin) who are beginning to show everyone that the Blue Jays’ farm system does indeed have some talent in terms of starting pitching.
Even though prospects such as Norris are still quite a ways away, even the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays rotation could be quite the talented bunch. The 2015 starting rotation for your Toronto Blue Jays will probably look a little like this:
Jul 25, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcherMark Buehrle
(56) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
1. Mark Buehrle: Mark Buehrle has enjoyed an unexpected all-star season and has quietly taken over as the leader of this starting rotation. Although Buehrle has been on the decline for his past few starts, it is expected of the lefty but as long as he stays healthy (which he will…its Mark Buehrle), look for him to be the opening day starter for the Blue Jays in 2015
Jul 19, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (54) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the 1st inning at Rogers Centre. Toronto won 4 – 1 Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
2. Marcus Stroman: The 5’9″ right-hander has shown everyone what all the hype is about. He has done nothing but impress since becoming a starter for the blue Jays, posting a 2.21 ERA in his first 10 starts. Stroman is the future of this Blue Jays rotation and along with Aaron Sanchez, should one day help carry this team to a post-season birth. Expect Stroman to be the number 2 starter come 2015.
Jul 23, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting Pitcher R.A. Dickey (43) pitches against Boston Red Sox in the 1st innings at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
3. R.A. Dickey: The Knuckleballer has had a solid season, providing innings on a consistent basis and allowing the Blue Jays to stay in games in most cases. He proceeded to make Boston Red Sox’ hitters look foolish last night and when his knuckler is moving, watch out. Dickey began the 2014 as the Blue Jays’ ace but the big season from Mark Buehrle and the emergence of Stroman will most likely move him down to the 3 spot in the rotation. The Main reason being that splitting Buehrle and Dickey up with Marcus Stroman will leave opposing hitters off-balance the following games.
Jul 26, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcherDrew Hutchison
(36) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
4. Drew Hutchison: Hutchison has had his troubles this season, especially at home, but he still has great potential to pitch his way atop this Blue Jays rotation. At times he has shown fatigue, after all this is his first full season as a starter, but on some nights, Hutchison is really on and paints corners like no tomorrow. Expect to see Hutchison pitching out of the 4 spot come 2015.
Jul 23, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Blue Jays relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) pitches against Boston Red Sox in the 6th innings at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
5. Aaron Sanchez: Last but certainly not least, Aaron Sanchez could possibly be the Toronto Blue Jays ace of the future. He has the potential to do great things in the MLB but he must earn it. I believe Sanchez will be a full-time starter with the big club come 2014 barring he doesn’t end up getting traded or injured, but you could say that for just about anyone in this rotation, though unlikely, its possible.
There you have it, your 2015 starting rotation, at least in my opinion, notice I left off Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ? The reasoning why is I simply don’t believe Morrow will be able to stay healthy in order to stay in the rotation and I also believe that J.A. Happ will be passed for Aaron Sanchez. Morrow has showed he can be a top of the rotation starter, but he’s not healthy, nor consistent enough to live up to those expectations, while J.A. Happ has pitched well for the Blue Jays this year, but there are better options, and he could be good trade bait after a fair season.
With the Toronto Blue Jays finally looking like contenders after years of mediocrity, and a starting rotation that has pitched beyond expectations, the future is definitely looking bright for these Blue Jays.