The emergence of reliever Ryan Tepera is one of the few bright spots in a season of disappointments, however, could the former minor league starter re-establish himself as a viable member of the Blue Jays rotation in 2018?
The Blue Jays will be searching for arms to fill the void of pending free agent hurlers Marco Estrada and Francisco Liriano come next season and Tepera has already put the bug in his manager’s ear that he is more than willing to take a stab at starting again.
"“I talked about it with (pitching coach) Pete (Walker) and Gibby (manager John Gibbons) a little bit when we had a lot of starters go down earlier in the season. Now that I know myself a little better mechanically wise, pitching-wise, I think I could go back to starting. And they think so, too."
The 29-year old was selected by the Blue Jays in the 19th round, 580th overall of the 2009 amateur draft. Ryan Tepera made his MLB debut in 2015 and has pitched out of the Jays bullpen for the past three season sporting a career 3.24 earned run average with a 1.042 WHIP in 97 major league appearances. His major league career splits are great as lefties only hit .171 versus him while righties are a tad better at .209.
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Tepera was groomed as a starting pitcher all through the minors surely because of his 95 mph heater and nasty cutter he compliments with. The hurler made 90 starts at various levels through his minor league trek to the majors. In 8 minor league seasons, he went 52-33 with a 3.98 earned run average while starting 90 of his 225 games.
Tepera has gone on record in the past acknowledging he needs to fine tune his changeup if he were to go back to the rotation. Tepera utilized his fastball 54.1%, cutter 44.7%, slider 1.1% and his changeup only 0.1% of the time in 2017.
The Jays needs arms depending on what they do in the offseason and Tepera could be a viable option especially if they opt to keep Joe Biagini in the bullpen come 2018.
Just food for thought but he does have the resume as a starter in the minors.