Blue Jays: Biggest surprises of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 17: Justin Smoak
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 17: Justin Smoak /
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TORONTO, ON – APRIL 14: Aaron Sanchez
TORONTO, ON – APRIL 14: Aaron Sanchez /

Aaron Sanchez

The Blue Jays were supposed to have one of the best rotations in baseball in 2017, just as they did last year when they reached the postseason. Marcus Stroman has had the best year of his career, but outside of his performance you could argue that there have been disappointments all around. J.A. Happ has been very good since he’s been healthy, but he missed a big chunk of time. Marco Estrada has been hot and cold, and Francisco Liriano was pretty brutal before he was traded to the Houston Astros.

Then there was Aaron Sanchez. The 25 year old was supposed to take another step toward being an ace and Cy Young contender following a 2016 season that saw him lead the American League in ERA. It was also supposed to be the year that his workload restrictions would be lifted, and we’d see what he could do without any limitations from the organization.

Instead, Sanchez has made four trips to the disabled list, and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that he’ll make it back to a big league mound this season. He will need time to build up his arm and that’s a lot more difficult without the minor league system to use as a tune up, which ended earlier in the week. Sidenote- kudos to the Dunedin Blue Jays for being co-champions of the Florida State League!

Injuries aren’t the easiest thing to predict, but would you have believed me in February if I told you he’d only throw 36 innings because of blister and finger issues? It’s been a minor problem for him in the past, but this season it’s completely wiped him out.

It’s hard not to think about what kind of difference the former 1st round pick could have made in 2017, and it was all spoiled because of blisters and fingernails. Go figure.