Blue Jays: Health is the elixir for successful 2018 campaign
If the Toronto Blue Jays are going to reign supreme in 2018 they will need healthy campaigns from a number of key players on their roster.
The Blue Jays have one of the most talented pitching staffs in baseball along with a potent and versatile lineup that should have no issues scoring runs this season. However, the Jays need Aaron Sanchez on the bump every fifth day and Devon Travis churning out doubles atop the Jays lineup.
In 2016, Sanchez went 15-2 with a 3.00 earned run average while accumulating a 4.9 WAR in 30 starts for the playoff-bound Blue Jays. Sanchez made his first All-Star appearance that season and finished 7th in the AL Cy Young voting. Last season he made only 8 starts pitching 36 innings for the entire season.
Travis may be one of the most snake-bitten players in the majors when it comes to injuries. The second-baseman has the potential to be a perennial .300 hitter if he can find a way to remain on the diamond. He is a career .292/.331/.462 hitter in 213 games over 3 seasons. Before hitting the DL last season, Travis stroked 16 doubles along with 4 homers in the month of May. This guy has the talent to be an important offensive cog at the top of the Jays lineup.
According to Roster Resource, the Blue Jays had the second most trips to the disabled list of any team in the majors with 31. Surprisingly the league leader with 38 DL stints was the Los Angeles Dodgers who made it all the way to the World Series before succumbing to the Houston Astros in 7 games.
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The above mentioned Aaron Sanchez made 4 separate trips to the disabled list missing a total of 150 days. Next was Travis with 119 days missed, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki spent 98 days on the DL as well creating a huge hole in the middle of the infield.
Catcher Russell Martin also had two visits to the DL missing a total of 43 days while Josh Donaldson and J.A. Happ were both sidelined for 42 days respectively with their own ailments.
When it was all said and done Manager John Gibbons was forced to anoint 14 different hurlers to start games last season. We aren’t exactly talking about the cream of the crop either, Gibby was forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel to eat up innings and 9 of those starters ended the 2017 season with an earned run average north of 5.00.
You aren’t going to win many ball games with 31 DL trips and 14 different starters toeing the rubber to start a ball game in a single season. If the 2018 pitching staff can stay healthy, this team will be sitting pretty near the top of the AL East come October.
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The offseason additions have undoubtedly made the Jays a better more athletic and versatile squad. Now the Jays just need a magic health potion to keep everyone on the field in 2018.