Blue Jays season preview: Three reasons it could go wrong
No. 2: Depth of starts from the rotation
In 2016, the Jays should not need to worry about R.A. Dickey’s workload. They didn’t need to worry Mark Buehrle‘s last season, or even David Price’s down the stretch.
This year could be a little different.
Beyond Dickey, the Blue Jays opening day rotation features two young arms in Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. While many are expecting Stroman to pick up the ‘ace’ tag and run with it, his talent isn’t exactly what’s in question here. Instead, the worry is that, come August or September when Stroman passes 140 innings and begins towards 200, his stamina will be tested.
The same goes for Sanchez, whose workload has been a hot discussion topic this week after beating out Gavin Floyd for the fifth job. Sanchez will reportedly be on an innings limit this season, but with his added bulk and offseason training, will he be able to work consistently into the 7th inning and beyond? Will his secondary pitches allow him to?
In the middle stand J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada. Happ, who signed early in free agency on a three-year deal, has always struggled to work deep into games himself. Last season represented a career-high workload for him with just 172.0 innings, and over 31 starts between the Mariners and Pirates, the lanky lefty pitched a full 7.0+ innings just seven times. He never exceeded seven and a third.
Estrada is coming off a career-high workload of his own, just narrowly eclipsing the 200.0 IP plateau including the playoffs after spending much of his career moving between the rotation and bullpen.
Short starts are fine, and frankly, they’re inevitable regardless of the pitcher’s talent. Between Dickey’s starts, however, the Blue Jays do run the risk of stacking two or three short outings on top of one another. Especially if the bullpen sees an injury or two, this could quickly begin to tax the long relievers and high-leverage arms.
Last, but not least, it’s that dirty word beginning with ‘R’…
Next: No. 1: Hello, Regression, my old friend