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Toronto Blue Jays: Comparing the 2016 Rotation to Now

Evan Gignac
Mar 23, 2022; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios (17) throws a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training at BayCare Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2022; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios (17) throws a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training at BayCare Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /
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Heading in last year, there was no doubt the Toronto Blue Jays were going to score runs. Even with George Springer missing half the season, the Jays were still among the league leaders in run scored. What held them back was pitching.

The team was fortunate that Ryu and Matz hit the ground running, but trotting out Tanner Roark, T.J. Zuech and Ross Stripling in April and May definitely didn’t do the club any favours. Looking forward to the 2022 regular season, that narrative has changed. The Blue Jays are bringing in five proven major league arms, essentially for the first time since 2016 with four All-Stars and a promising rookie who will make up the Jays rotation for 2022. This group comprised of Ryu, Jose Berrios, Alek Manoah, and newcomers Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi should provide stability and quality starts all year round. This season’s rotation ranks among the best in the franchise’s recent memory, and reminds me greatly of 2016’s starting five.

The 2016 Blue Jays were a polarizing group for sure. They brought back the same core as the previous year, minus David Price. For the most post they underperformed, but were boosted by a great collective year from their rotation. Lead by a 25 year old Marcus Stroman, this mix of both veterans and young pitchers lead the American League in team ERA. The rotation included the aforementioned Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, R.A. Dickey, and Francisco Liriano.

The Blue Jays have a top rotation in baseball. This hasn’t been the case since 2016. Let’s see how 2016 and 2022 compared to each other.

The similarities even show themselves in general roles as well. There are many comps in terms of what pitchers have to offer. Both rotations include a workhorse, a crafty lefty, veteran presence, and more of that nature. A capable and reliable rotation paired with a top-tier offence will make for quite the season. For reference, let’s see how just closely they compare.

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