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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Blue Jays
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 17: Manager John Gibbons #5 relieves Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game three of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 17, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Marcus Stroman and Jose Berrios

Both of these guys meet today’s definition of a workhorse. The days of pitchers throwing north of 250 innings in one season are long gone, so anywhere around 200 nowadays is a big deal. Both Stroman and Berrios are pitchers you can book will be around that mark at seasons end. This number is an indicator of both good performance and durability. The 2016 campaign saw Stroman pitch a total of 204 innings, a year removed from a torn ACL while Berrios pitched 192 innings last year, and has averaged 196 innings per year.

The way they attack hitters shows similarities as well. Both make an effort to force weak contact from their opponents. Baseball Savant shows that both pitchers utilize a sinker as a large part of their arsenal. Back in 2016, Stroman threw his sinker 44.1% of the time, compared to a 17% in his second used pitch (his cutter). Berrios essentially has two primary pitches, those being the curveball and sinker. Both take up about 30% of his total pitch usage.

What this pitch does is contribute to positive groundball rates. It’s no secret that hitting the ball on the ground is taboo in this age of baseball. Thus, pitchers who force this result of contact are valuable. Stroman’s groundball percentage during the 2016 season sat at 61.6%. Looking at his full seasons pitched, this was his third best career mark. While Berrios didn’t produce groundballs with the same consistency, 2021 was still the best mark of his career in that category, sitting at 43.7%. This difference isn’t necessarily alarming, considering Berrios’s increased ability to get strikeouts. Berrios sat in the 66th percentile in K%, opposed to Stroman’s place in the 35th percentile.

While these two pitchers may have differences in the way the present themselves, their on field results bare comparisons. Their athleticism, consistency, and repertoire all match up.

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