Blue Jays Spring Training Notes & Numbers
Mar 11, 2015; Sarasota, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Drew Hutchison (36) throws a warm up pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at a spring training game at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Obviously, any rotation that has Marcus Stroman removed form it is worse off. Of that there is no doubt. But, can this rotation of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison, Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez carry the Blue Jays to success in 2015? Early results are actually good. The first 4 starters all have an ERA under 3 while Sanchez’ sits at 4.85. Again, this is Spring Training and should be taken as such. Having said that, though, we can get excited about the season that lies ahead.
We know what we’ll get from Dickey and Buehrle: 200+ innings of at or above .500 ball. #HutchShow looks to be set to rebound nicely this season. In 10 innings, he’s 5 K and held batters to a .182 average. Again, it is just spring, but this is a good sign. IF it were the other way around, we’d be at least a little concerned.
Toronto Blue Jays
As for Norris and Sanchez…It is a tale of two pitchers. Norris is cementing himself in this rotation. In 12.2 innings, he’s collected 14 (!) strike outs and walked just 4. He may, in fact, be too close to the strike zone as he’s given up 13 hits as well. But, he’s continuing to battle, which is impressive. And, when you get the chance to see his curveball in action…oh, boy.
Sanchez on the other hand is having a bit of a rougher time of things so far. In 13 innings, he’s given up a HR, 13 hits, 3 BB and 7 earned runs. Perhaps the addition of his work in progress pitch will go a long way to bringing those numbers down.
Another option would be to go with Marco Estrada as the 5th starter. He certainly has some experience if the Blue Jays want to go that route. Except, hitters are hitting .343 off him so far. He’s given up 12 hits, 2 HR and 8 ER in 7.2 innings for an ERA of 9.39. I’d stick with the youngsters, thank you very much.
All winter, we’d heard that the bullpen was in desperate need of repair. And, after doing a whole lot of nothing to address it, the Blue Jays are actually looking pretty good in this department.
Steve Delabar has looked quite good so far this spring. In 6 innings, he’s struck out 9 and walked just 1. He looked especially good against the Phillies yesterday when he picked up the save on 9 pitches, striking out the side. IF he can continue this reversal of 2014, he’ll be a huge boost for the ‘pen.
Kyle Drabek has shown some progress as well. He’s got 5 strike outs in 5 innings and just 2 BB. On one of the games broadcast, pitching coach Pete Walker said that bullpen guys need about 7 games to be ready for the season. Well, Drabek is almost there. He’s performed decently in the sample size the team needs to make their decision. If this small sample size is all we need to go by, Drabek is ready to head north as part of the bullpen.
All winter, Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos has been pushing the idea of Miguel Catsro heading to the bullpen with the big league club. Very few people thought this was a good idea. In fact, our own Michael Wray called the idea “crazy”. But, after seeing Castro in action, many of those skeptics are ready to throw away the conservative approach and get on board with the idea, including Wray, who changed his mind. In 6.2 innings, Castro has given up just 2 hits to go with 4 strike outs. Opponents are hitting just 0.95 and his WHIP is 0.30. Hello! Castro is lighting up the radar gun in the high 90’s and making AA look quite good. With the same ‘required’ innings from a bullpen arm as Drabek, we could very well see Castro in Toronto to start the season.
Yes, Spring Training is a small sample size. But, when roster decisions and positions are on the line, the numbers we see in March have an impact on who we see in April. Stay tuned as we keep you up to date on the Blue Jays progress toward Opening Day 2015.
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