2015- Daniel Norris
Daniel Norris was once one of the most exciting pitchers in the Blue Jays minor league system, but an awful lot has changed since then. It starts of course with the fact that he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2015 in the David Price blockbuster, so it’s understandable if you’re not quite as familiar with how things have gone for him in recent years as you might be with Alford or Guerrero.
Norris is still immensely talented, but he hasn’t been able to put things together at the highest level, at least not yet. Last season he appeared in 22 games and made 18 starts, but posted a 5.31 ERA in 101.2 innings pitched. He made 13 starts in 2016 and posted a 3.89 ERA then, but he struggled to find similar success last season. Fortunately for the former Blue Jay, he’ll likely see plenty of opportunity with the rebuilding Tigers.
2014- Aaron Sanchez
The Blue Jays have had a few talented pitchers come through their system in recent years, and Sanchez was once at the top of the list in terms of rankings. As anyone who watched the Jays over the couple of seasons knows, Sanchez is a cornerstone to the franchise’s success, and they’ll hope for a big rebound from him in 2017 in terms of health.
He was the American League’s ERA leader in 2016, but last season was unfortunately held to just eight starts and 36 innings pitched due to blister/fingernail/tendon issues. He’s been throwing without issue this offseason, and Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro are optimistic that he’ll be able to start spring training on a healthy note. Whether or not he can sustain that health will be a tremendous key to any success the Blue Jays have next season.