Blue Jays Opening Day roster prediction 1.0

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With pitchers and catchers due to report next week, the roster crunch will soon be getting underway. With many decisions still to be made, and the possibilities of more players to be acquired, let’s try and predict what the opening day roster could look like come March 30th in St. Louis.

It’s worth noting the apparent, but not overly necessary needs for this roster. A successful offseason has seen additions to the rotation, the creation of a deep bullpen, the recreation of their outfield, and the acquiring of left-handed bats. Still, minor needs could include more left-handed options out of the bullpen, a right-handed hitting outfielder, another starting pitcher, and further utility options for the bench. 

Starting Rotation (5)

1. Alek Manoah

An All-Star, a Cy Young finalist, a home-grown talent, and the ace of this staff, we're all ready for another year of Alek Manoah. With several statistical outlets projecting a down year for him due to his method of inducing soft contact, watching Manoah go out and prove the doubters wrong will be something to watch in 2023.

2. Kevin Gausman

After a stellar first season in Toronto, Gausman comes into the season with the opposite of Manoah’s case in terms of projected stats. He had historically bad luck last year, as there was a discrepancy of over a whole run between his ERA and FIP. His 2.38 FIP led the AL last year.

3. Chris Bassitt

Looking to stay consistent, Bassitt’s joining of this rotation makes it one of the strongest in the entire American League. The first year of a three-year deal, I look forward to watching Bassitt shove this season, and hope he’ll be a calming force every fifth day.

4. José Berríos

The opposite of Bassitt last year, Berríos was anything but consistent. This is in stark contrast to the rest of his career, as his time with the Twins was extremely consistent. 2023 will be a big year for him, as he will go out to prove who he truly is after signing that large extension with the Jays after the 2021 season.

5. Yusei Kikuchi

After a very disappointing and confusing 2022 campaign, Kikuchi will have a lot to prove in the upcoming season. It's highly likely that he’s given the fifth rotation spot come Opening Day, but with other pitchers capable of filling this role both in the bullpen and minors, he'll have a short leash.