Blue Jays: Dark horse rotation candidates for 2019

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 9: Thomas Pannone #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on September 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 9: Thomas Pannone #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on September 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 15: Sean Reid-Foley #54 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 15, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 15: Sean Reid-Foley #54 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 15, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Sean Reid-Foley

I’m going to start with the most obvious candidates, and at this stage I feel like Sean Reid-Foley has a very good chance of earning a spot in next year’s rotation.

His cameo with the big league club was pretty successful, especially if you look beyond the numbers and actually watched the majority of his appearances. He made seven starts and threw 33.1 innings, posting a 5.13 ERA and a WHIP of 1.560 while going 2-4. Again, the numbers don’t look all that sexy at first chance, but there was a lot of promise displayed in his short time at the highest level.

The most encouraging sign might be his ability to strike out big leaguers, as he fanned 42 in his 33.1 innings, good for a 11.3 K/9 rate. Strikeouts alone aren’t going to get it done, but the “cup of coffee” he experienced last fall should be great for his development, and whether he breaks camp with the team or not, I fully expect to see him factor into the rotation at some point in 2019.

Thomas Pannone

Ryan Borucki wasn’t the only pleasant southpaw surprise in their rotation last year. After a disappointing start to the 2018 season, Thomas Pannone quickly impressed in Triple-A and made his way to the big leagues in time to help a depleted Blue Jay rotation down the stretch.

Pannone was given a bit more time than Reid-Foley, making six starts and 12 total appearances, throwing 43 innings. He was pretty successful too, posting an ERA of 4.13 and a WHIP of 1.209 in his limited work.

He may have been able to accomplish more, but unfortunately he started the season on the suspension list after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone last spring. Hopefully it’ll be an unfortunate lesson learned for the young man, and 2019 can be the season he claims a big league job for good. He’s not guaranteed a spot in the rotation by any means, but I would expect him to be in a legitimate battle for the #5 spot this spring.