Blue Jays: Top factors for a division title in 2023

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages
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1. A deep bullpen

The first area of the team that can steer them in either the wrong or right direction is the performance of their bullpen. No doubt an important part of any competing team, the bullpen is the backbone of a club throughout a 162 game season.

In case you didn’t notice, this area was a problematic one for our Jays last season.

While Jordan Romano cemented himself as a great closer and guys like Adam Cimber and Yimi García showed they were reliable, there were often times where the lack of depth was exposed. Utilizing Taylor Saucedo and Trent Thornton in high leverage spots during periods of last season was frustrating.

The front office put work in to ensure this won't happen in 2023, as the acquisition of Erik Swanson and starting the season with Anthony Bass gives the Jays two more high leverage relievers this year that they didn’t have in years past. These guys, paired with the exceptional middle relief talents of Cimber and Mayza, makes for a deep bullpen.

Once camp breaks and the roster is finalized, there is certain to be notable omissions from the final picture.

Zach Pop, a guy who no doubt belongs in a major league pen, is likely ticketed for Buffalo for at least the first few weeks of the season. Nate Pearson, whose stuff has been up-and-down this spring, is without a clear spot off the rip as well. Non-roster invitees, though with little track record to their names, also have a slim chance of breaking camp with the team. Jay Jackson, Paul Fry, and Luke Bard among these guys.

Let's not forget about Chad Green, as the former Yankee stopper is set to make a mid-season return to the mound. He’ll step right into a high leverage role for a team that all of a sudden has a multitude of options to work late in games.

All of this depth has been discussed without even mentioning the prospects. Ricky Tiedemann and Yosver Zulueta, both of whom are expected to see the majors at some point this year, will no doubt factor into the club's mix of pitchers. Hagen Danner is another to keep an eye on. Having recently became a pitcher fulltime, his fastball , slider combo projects him to be a capable bullpen arm.

Also worth mentioning, when’s the last time you’ve seen a Blue Jays camp with this many guys working in the high 90s? Danner, Zulu, Tiedemann, Julian and Junior Fernández, and Pearson have all impressed with their velocity in the last week or so.

These names and exploration of depth culminate in the ultimate conclusion that the front office acknowledged their lack of bullpen depth. This is an area that should be a joy to watch in the coming months, and a big determinant of their quest for a division title.