7 Blue Jays players taking advantage of their spring training opportunities the most 

Which Jays players have made quite the impression so far this spring?

Jun 4, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; Toronto Blue Jays George Springer, Daulton Varsho, Nathan Lukes
Jun 4, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; Toronto Blue Jays George Springer, Daulton Varsho, Nathan Lukes / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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P Paolo Espino

In what seemed to be just an unimportant depth signing at the time, the Jays picked up Paolo Espino on a minor league deal a few months back. Expectations for Espino weren’t particularly high, as he has spent the majority of his career in the minor leagues. In addition, when he did get his chance in the majors, he compiled a 5-14 record with an ERA over 5.00 and a WHIP of 1.35 over five seasons.  

However, as a non-roster invitee, Espino is certainly making the most of his chances. In 4 games to date, he has given up only 5 hits and 2 earned runs over 8 innings while walking a pair and striking out 12 for a 2.25 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. He likely won’t be starting the season with the Jays when the regular season rolls around, but with his impressive showing this spring, he has demonstrated that he could be a reliable pitching option that the Jays can turn to going forward.

P Connor Cooke

For someone that somehow flew under the radar to end up being drafted in the 10th round in the 2021 MLB Draft by the Jays, Connor Cooke has certainly turned some eyes in rapid growth and development in his game. In just a span of two seasons, he has moved through four levels from A-ball all the way up to Triple-A. With a plus fastball in the high-90s and a superb strikeout rate of 13.8 batters per nine innings throughout his minor league career, he is developing into a weapon that the Jays can surely use in the near future.

As a non-roster invitee to training camp, Cooke has continued to put his flamethrowing dominance on full display this spring as he has put together a 1.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .188 OBA, with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts in 5 innings pitched thus far against some major league hitters. At this rate, his rapid progression can no longer be overlooked by the organization as they should conscientiously prepare for his eventual arrival in the majors. And in the case for Cooke, that may end up coming sooner than expected.