Spring Training and Grapefruit League games are now underway, we are continuing our look at the Top 100 Blue Jays in team history. So far I’ve looked at players ranked 41-100 and today I’ll look at the next five on the list. This is opinion based off of career stats with the club, and accomplishments during their tenure with the Blue Jays.
(Top Players- #36-40)
#40. Billy Koch (1999-2001)
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted right-handed, flame-throwing Billy Koch with the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLB Draft. He was brought up through the system as a starting pitcher, however, was immediately put into the closer’s position as a 24-year old rookie. During his rookie season in 1999 Koch would save 31 games in 35 opportunities, which led to him finishing seventh in Rookie of the Year voting.
Koch would continue to be the team’s closer for the following two seasons where he saved 33 and 36 saves respectfully, which totalled 100 over his three years. After the 2001 season, Koch was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Eric Hinske and Justin Miller. Koch currently sits fourth all-time in saves behind Tom Henke, Duane Ward and Roberto Osuna.
#39. Casey Janssen (2006-2014)
Selected in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft, it took Casey Janssen less than two years to make his major league debut. Janssen began his career as a starting pitcher, however, he was moved to the bullpen where he proved to be quite effective. He posted three consecutive seasons of an ERA under 2.60 and became the closer in his final three seasons, which saw him collect a total of 90 saves and puts him fifth on the club’s all-time list. He was also able to post consecutive seasons with a WHIP under 1.00.
During the 2014 season Janssen’s numbers starting escalating and the team elected to move on from him in free agency, when he signed on with the Washington Nationals and played one more year in the major leagues.
#38. Adam Lind (2006-2014)
The Blue Jays chose Adam Lind in the third round of the 2004 draft and he came up through the minor leagues as a left fielder. In 2006, he exploded on the scene as a September call-up where he got into 18 games. Lind went 22 for 60 (.367) with 10 extra-base hits which led to constant call-ups for the next couple of years until he became a regular in 2009, where he split his time between left field and designated hitter.
During that first full season in the major leagues, Lind would take home a Silver Slugger award after hitting 46 doubles, 35 home runs and 114 RBI while posting a slash line of .305/.370/.562. He wouldn’t be able to replicate those numbers for the duration of his career, but he was able to hit 20+ home runs on three more occasions. Lind finished his nine year stint with the Blue Jays with 146 home runs which is good for ninth all-time on the club. After the 2014 season, Lind was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Marco Estrada.
#37. Paul Quantrill (1996-2001)
The Blue Jays acquired Canadian Paul Quantrill after the 1995 season from the Philadelphia Phillies and he became one of the best bullpen arms for over a half decade. When Quantrill first joined the club he was used in the starting rotation, but it was evident that he was more suited for the bullpen. As a starter that season he had a 6.29 ERA over 20 starts while posting a 2.76 ERA over 18 appearances from the bullpen.
In Quantrill’s first full season coming in relief he collected six wins, five saves and had a dazzling 1.94 ERA. Quantrill was named an All-Star in his final season in Toronto during the 2001 season that saw him pick up 11 wins in relief and lead the major leagues in appearances with 80.
After that All-Star season, the Blue Jays named J.P. Ricciardi as the new general manager and he made a handful of horrible trades. One trade he made less than a month after taking his new role was trading All-Star Quantrill and top prospect Cesar Izturis, who he himself would become an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, for Luke Prokopec. Prokopec would post a 2-9 record and 6.78 ERA for the Blue Jays in 2002 and never pitch in the majors again.
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#36. Roberto Osuna (2015-2018)
The Blue Jays signed Roberto Osuna as a 16-year old International Free Agent in 2011 from Mexico. Osuna had a lot of hype around him after his first professional season in 2012 as he dominated Rookie and Short A Season, however, required Tommy John Surgery at just 18 years of age. This barely slowed Osuna down as he was able to debut as a 20-year old in 2015 where he became the team’s closer. By the time he was 22 years old he had already become an All-Star and recorded 95 career saves.
Osuna was even better in the playoffs as he pitched in 14 games over the 2015-2016 postseasons allowing just two runs over 17.1 innings pitched while holding batters to just seven hits and one walk over that span.
During the 2018 season Osuna got into some legal troubles that led the Blue Jays to trading him to the Houston Astros. Osuna finished his four year career with the Blue Jays with a 2.87 ERA and 104 saves along with a miniscule 0.92 WHIP.
The next segment will include a pair of Silver Slugger award winners and a dependable postseason pitcher.