Blue Jays vs. Red Sox: Who has the advantage in a position-by-position breakdown?

Andy Moore
Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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Starting Rotation

The Red Sox rotation is solid, especially after the recent free agent addition of Corey Kluber. The former New York Yankee and Tampa Bay Ray is a reliable arm, who walked only 3.8% of batters through 164 innings last season. He joins the ever dangerous Chris Sale, Garret Whitlock, Nick Pavetta and James Paxton in the FanGraphs projected starting five.

Since 2019 Sale has succumbed to numerous injuries, hampering his ability to deliver as Boston’s ace. However, with a career K% of 30.6 and an 11.07 K/9 he is still very much the main guy on their roster. Garret Whitlock, on the other hand, was moved to the Red Sox bullpen after a poor start to the 2022 season. He bounced back and finished the season with a 2.75 ERA as a reliever, which will seemingly earn him another shot at a starting gig.

However, the Jays definitely have the upper hand with a rotation led by Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman. The free agency addition of Chris Bassit certainly helps things, and Ross Atkins will be desperate to see Jose Berrios bounce back after he signed a considerable contract extension prior to the 2022 season.

The big question for the Jays is the fifth starter which, at the time of writing, seems like it’ll fall to either Mitch White or Yusei Kikuchi. Neither enjoyed the most positive of campaigns last season, and Kikuchi in particular looked completely devoid of confidence at times. It’ll be interesting to see if the return of Hyun Jin Ryu sees Toronto move to a six man rotation.

Advantage: Blue Jays

Relievers

The Jays’ bullpen has been a weakness over the last couple of years, leading them to rely heavily on Jordan Romano. Whilst Romano has excelled, the addition of Erik Swanson will hopefully provide him with the support that Toronto fans have been crying out for. With a K% of 34 and a .091 WHIP in 2022, Swanson will elevate the quality available to John Schneider in high leverage situations.

With the Jays making one addition to their bullpen so far, the Red Sox have taken more drastic measures - adding Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and Joely Rodríguez. As the team ranked 26th in the MLB in bullpen ERA in 2022, this feels like a necessary move for the Sox. 

Jansen in particular is a huge addition, and he’ll be looking to add another 40+ save season to his résumé. The former Dodger throws a nasty cutter, which helped him to a 32.7% K rate in 2022. Red Sox fans will be hoping their team improves enough as a whole to give him the opportunity to rack up those saves this season.

Advantage: Red Sox

Next. An interview with former Blue Jays INF Danny Valencia. dark

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