Blue Jays: The main questions ahead of the 2019 season
Can Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez stay healthy?
The outcome of the season for the Blue Jays will largely depend on the health of the pitchers who have showed they have “ace” potential in the past. Marcus Stroman has showed that if healthy he can beat anyone and can carry along a pitching staff. Aaron Sanchez had a Cy Young type of season in 2016, and he keeps showing signs of such level in his starts, but injuries, specially the nagging blister issues he’s had, have prevented him from pitching at that level on a regular basis.
Sanchez made 20 starts in 2018, an improvement over the eight starts he made in 17′, but 28 starts in two seasons is far from what you want for a pitcher who has the potential to be one of the best in the American League. It’s an obvious statement that if Sanchez stays healthy the Blue Jays will do a lot better in terms of record. In addition to that, the 26 year old is a great trade chip for the Blue Jays who could look to deal him before the trade deadline if he stays healthy and performs adequately, which would get the Jays a premium return in terms of prospects.
Stroman on the other hand has been more durable over the last two seasons, but he still made just 19 starts in 2018, a season in which he had shoulder and blister issues. His 5.54 ERA is far from the level he performed at in 2017 in which he made 33 starts pitching to a brilliant 3.09 ERA with a winning record of 13-9. Just like Sanchez, Stroman is a great trade chip that the Blue Jays might want to turn into top prospects. His value is reasonably high because of what he has showed in the past, but it has certainly dropped significantly compared to where it was after the 17′ season.
Both are essential for a hypothetical good season and for good returns in possible trades. If they both have a healthy season the Jays have two potential aces on their hands, as well as two potential trades that could easily transform an already very good farm system into the best one.