3 eventual contributors who won't make the Blue Jays Opening Day roster
The Toronto Blue Jays are beginning to assemble one of the deepest teams in baseball. With the team being so deep this year, there will be some very good players who will not make the Opening Day roster. Let’s take a look at three players who probably won’t make the Opening Day roster, but will contribute to the team down the stretch later on in the season.
No. 1: LHP Ricky Tiedemann
A pretty obvious choice for most is Ricky Tiedemann. In his first game in Spring Training, he showed exactly what a team’s number one prospect should look like. Tiedemann threw one shutout inning with two strikeouts and his fastball hit 99mph.
The odds of him making the Opening Day roster seem to be pretty low because of the fact that he has not played a game in Triple-A and the Blue Jays will want to give Yusei Kikuchi a fair chance to lock down the fifth starter position.
A call up later on in the season is very possible if Tiedemann puts on a great performance in Triple A. A struggling Kikuchi will also help his case. His high fastball velocity could also be some help in the bullpen come October since the Blue Jays bullpen has struggled to find pitchers with a high fastball velocity. Whether he makes the roster this year or not, Tiedemann has a bright future and will surely make the Blue Jays roster next season.
No. 2: INF/OF Addison Barger
Addison Barger is another one of the Blue Jays top prospects who has had a great showing during Spring Training.
The 23-year-old can play basically any position in the infield and should be specifically looked at to contribute at second base. He has hit has one home run and has two runs batted in as well as a .286 batting average in six games. The big leg kick from the young left-handed hitter helps generate a lot of power and could be a big help to the Jays lineup come later on in the season.
Barger’s chances of being called up might rely on the production of the three players already fighting for the second base position which are Whit Merrifield, Santiago Espinal, and Cavan Biggio. Espinal and Biggio seem to be players who could likely be traded come the deadline which would certainly lead to a Barger promotion. He also brings another left-handed bat that will help further balance the Jays lineup. Just like Tiedemann, if Barger continues his great showing in Triple A his call up will come sooner rather than later.
No. 3: RHP Julian Fernández
Unlike Tiedemann and Barger, Julian Fernández is not a top young prospect from the Jays system. Fernandez is 27-years-old and was signed to a minor league deal by the Blue Jays in the offseason.
Since playing for the Jays, he has done nothing but light up the radar gun. His fastball velocity is one of the best that the Blue Jays have seen so far in Spring Training with an average of 99mph and last year with the Colorado Rockies he was clocked at 103mph.
Fernández has pitched three innings so far in Spring Training, striking out six batters and only giving up one hit. Due to the Jays having so many veteran bullpen arms they will probably want to stick it out with them at the beginning of the season. A player like Trevor Richards should be worried about a pitcher like Fernández stealing his spot. If Richards doesn’t perform at any point in the season, Fernández should be one of the first pitchers the Blue Jays look to call up. With a lightning quick fastball and ever-evolving command, a spot on the Jays roster come October might be inevitable for him.