After looking at Baseball America’s projected Blue Jays 2022 lineup, it’s time to break down their projected Blue Jays 2022 rotation
The other day I provided my thoughts on the 2022 projected lineup released by Baseball America as they broke down the strengths and weaknesses of each American League East as well as a projected lineup and rotation with a closer.
See the article here (click).
While I felt that BA missed the mark on several players on their projected 2022 lineup, I think they did a pretty good job on projecting the 2022 rotation. Although, it is going to stop me from providing some counterpoints.
Take a look:
CL- Hector Perez
If They Aren’t Traded First
Many of the loyal readers of Jays From the Couch are already expressing a desire to trade Stroman and/or Sanchez this offseason. Our readers also understand that neither pitcher is coming off a particularly successful 2018 season, as a result, trading either pitcher this offseason would not provide the club with a healthy return.
While a trade this offseason isn’t very attractive it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It also doesn’t remove the possibility of a possible mid-season trade in 2019 or next offseason.
In order to have both pitchers in the 2022 rotation, they would have to be signed to an extension as both pitchers are set to test free agency in 2021. Storman settled in arbitration this past offseason for 6.5M which is never good for the club-player relationship, especially for a personality like StroShow. Stroman is expected to get a bump to 7.2M this offseason. My bet is that he will be the first to leave town.
Sanchez signed before his arbitration for 2.7M but he has two strikes against him in my opinion. First, health. Second, a greedy MF agent. Sanchez continues to struggle with blisters/fingers issues. With the new trend of having relievers start games or starters only go 1-3 innings, maybe the new manager will utilize Sanchez in that manner. Sanchez is expected to see a salary increase or 1.1M up to 3.8M for 2019.
Stroman will be 31-yr-old and Sanchez 30-yrs-old when the 2022 season rolls around. If both pitchers can put together strong 2019 and 2020 season then maybe one of them will be here in 2022 but not both.
Ryan Borucki is the only guy I could 100% see in the rotation come 2022. While I’ve been hesitant to label Ryan a bonafide starter, maybe even a little over critical of the polish on his secondary offerings, his 2018 success combined with team control make me a believer.
Ryan Borucki has two more years before hitting his arb years. He won’t hit free agency until after the 2023 season. Borucki will be 28-yr-olds in 2022 and will still be a very cost effective pitcher at that point.
Need to See More
Nate Pearson had a tough 2018. He had to deal with soreness in his lower back coming out of Spring Training and dealt with a fractured forearm when he was hit with a 100 mph comebacker in his very first game of the season. Pearson came back to finish the year and looked pretty good, all things considered. Currently, Pearson is pitching in the Arizona Fall League against many of the best prospects in baseball; unfortunately, he was roughed up in his 2nd start and holds a 12.27 ERA and a 1-2 record.
Big Nate has the tools. An eye pooping FB and average to above average secondary offerings. The problem with Big Nate is that many scouts see him more as a dominant force in the bullpen; however, I think Toronto’s Front Office is smart to try him out as a starter. If the rotation is full when he is ready for the BIGS, than he can be utilized as a shutdown reliever capable of throwing multiple innings. He could also be used as a starter/reliever, as I suggested with Sanchez.
Is it possible for Nate Pearson to be part of the 2022 rotation? Yes. After his disastrous, no fault of his own, 2018 season, I feel Pearson should return to Dunedin to start 2019. Like T.J. Zeuch did in 2018, the 22-yr-old pitcher can expect 4-6 starts with the D-Jays before moving up to New Hampshire where he will be expected to make 20 starts. This will set him up to compete for a spot in the rotation in 2020 coming out of Spring Training. Ultimately, I expect him to start 2020 in Buffalo with a mid-season call-up similar to Ryan Borucki’s 2018 season.
He will have an accelerated timeline if the Blue Jays move him into a multi-inning shutdown reliever. Otherwise, Pearson will be 25-yrs-old at the start of the 2022 season and should have a full season (2021) under his belt.
It’ll Be Close
The 17-yr-old phenom out of Lucelia, Brazil was very impressive in his first professional season (4-3, 2.88 ERA with 64 K in 50.0IP). He was given an aggressive assignment for his age, playing the entire season with the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League. Most 17-yr-olds are expected to start in the Dominican Summer with a possible move to the Gulf Coast League during the same season.
Pardinho will be 18-yrs-old when the 2019 season starts. With a successful 2018 season under his belt, I won’t be surprised to see Pardinho to by-pass Vancouver, heading straight to full season A-Ball with the Lugnuts. But I think the Blue Jays would be wise to pump the breaks at this point. Let him spend the entire year in Lansing with a small taste of Dunedin to close out the year. Let him finish the year with whichever club is playoff bound so he can get another taste of playoff baseball (He was rocked in his one playoff start in 2018). Have him start 2020 in Lansing with an early promotion to Dunedin, ala Yennsy Diaz. This will put him in Double-A New Hampshire as a 20-yr-old to start the 2021 season. At this point, barring any setbacks in his development, anything is possible.
Eric Pardinho has the potential to be a unique talent. A talent with the potential to reach Major Leagues before his year 21-season…..it’ll be close.
Pie in the sky time…..If Pardinho is a possibility then why not Adam Kloffenstein. Adam received a healthy 2.45M bonus to sign with Toronto. Just 18-yrs-old, Kloffenstein has been praised for his heavy sinker, mid-90’s FB, and well-developed curve/cutter.
What’s Wrong With…..
I was surprised not see Sean Reid-Foley, T.J. Zeuch, Patrick Murphy, and Yennsy Diaz. These pitchers will be 26, 27, 26, and 24 when the Blue Jays open the 2022 season. SRF is expected to challenge for a spot in the rotation in 2019. T.J. will start in Buffalo and could make his MLB debut in ’19. Murphy and Diaz will start ’19 in AA (dependant on 40-man protection).
David Paulino and Hector Perez are also possible candidates to join the rotation; however, it’s possible both end up in late-inning roles which is why we see Perez as BA’s choice to close out games. Ken Giles will hit FA in 2021.
I didn’t touch on the closer role too much. It is a highly volatile role with endless possibilities. It’s possible Giles is resigned or Ryan Tepera steps in (with an extension in hand). I like Jackson McClelland and Travis Bergen for the role, as well as, Pearson and Diaz. My darkhorse would be Jordan Romano.
All-in-all, I think Baseball America did a good job. I hope you enjoyed this exercise, although a little long winded.
Featured Photo Credit: R.Mueller
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.