As MLB Network continues to release their position-by-position top 10 rankings, we've seen them put some respect on the names of multiple Blue Jays players.
At first base, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. earned a seventh-place finish. Brandon Belt, one of the most productive player on the 2023 Jays, ranked right behind him in eighth. Elsewhere around the roster, George Springer ranked seventh for right fielders and Bo Bichette sixth at the shortstop position. Finally, Alejandro Kirk was the seventh-ranked catcher.
While there have been a few Jays representatives on these lists, there have also been some seriously painful snubs. First off, Kevin Gausman was left off of the starting pitching rankings. No matter which way you slice it, he was one of the very best starters in the game last season.
Now, we move on to relief pitchers. Relievers can be so finicky from year-to-year, as one "down" season drops them out of the running for lists just like this. However, there's no excuse for Jordan Romano not making the cut from MLB Network.
Romano, 30, was once again a top-tier closer last year. Sure, he had his fair share of stressful outings, but his season culminated in 59 appearances and a 2.90 ERA. Along the way, he made his second All-Star Game and posted an impressive 147 ERA+. There is no way he shouldn't be considered one of the top-10 relievers in the game.
While saves are not the only way to determine a closer's success, Romano finished second in the AL last year with 36 of them. He excelled at both striking batters out and leaving any baserunners he allowed to reach stuck where they are. He ranked 11th amongst qualifying AL relievers in LOB% with 82.3 percent.
Some of this has to lean on reputation and track record, too. He may not have led the league in any major categories last year, but Romano has rather quietly been a dominant reliever for years now. He owns a career 2.67 ERA over 216 appearances and has been money as the Jays' closer since they handed him the role in 2021. He consistently strikes out over 10 (in 2023, 11) batters per nine innings and has a total of 72 saves combined over the past two seasons.
More and more it feels like national media outlets prefer to keep the Blue Jays and their players as afterthoughts. The Gausman disrespect was one thing, but leaving Romano off of the relievers list is starting a pattern surrounding Blue Jays pitchers.