Overall Pitching Performance
Starting Rotation: B+
Despite the immense struggles of Manoah for much of the 2023 season, the remaining four key cogs in Gausman, Bassitt, Berríos and Kikuchi has held the fort nicely, keeping the Jays in strong contention for the playoffs. They have even got the job done during a time when the Jays ran with just a four-man rotation along with a bullpen day every time the fifth spot in the rotation came up. Not only that, they have stayed relatively healthy all year, maintaining their strength and effectiveness along the way. The key in the second half will be to closely monitor how Manoah does in his starts coming out of the All-Star break, which will ultimately determine whether the Jays need to look for internal (Hyun Jin Ryu) or external (by trade) help by the month’s end.
The bullpen may have had some shaky outings here and there near the start of the season, but after some juggling of the roster in the recent months, it actually has become one of their key strengths for 2023. With Anthony Bass no longer with the team, and both Cimber and Pop on the IL and the minors respectively, the bulk of the weakest links in the bullpen have been removed, leaving the likes of Romano, Richards, García, Pearson, Mayza, Swanson as a solid shutdown core to build upon as they head into the stretch run. Whether the team decides to focus on internal options (Francis, Chad Green, etc.) or external options (via trade) to upgrade the bullpen will strictly depend on how they perform in the coming weeks.
With the Jays’ offence struggling at times to score runs throughout the 2023 season, they should be more than content that their defence and their pitching have come through for them in keeping them in the thick of things. They have been among the league leaders in one-run games with a 16-9 record, showing the ability of the Jays’ bullpen in shutting down their opponent with the game on the line. Not only that, they rank 9th in ERA, 1st in saves conversion percentage, 4th in strikeouts, 5th in WHIP, and 9th in opponents batting average in the entire MLB. So they definitely deserve a lot more credit than they have been getting in helping the Jays to their successful winning record of 50-41 so far in 2023. Now, if the offence can just somehow pick it up and catch up to their pitching and defence in the second half, the Jays will be off to the races.