Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)
With it being September now, the rosters have expanded and teams are calling up a number of players from their farm systems. The Blue Jays have certainly done that, and even though we won’t be seeing Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette, or Cavan Biggio this September, we will be getting a good look at some of the Jays’ other young players.
Guys like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid-Foley and Danny Jansen were already up with the big club, but now we’re seeing Rowdy Tellez, Jonathan Davis, and Reese McGuire as well. Both Tellez and Davis made their MLB debuts in Wednesday’s game, and it went disastrously for one of them, and perfect for the other. Davis started in centre field and went 0-3 with 3 strikeouts and 7 runners left on base. As for Tellez, he had a pinch-hit opportunity in the bottom of the 6th and ripped the first pitch he saw into the right-centre field gap. Tellez has now gone on to hit 5 more doubles in his short time up, and is making history as he goes.
Since the rosters are a lot more crowded with rookies now, it’s going to be difficult for the Blue Jays to find a lot of playing time for everyone. John Gibbons is going to have to figure out how to balance young players vs. proven veterans. Although, I’m not sure how many guys on the current roster can be classified as “proven veterans." Just looking at the catcher position, there are 4 guys who can play back there right now. I know Gibbons will probably want to mix everyone in there, but the way I see it, they should be giving the majority of the workload to Jansen and McGuire, while toning down the workload of Martin and Maile. The reason for this is that there really isn’t anything that the Jays can gain from playing Martin and Maile at catcher, but if they play these young prospects a lot, they can give them valuable experience that will be useful for them down the road. I love Russell Martin, but the guy isn’t even hitting .200, and there really isn’t anything else that he can give you this year.
As for the rest of the infield, the Jays are going to be cycling through that a lot as well for the next few weeks. In fact, I seriously doubt that the Blue Jays will put out the same lineup two days in a row at any point this month. Travis, Diaz, and Smoak have been there all along, but the Jays now also have Gurriel, Richard Urena, and Rowdy Tellez to use. At first base/DH, the Jays will rotate through with Smoak, Morales and Tellez. Everyday you have one of them playing first, one at DH, and one sitting, and then rotate that sequence every game. As for the middle infielders, the Jays will start with Travis at 2nd and Gurriel at short, and then they can plug in Urena and Diaz there as well. And then at 3rd base, Diaz will probably get most of the work there, with Russell Martin occasionally playing.
Onto the outfield, the Blue Jays have been rotating through 4 guys out there, but with Jonathan Davis and Dwight Smith Jr. coming up, as well as Anthony Alford and Dalton Pompey coming up soon, we could see some different looks out there. I mostly expect Davis, Smith Jr., and Pompey to be used as pinch runners, but they could also get a few starts in the outfield. Going into next season, the Jays have 4 pretty good options in the outfield, with Pillar, Grichuk, McKinney, and Hernandez, but I would like to see the Jays give Anthony Alford a shot to make it next year. He’s been with the big league club a few times now and I think they should finally give him an extended stay with the team. That way you can see more of him at the big league level, and get a real gauge for how good he is.
Finally, on the mound, the Blue Jays are going with a 6-man rotation right now. Sanchez, Borucki, Gaviglio, and Estrada remain with the team, but now Sean Reid-Foley and Thomas Pannone are in the mix as well. Pannone’s in there to replace Marcus Stroman, who continues to struggle with a blister on his pitching hand, and that could keep him out for the rest of this season. One guy that needs to pitch well this month is Aaron Sanchez. He’s finally made a few starts in a row, and he was pretty good in his last outing against the Rays as he went 6 innings, giving up 3 runs, and picking up 8 strikeouts. This obviously hasn’t been a successful year for Sanchez, but he can still finish on a positive note and go into 2019 on a positive note.
As for the bullpen, there’s too many guys down there to list all of them, but I’ll point out some of the interesting storylines. There are 3 main guys that I’m excited to watch this month out of the ‘pen. First off, there’s David Paulino, who was acquired as a part of the Roberto Osuna trade. His prospect value has gone down since a few years ago, but he can still be very effective, and I’m interested to see how he does. Second, Jose Fernandez has been very good since his call-up to the Jays. He’s gotten into 4 games and posted a 1.93 ERA and I’m excited to see how he does with more innings. Lastly, I want to see more of Justin Shafer, who was up earlier in the year, and if he does well again now, I think he could be in the fold more next year’s team.
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