3 Blue Jays players who will maintain their hot starts and 1 who won't

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Jordan Romano

Will he maintain his start? Yes

Aside from the crazy finale of the road trip against the Angels, Jordan Romano has done his job closing out games in the early going. He has looked good coming out of the bullpen (and not just his new theatrical entrance), racking up a league-leading seven saves, with a pair of wins and 12 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings of work.

Now in his third season as the team's closer, the Markham native has started the year with a 30.8% strikeout rate, up from 28.3% in 2022. His swinging strike rate is also up, from 14.4% to an elite 21.7%, while his called and swinging strike rate is up to 38.5% from 30.1%.

Romano's slider looks sharp, with above-average 105 Stuff+ and 102 Location+ ratings, leading to a 112 Pitching+ rating. He's generating a 47.4% whiff rate with the pitch.

Sitting at 97 mph, his four-seam fastball has an outstanding 151 Stuff+ score, despite having a below-average 89 Location+ score. The stuff on his fastball will most likely come down (last year he had a 136 Stuff+), but that should help him to locate the pitch better like he was able to in 2022 when he had a 99 Location+ rating.

His ability to limit hard contact this year has been even more impressive than the swings and misses. His average exit velocity of 78.5 mph leads all qualified relievers, and of the 23 batted balls, only three have been hit hard (over 95 mph). With zero barrels given up and a launch angle of 4.5 degrees, Romano's keeping the ball in the yard and taking advantage of the improved defense behind him.

Despite a 2.89 ERA, courtesy of the Angels, his xERA currently sits at 1.84. His .304 BABIP indicates that he could be due for a slight positive regression, so he could even improve on his solid start to the year.

Romano doesn't get the respect he deserves and should be mentioned in the top closer discussion every year. His 66 saves rank him fifth since the beginning of the 2021 season, and among the top 30 saves leaders over that time, he ranks second with a 2.18 ERA.

Fans should continue to expect more of the same elite closing for the remainder of the season.