Blue Jays: A War of Veterans for the Final Two Bullpen Spots

DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 27: John Axford
DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 27: John Axford /
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Tim Mayza

Tim Mayza is the youngest arm fighting for the final bullpen spot. Unsurprisingly, he is also the arm that provides the most upside and potential. With a fastball ranging from 94-98 Mph and a hard slider, Mayza fits the frame of a late-inning reliever perfectly.

The big lefty spent time in both AA New Hamshire and AAA Buffalo last year before being called up to Toronto. It was his time in Buffalo that most excited the Blue Jays. Over 19.1 IP, Mayza allowed just 2 earned runs. Overall, this culminated in an absurd 0.93 ERA and a 1.190 WHIP. However, as a pitcher designed to produce strikeouts, his 7.4 SO9 in Buffalo was cause for concern.

In his call up to the major leagues, Mayza was not that exciting based on surface numbers. In 17.0 IP, he posted a 6.88 ERA. However, the underlying numbers provide cause for excitement.

Mayza managed 27 strikeouts in the majors to just 4 walks. Showing that he once again found the ability to strike batters out. As well, with a great 2.98 FIP, there is reason to believe that his 6.88 ERA is bloated and would even out over a larger sample size.

In spring training, Mayza has been making a case for a big-league job. In just 3.0 IP, he has not allowed an earned run and has posted a ridiculous 0.677 WHIP. However, it should be noted, this was completed against a weaker 6.5 OppQual.

Despite having the upside of a high leverage arm, Mayza will most likely not make the team out of spring training. The Blue Jays will likely prioritize his development while giving the veterans an early chance.

In Buffalo, Mayza can  develop his craft in more intense, late inning, high-leverage positions. This invaluable practice will groom him to for an important role in the Blue Jays future.