Blue Jays 2024 Season Preview: Relief pitchers

How will the Jays bullpen be projected to fare in 2024?

Jun 12, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Toronto Blue Jays pitchers walk to the bullpen
Jun 12, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitchers walk to the bullpen / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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We have previously discussed the 2024 outlook for the Toronto Blue Jays catchers, infielders, outfielders and starting pitchers (links below). With the pitchers and catchers reporting soon to spring training, we will take this opportunity to complete our season preview series by taking a look at the relief pitchers. In particular, all of the organization’s bullpen arms currently occupying a spot of the 40-man roster.

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Brendon Little

One of the first moves that the Jays made this offseason was the under-the-radar acquisition of left-handed pitcher Brendon Little from the Chicago Cubs. As a former promising first round selection from the 2017 MLB Draft, the Jays believe that his potential was worth taking a flyer on as they added the 27-year-old to supplement their organizational pitching depth.

Little spent the entire 2023 season pitching primarily as a reliever with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate Iowa, where he posted a 3-3 record, 4.05 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, with 73 strikeouts in 73.1 innings of work in 50 appearances. Having just one game of MLB experience under his belt, Little will begin 2024 with the Buffalo Bisons to serve as insurance depth in the event the Jays’ bullpen encounter some injury woes during the course of the season.

Hagen Danner

After beginning his professional baseball career with the Jays as a catcher by trade, second-round pick Hagen Danner moved to the mound following the cancelled 2020 minor league season. Despite spending just the past three years in the role of a relief pitcher, he had displayed tremendous growth and development in his game, progressing through four minor league levels in just a short amount of time.

Last year, Danner put together a strong season in the minors in which he pitched to a combined 3.66 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, with a whopping 56 strikeouts in just 39.1 innings of work. His standout performance eventually earned him a promotion to the big leagues in August. However, an unfortunate oblique injury during his MLB debut with the Jays ultimately ended his 2023 season.

With all the makings and potential of being the Jays’ closer of the future, Danner will likely begin 2024 with the Bisons, but will be among the first few in line to get a call-up if he is able to re-display his dominant form from 2023 following his successful recovery from his injury.