Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Sam Gaviglio has earned his spot in the rotation for now

hgodfrey
TORONTO, ON - MAY 11: Sam Gaviglio #44 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the tenth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on May 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 11: Sam Gaviglio #44 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the tenth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on May 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Surprisingly, the second most reliable starter for the Blue Jays over the last few weeks has been waiver wire acquisition Sam Gaviglio. Despite incredibly low expectations, the former Kansas City Royal has strung together a sequence of solid outings against some tough opponents.

Let’s be real, nobody expected Sam Gaviglio to be this good, but boy is it great to see him dealing. At this point, one could argue that he’s the second-best pitcher on this team, joining J.A. Happ as the only reliable arm on the roster over the past three weeks.

After being acquired in March in a minor trade with Kansas City, Gaviglio paid his dues in Triple-A Buffalo before getting called up to the bigs in May. After it’s all said and done, Gaviglio tossed 29.0 frames in Buffalo, notching an impressive 1.86 ERA and an even more impressive 0.862 WHIP in five starts in the International League.

Unbelievably, the Ashland, Oregon native has pitched to a dazzling 2.51 ERA over 28.2 innings with the big club, allowing just eight earned runs on 21 hits while striking out 26 and walking just seven. Following his most recent start, his WHIP stands at 0.977, and his WAR at 1.2, according to BaseballReference.com.

A true test of Gaviglio’s sudden dominance was his excellent performance in Wednesday night’s game against the juggernaut New York Yankees. He showed fantastic command and incredible poise on the mound, holding the Yankees scoreless over seven innings, allowing just three hits and walking three.

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Although the outcome wasn’t particularly favourable, Gaviglio undoubtedly gave the Jays a chance to win – something that Blue Jay starters have not been able to do as of late. According to Sportsnet Stats, Gaviglio is the first Blue Jays starter to throw seven shutout innings at home this season.

Now, I think it’s safe to say that Gaviglio has earned his spot in the rotation, at least for the next cycle or two. With Marcus Stroman shelved indefinitely, and rotation staples Jaime Garcia and Aaron Sanchez struggling mightily, John Gibbons and company need to ride the hot hand.

Yes, it’s not ideal that Sam Gaviglio is the savior of a starting five that was once considered solid and dependable, but as we’ve seen, the status of a roster can change dramatically over the course of just a few months. It has come to this, which is unsurprising considering just how much the starting rotation has struggled since the middle of May.

Still, I can only hope that Gaviglio is being rewarded for his stability by at least getting another start or two. With Marco Estrada possibly on the move in the next month or so, yet another spot in the rotation will likely open up and be Gaviglio’s for the taking.

For now, as difficult as it is to say, Sam Gaviglio is the bright spot in an otherwise disappointing baseball team. As the season continues to play itself out, we’ll see if a fringe major leaguer continues to be the highlight of this team’s campaign.

Next: Blue Jays: Will Cavan Biggio make his big league debut?

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