Blue Jays: Who’s next in line for a start in the rotation?

Brendan Panikkar
Mar 10, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher T.J. House (44) throws a pitch during the ninth inning of an MLB spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 10, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher T.J. House (44) throws a pitch during the ninth inning of an MLB spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays are currently riding a 3 game win streak but as I write this, Mat Latos has finished his 3rd start as a Blue Jay showing his true colours as a starter by getting shelled by the New York Yankees.

Mat Latos struggled mightily on Tuesday over 4.0 innings, allowing 7 runs on 10 hits, including 4 home runs. I’m writing this to determine who is next in line for a start and that start could come sooner than May 9th when they need a 5th starter unless they want to give Latos another start.

It does seem unlikely the Blue Jays will cut ties with Latos after his start against the Yankees. They likely will ride him out one more time when his next start comes Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays. That being said, they likely operate needing just 1 starting pitcher on May 9th.

The reason the Blue Jays need another starter is well documented. Aaron Sanchez‘s return was only for 1.0 innings as his nail cracked down the middle, which is still related to his blister issue. The hope was that he maybe could go, but that is not likely. The other hope was that perhaps J.A. Happ could be back, but according to Mark Shapiro, a return for J.A Happ seems much further away than when Sanchez could come back.

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The Blue Jays gave Casey Lawrence two starts when Happ and Sanchez went on the DL and they gave Latos 3 starts. Casey Lawrence was hit hard when he was up and likely will not be the guy to get the call. I believe the next in line will be T.J. House, who is off to a blazing start with the Buffalo Bisons.

T.J House is quite familiar to Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins from House’s days with the Cleveland Indians. House actually made 18 starts in 2014 for the Cleveland Indians and pitched quite well. House threw 102.0 innings and went 5-3 with a 3.35 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and 3.10 xFIP. He also posted a respectable 7.06 K/9, 1.94 BB/9, and a 60.9% groundball rate.

House was awarded a spot in the 2015 Indians rotation and made 4 starts. They were pretty disastrous as he posted a 13.15 ERA. House spent the remainder of 2015 in AAA and eventually went on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. House made 4 relief appearances with Cleveland in 2016 and they let him go at seasons end.

House was signed by Toronto to a minor league deal in December of 2016. He had a very outside chance to be a reliever out of the bullpen, but ultimately after a spring that included a scary comebacker off the head, House was sent to AAA Buffalo to be in the Bisons’ rotation. Currently, he has made 4 starts with Buffalo totalling 22.0 innings with a 3-1 record and 1.64 ERA. He also has a 58.8 GB%, which will play in the AL East should House be the guy to be called up.

T.J. House is only 27 years old and now that he is recovered from his arm injuries, there is still time to get his once promising career back on track. He was a sleeper for a breakout candidate in 2015 but the arm injury sidelined him.

The reason that House would be the guy is because his stuff plays in the AL East. Sure, other than Mike Bolsinger who’s had good success at the MLB level, there aren’t many more intriguing options to be called up. For his career, House has a 59.7 GB% and he doesn’t allow the home run ball as evidenced by the career 0.84 HR/9.

If there is one thing that has plagued House through his career in the MLB and MiLB, it’s a battle with command issues. He has a 4.50 BB/9 in Buffalo. It’s 2.60 for his career, which is decent but nothing to write home about.

Next: Blue Jays' AL East Recap: High & Lows

If there is a guy to be called up for the next time the Blue Jays need a 5th starter (assuming it’s not Latos), it should be T.J House. Names like Mike BolsingerBrett Oberholtzer, and Jarrett Grube will get some looks, but I believe the next guy in line in the minds of the Blue Jays will be T.J House.

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