Toronto Blue Jays News

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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TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 24: Ryan Borucki #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by Marcus Stroman #6 after coming out of the game in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Philadelphia Phillies at Rogers Centre on August 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The players are wearing special jerseys as part of MLB Players Weekend. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Jacob Waguespack

Personally, I was pleased the Blue Jays finally moved on from Aaron Loup when they traded him to Philadelphia last year, and it was an added bonus that they got a potentially useful arm in return.

They received right-hander Jacob Waguespack from the Phillies, a 25 year old who spent last season split between AA and AAA. In 28 appearances (including 21 starts), Waguespack wasn’t spectacular by any means, posting a record of 6-10 with a 4.80 ERA in 122 innings pitched, and a WHIP of 1.459. My guess is he’ll start the season in Triple-A Buffalo, but he could serve as rotation depth in the case of injury.

Patrick Murphy

We’re getting to the part of the list that I don’t think the Blue Jays will want to utilize in 2019, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t talent at this stage of the depth chart.

Prior to the Rule 5 draft the Blue Jays had to make some decisions on which players to protect, and one they chose to make sure stuck around was right-hander Patrick Murphy. He’s still just 23 and spent last season split between A-AA, but he’s shown enough upside that the Blue Jays wanted to protect him, and will likely allow him to move further up the ladder in 2019.

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I don’t expect that he’ll be a realistic candidate for the team on Opening Day, but if the Blue Jays face injuries early in the season then he’s a decent candidate to be called up, especially because he’s already on the 40 man roster. If you’d like to learn more about him, check out the interview and article that our own former writer Craig Borden put together a while back.

Hector Perez

I already mentioned the last one I’ll include for today’s list when talking about the Roberto Osuna trade, as Hector Perez was the third piece included along with David Paulino and Ken Giles.

The Blue Jays felt that Perez was worth protecting on their 40 man roster this year as well, so like Murphy, he could get an opportunity in 2019 if injuries strike the rotation. Last season the 22 year old pitched between High-A and Double-A, so he could certainly benefit from more experience in the minor leagues before getting the call. I feel like he’s the least likely candidate of anyone on the list, but that could just be because I don’t know a whole lot about him, and that he started last season in High-A.

As I mentioned when I started this thing, I do expect that the Blue Jays will eventually add a veteran starting pitcher or two, especially if they actually go through with trading Marcus Stroman this winter. My hope is that they keep Stroman and add a veteran to help take some of the load off of the potentially young staff, but I’m also excited to see what many of these youngsters can do with a big league opportunity.

Atkins can't afford to bungle a Marcus Stroman trade. dark. Next

The 2019 season is going to be a year of growth and rebuilding for the Blue Jays anyway, so they may as well see what they’ve got in their young starting options. Their top pitching prospects like Nate Pearson and Eric Pardinho may not be anywhere near MLB-ready, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no talent in the organization. Chances are we’re about to get a first-hand look at what many of these guys are capable of in 2019.

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