Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)
After a couple of moves this off-season, the Blue Jays now have an embarrassment of riches at the outfield position. They picked up both Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk, thereby giving them seven players who we could see in the Jays' outfield this season. To go along with Granderson and Grichuk, the Blue Jays also have Steve Pearce, Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera, Anthony Alford, and Teoscar Hernandez at their disposal. There’s only 25 spots on the roster, so that means a few of the guys I mentioned won’t be on the Opening Day roster. In this article, I’m going to tell you who I think should be in the Blue Jays' outfield to start the season.
American League rosters are usually composed of the following things: 5 starting pitchers, 7 relief pitchers, 9 players in the starting lineup (including a designated hitter), and 4 bench players. Considering the Jays expect both Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte to be on their roster to start the season as utility infielders, that leaves two spots on the bench; one for a backup catcher, which will probably be Luke Maile (unless the team signs some else), and one for an outfielder. That leaves the team with 4 outfielders in total, and I think that the four best options for the team right now are Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson, Kevin Pillar, and Randal Grichuk. Grichuk should be the starting right fielder, with Pillar to his left in centre field. That leaves Pearce and Granderson to platoon with one-another in left field. Pearce should get the majority of the starts against left-handed pitchers, and Granderson should be out there against righties. This keeps Pillar’s great defense out there, while giving Grichuk a chance to prove himself as the starting right fielder, after he had an up-and-down year last season with St.Louis. It also gives manager John Gibbons flexibility with who he can play in left field. He can start the game with one of Pearce or Granderson and then know that the one who doesn’t start will be ready if he needs them to pinch-hit later in the game.
If the Blue Jays do go with these four players in the outfield, it leaves two talented young players in Anthony Alford and Teoscar Hernandez in the Minor Leagues. Now, it’s still pretty likely that they will get some time with the Major League team this year, because an injury or two is almost guaranteed to happen. But, for now, it’s important for these guys to continue to develop their swings in the minors, and be ready when their name is called. They’re both tremendous players, and they’re going to be big parts of the team going forward.
With Spring Training only days away, it’s normal for fans to start thinking about the rosters. There are many different ways the Blue Jays could go here, but I think that the 4 outfielders I picked give them the best chance to succeed. They’ll have a mix of youth and veterans out there, and I think that that if they all do their part, the Blue Jays can do well this season.
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