Toronto Blue Jays: Why the rotation will do, for now
Upside and creative use
I’ll reiterate on more time that I’d much prefer to see the Blue Jays improve their starting rotation. However, we must also recognize that the Jays are pretty progressive with their approach to the pitching staff, and need for traditionally successful starters isn’t as great as it once was.
What we’ve seen from Charlie Montoyo and the Jays over the last few years is a reluctance to let the starter pitch deep into the game, almost preferring to avoid the third time through the order altogether. Whether that means utilizing an opener in some cases, or piggy-backing a couple of pitchers who throw multiple innings, the Jays haven’t been afraid to creatively use their staff.
To that end, the Blue Jays may not have a lot of high-upside arms for the rotation, but they have plenty of options. Their depth chart looks something like this:
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1- Hyun Jin Ryu
2- Nate Pearson
3- Robbie Ray
4- Tanner Roark
5- Steven Matz
6- Ross Stripling
7- Tyler Chatwood
8- Trent Thornton
9- Anthony Kay
10- Thomas Hatch
11- Julian Merryweather
12- TJ Zeuch
13- Jacob Waguespack
14- Alek Manoah
… and more.
They obviously can’t carry them all at the same time, and some of these arms will be used out of the bullpen. However, the Blue Jays shouldn’t run into a problem like when Edwin Jackson kept starting a few years ago because “they didn’t have anyone else”.
At the very least, the Blue Jays should be able to find some serviceable combinations for the pitching staff, and if using guys like Matz, Stripling, Chatwood, etc for three innings at a time produces positive results, maybe Atkins and Montoyo come out looking like geniuses for their approach.
Only time will tell if the Blue Jays are making a grave mistake by not reinforcing the rotation a little more, but there are a handful of explanations that make some sort of sense. At least, for now.