You’ll Get ‘Em Next Year Champ Award: Every starter that isn’t Manoah, Gausman, or Stripling
This one is even more made up than the last one, but I think it’s well-deserved. Obviously, Alek Manoah had a great season, and Kevin Gausman and Ross Stripling both had some nice years themselves. The rest of the Blue Jays rotation very much did not, and all of them are likely anticipating much better 2023s. Let’s run through them.
Jose Berrios was, by most metrics, the worst statistically qualified starting pitcher in baseball this year. He had the worst ERA, ERA+, and WHIP in the majors, and very much did not live up to the seven-year, 131-million-dollar extension that he was given last offseason. What gives room for optimism is that he wasn’t consistently horrible, it’s just that when he was bad, he looked like he was throwing batting practice. When he wasn’t doing that, he threw 17 quality starts, which was 12th in the AL, ahead of pitchers like Gausman, Dylan Cease, and Shohei Ohtani. If you want to be positive, it’s really easy to think of this season as a fluke, so that’s what I’m going to do for now. You’ll get ’em next year champ.
Yusei Kikuchi was brought in to be the Blue Jays fifth starter, and he finished the year as a low-leverage reliever. He was not very good this season and finished with a -1.0 WAR, but there’s always hope for next year. He was brought in as a bit of an upside project, and while he may have been worse than anyone expected, we need to keep thinking of him that way. He actually finished the season with a better ERA than Jose Berrios, so you know, it could’ve been worse. You’ll get ’em next year champ.
Mitch White was acquired at the deadline to hopefully do what Kikuchi was unable to, but instead was even worse. His 7.74 ERA in 43 innings was certainly not ideal, but his FIP was much lower at 3.76 so there’s that. Not really that much to say about him, but there has to be nowhere to go but up. You’ll get ’em next year champ.
Hyun Jin Ryu had a very rough start to the season and right once he started pitching better he ended up hitting the Injured List and eventually having Tommy John surgery. If you tried to draw up the worst season imaginable, it would probably look something like this. Even if he misses the vast majority of 2023, it’s almost inconceivable that it could go worse. You’ll get ’em next year champ.