Blue Jays: 5 spring training conversations worth more time
By Craig Borden
#1 – Whose turn is it to break out?
With all the talent that has come into the team in the past few seasons, who becomes this year’s breakout candidate? Last seasons breakout pitcher had to be Marco Estrada. He clocked in for the season as a 6th starter to be used in the bullpen and stormed his way to be one of our best pitchers.
In the field, the nod would have to go to Kevin Pillar. He was meant to be the team’s 4th outfielder and was thrust into the starting role in left after Michael Saunders went down. Pillar went on to have a phenominal season and always seemed to be clutch. Whether it was a big catch or a hit he seemed to always find a way to contribute.
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Looking at this season the roster is mostly the same, but as is always the case, there is a breakout player in there somewhere. Potential candidates may begin with Michael Saunders.
Saunders has had trouble staying on the field due to injuries but has always had the talent to be a good hitter. After getting hurt last season and only making his way into 9 games for the Jays he probably feels he has something to prove. In 2014 he played in 78 games for the Mariners and batted a solid .273 with 8 homers, 38 runs scored, and 34 RBI. He has a contact swing that should show some power in the Rogers Centre’s gaps.
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Another option may be Aaron Sanchez. Last season, Sanchez was just starting to put things together as a starter when an injury derailed his progress. The Jays opted to put him into the bullpen and traded for David Price soon after Sanchez returned. He pitched in 92.1 innings while holding teams to a 3.22 ERA, finding his value in the late innings to set up for Roberto Osuna. This offseason Sanchez has been working out with his friend Marcus Stroman and has bulked up, adding nearly 25 pounds and setting his sights on the 5th spot in the Jays rotation. Is this the year we see the Stro-Chez show take off?
Those are a few guys that could be the boom the Jays need, but who do you think could be a breakout candidate? Toronto have all sorts of reclamation projects like Domonic Brown and Junior Lake that could regain the talents they showed off in years past. Brown was an All-Star just a few years ago (remember?). This season is sure to have plenty of unsung heroes, and as 2015 showed, a playoff team will need them.