The Toronto Blue Jays have gotten off to a really solid start, winning three out of the four series that they’ve played with the fourth being a split in the Bronx. They’ve done this with inconsistent starting pitching early and some pretty brutal injury luck with Hyun-Jin Ryu, Teoscar Hernandez, Nate Pearson, and Danny Jansen all ending up on the IL so far.
With the injuries and the fact that the rosters are expanded to 28 players for the month of April, the Jays have a couple of players appear in games for the big club who might have not done so at all under normal circumstances.
As of now, the Jays are carrying 15 pitchers and 13 position players. They have been using ten relievers in their bullpen with four players coming off the bench. While it’s always nice to have extra arms in the ‘pen, part of the rule is teams cannot hold more than 13 pitchers.
When the Blue Jays go back to a 26-man roster, Tayler Saucedo and Trent Thornton will be sent down to AAA.
Tayler Saucedo appeared in 29 games last season and fared pretty well, holding left-handed hitters to a .139/.244/.167 slash line allowing just one double in 46 plate appearances. However, his numbers against righties were not great, making him hard to trust with the three batter rule in effect. He has his uses, but the Jays bullpen has better options than Saucedo right now.
The other spot was harder to decide on. In a perfect world, someone like Gosuke Katoh or Tyler Heineman could be sent down. The Jays already have two catchers on the roster in Zack Collins and Alejandro Kirk and already have five infielders.
However, since they can’t have more than 13 pitchers, the decision has to be between pitchers. The decision will be narrowed down to be between Trent Thornton and Ryan Borucki, and I think Thornton is the guy I think they send down.
While he’s definitely a serviceable long man, Thornton has appeared in four games this season. The Jays’ bullpen is deep and with their rotation starting to string together some solid outings, they haven’t needed Thornton very much, especially when Stripling returns to the bullpen when Ryu returns.
Thornton has two options left and Borucki has none, which makes the decision much easier. If another pitcher gets injured this season, the right-hander will be the first guy to get the call but come May 1st, I believe he will be on his way to Buffalo.