Bowden Francis officially secures a spot in the Blue Jays' 2024 starting rotation

Jays manager John Schneider confirmed that will be the plan to begin the regular season

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics
Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

It sure has been a long time coming for 27-year-old pitcher Bowden Francis. But after endless years of hard work and determination to become a major league starting pitcher, it appears everything has finally paid off. On Thursday, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider announced that Francis will begin the 2024 year in the starting rotation.

After spending more than four years in the Brewers' minor league system to start his professional baseball career, Francis joined the Jays in 2021 along with Trevor Richards in the infamous trade that involved Rowdy Tellez going the other way. Francis appeared to be just a throw-in depth piece at the time, as the Jays were primarily looking for bullpen help and got it with the addition of Richards. However, not to be outdone, Francis has demonstrated his own immense growth and development in the Jays’ system during the past couple of years, going from an average pitcher with an ERA constantly near four to a dominant one that has dropped his ERA below three to go along with an added strikeout ability.

Last year, Francis put together the best season of his career when he posted a 2.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP with a whopping 42 strikeouts in just 27 innings pitched with the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons. When he was called upon by the Jays to help out their bullpen over the course of 2023, he actually did even better, compiling a stellar 1.73 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, giving up just 7 earned runs with 8 walks and 35 strikeouts in 36.1 innings of work over 20 appearances. It also made many wonder why he wasn’t kept in the majors for the entire season with that kind of performance.

Just to reassure the team brass that last season was no fluke, Francis has further cemented his hold on a roster spot this spring by pitching to an impressive 2-1 record with a 3.38 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, just 4 walks and 15 strikeouts in 18.2 innings of work.

By meeting and exceeding most expectations to date, he has surpassed rotation hopefuls Yariel Rodríguez and Alek Manoah for the time being to become part of the solid core led by Kevin Gausman and company heading into the regular season. Hopefully Francis will continue his rapid progression to become a surprising solid contributor in the Jays’ rotation and end up helping the team to much success in 2024.