Blue Jays Roster: Predicting the Bullpen
Inevitably, as Spring Training progresses closer and closer to Opening Day, rosters take shape. The 2015 Blue Jays roster is no exception. With surprising news breaking this morning that Steve Delabar had been optioned, the bullpen is slowly starting to take shape. It certainly isn’t what we thought it would be back in December, but it is becoming more clear the direction the Blue Jays are going to take.
As such, I thought I’d make a risky attempt of predicting how the 2015 bullpen will look on Opening Day in just over two weeks.
Here’s what I came up with:
Brett Cecil (LHP), Aaron Loup (LHP), Miguel Castro (RHP), Roberto Osuna (RHP), Todd Redmond (RHP), Colt Hynes (LHP), Marco Estrada (RHP),
Outside: Scott Barnes, Liam Hendriks, Kyle Drabek
The inclusion of Cecil, Loup and Redmond is a given. These three have been locks all winter. The only question was whether Cecil was going to be named the closer, which has now been taken care of. We all know the infatuation manager John Gibbons has for lefty Aaron Loup. And, Todd Redmond is coming off a fairly decent, if not average 2014 season. But, his ability to start if needed and/or come into “mop up” situations has all but cemented his role in 2015. And, he has done nothing this spring to make us think he is going anywhere but North when camp breaks.
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What is becoming more clear is that the Blue Jays are also deeply in love with the 20 year old duo of Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna. So much so that they look to be eliminating others from the bullpen equation as they whittle it down to these guys. And, in the case of Castro, who can blame them? In 9 innings this spring, he’s collected an easy 8 K with a huge fastball and nasty secondary (?) stuff. For his part, Osuna has also collected 8K in his 9.2 innings of work. Granted, he’s been the more hittable of the two with 6 surrendered.
Likewise, Coly Hynes has been having a great spring. The waiver claim has 7K in 7.2 innings and just 2 hits allowed. Yes, this is a small sample size, but at a time when big decisions have to be made based on it, the sample size means quite a bit. And, him being a lefty helps his case with Cecil and Loup looking like they’ll take up the back end of the ‘pen with Castro potentially helping out there too. Another effective lefty cannot hurt. Marco Estrada appears to be the odd man out of the rotation battle with Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris, so he’ll slide into a familiar role in the ‘pen as another guy who can make a spot start, etc.
Liam Hendriks has been quite hittable this spring, which is right in line with what we’ve come to expect from him. He’ll likely head to Buffalo where he was an International League All Star last season. Scott Barnes is hanging on to this conversation by the thinnest of threads. And, his 4 innings have not exactly been inspiring this spring. But, where does all of this leave Kyle Drabek?
He’s out of options. Will the Blue Jays risk losing him on waivers by sending him down? Let’s consider for a second the reason he is out of options. He’s had plenty of chances to show he can handle big league hitters. In fact, he’s had the same opportunity to do the same in AAA. The results have been fairly typical of Drabek, much like his spring. In 6 innings, he’s given up 7 hits and 3 BB. Yes, he’s struck out 6, but at this point, that is not going to cut it. And, he’s 27. It’s not like he’s a 20 year old kid who has lots of time to improve.
And, cutting Drabek (and Hendriks) opens up spots on the 40 man roster for Castro and Osuna. Yes, the club risks losing him on waivers. But, you have to ask yourself: Would you rather have Miguel Castro or Kyle Drabek taking up your roster spot? Liam Hendriks, or Roberto Osuna.
With two weeks left until Opening Day, I think the Blue Jays are telling us what they’d prefer.