Blue Jays: Ranking and Dissecting the First Half

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: Ryan Goins
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: Ryan Goins /
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TORONTO, ON – JUNE 14: Russell Martin
TORONTO, ON – JUNE 14: Russell Martin /

Pitching Staff: C+

Injuries really have taken their toll on the pitching staff, and I’d make an argument that they’ve overachieved in some ways, especially when you account for the DL time spent by crucial arms.

Aaron Sanchez went from the 2016 AL ERA leader, to a completely irrelevant arm in the first half of this season. Fortunately he’s healthy and back on the mound now, but it’s been frustrating that he hasn’t been able to build on such a strong 2016 performance. Assuming he can stay healthy, the Blue Jays should get tremendous value from him in the second half, but unfortunately it’s been next to nothing to this point in the campaign.

J.A. Happ and Francisco Liriano also spent time on the DL, with Happ in particular missing a big chunk of time. They’ve also received next to nothing from J.P. Howell, who has spent nearly all of the season on the DL, and are currently missing Joe Smith, who was one of their most effective relievers before his injury.

Throw in names like Bo Schultz, Leonel Campos, Glenn Sparkman, and the early issues with Roberto Osuna, and the bullpen has overcome an awful lot in their mediocrity. Guys like Ryan Tepera and Danny Barnes have really stepped up, so it’s not all doom and gloom on the staff either. Marcus Stroman has been their best starter, and likely should have been an All-Star as well.

As a unit they carry a 4.53 ERA, good for seventh in the American League. With a healthy Sanchez, and hopefully an improved performance from Happ and the struggling Marco Estrada, the pitching staff really isn’t the biggest problem in Toronto, despite the less than stellar first half. They have had solid performances from Osuna and Stroman, and hopefully the others can have a stronger second half to improve the numbers for the talented group.