This is the time of Spring Training where I just want the regular season to begin already! Focusing on the Blue Jays, in particular, fans have seen what they need to see.
Several members of the expected lineup are mashing, pitchers have been putting up zeroes, and prospects are showing out.
There are about two weeks to go before Opening Day. Here’s my best guess as to who will make the roster and what their role will be.
Manager Charlie Montoyo, who was recently given a contract extension through 2022, seems to be settling on a lineup. He’s been filling his lineup card with the team’s two biggest offseason acquisitions, George Springer and Marcus Semien, hitting 1-2.
They’ve been followed by Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernández. Next will be some combination of Rowdy Tellez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Randal Grichuk, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Cavan Biggio, and Danny Jansen/Alejandro Kirk will round out the order.
- George Springer (CF)
- Marcus Semien (2B)
- Bo Bichette (SS)
- Teoscar Hernández (RF)
- Rowdy Tellez (DH)
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B)
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (LF)
- Cavan Biggio (3B)
- Danny Jansen (C)
BENCH – Randal Grichuk, Alejandro Kirk, Santiago Espinal
Which Blue Jays hitter has put the most balls in play with an exit velo >=100 mph?— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) March 17, 2021
Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Rowdy Tellez tied with seven each: pic.twitter.com/bLsrxb6Iix
Not a lot of mystery at the top here. Ryu, who was been a Cy Young Award runner-up for two years running is the ace of the staff. It’s a bit unconventional to have lefties as the top two starters on the staff, but it’s a likely scenario.
Blue Jays ace Hyun Jin Ryu likes routine, something the 2020 season couldn’t provide.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 15, 2021
So far in 2021, it’s clear a return to routine has Ryu set up well for another strong season. (@ArdenZwelling)https://t.co/IV16DtPRD1
Roark was a major question mark entering camp but he’s responded well. With Nate Pearson likely starting the season on the IL, Ross Stripling takes the final starting spot, for now.
A few weeks ago I wrote down a list of pitchers I believed would be a part of the Jays ‘pen. Here is that list:
Veteran Reliever David Phelps is excited to be reunited with the coaches/trainers who had a big hand in his success in 2019:— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 14, 2021
“These are the people who helped me back – post Tommy John. I don’t forget that. It’s like coming back to a family.”#BlueJays pic.twitter.com/mmZe03ThLH
I still think that these players will be on the initial roster. That would leave room for 3 additional spots.
The fact that Kay, Hatch, and Zeuch have options remaining while Liriano and Mayza do not, could be a factor. However, since it’s me playing GM, I think the young trio has done enough to make the team.
Hatch left Wednesday’s game against the Yankees with elbow/forearm discomfort and his status is uncertain. If he’s unavailable to start the season, Trent Thornton could slide into a role as a long reliever.
Worrying scene in Dunedin. Thomas Hatch threw this 93.8 mph fastball to Aaron Judge, yelped, and then called out #BlueJays trainer Voon Chong. He was rubbing his elbow and forearm before leaving the game. pic.twitter.com/HGYgS06Dzh— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 17, 2021
Manoah struck out seven straight Yankee batters on Sunday! Woods-Richardson followed that up with 3 scoreless innings. Both are considered to be close to MLB-ready if they aren’t already. Expect to see one or both called up at some point this season.
Alek Manoah, Wicked Changeup and Slider.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 14, 2021
Filmed with a potato. pic.twitter.com/Pi9UBXolEM
Either way, the Blue Jays are gonna need all hands on deck in order to be successful. Going from 60 games to 162 means that teams will rely on their depth more than in normal years.
This organization has done a great job building a roster that is considered to be a dark horse World Series contender.