The Blue Jays have made many changes to their rotation this offseason. Only one question remains. Who will be the Blue Jays’ 5th starter?
Shun Yamaguchi was signed to a 2-year, $6 million deal. Yamaguchi pitched for the Yomiuri Giants and over the past few years has been one of the top starters in Japan. However, due to different seams and different baseball sizes, Yamaguchi has struggled this spring.
While he has shown improvement, Yamaguchi still has a ways to go. Yamaguchi relies heavily on his splitter. If he wants to win a spot in the rotation, he will have to focus on his splitter.
Acquired last season at the trade deadline, Anthony Kay pitched in Triple-A last season. Called up during September, Kay pitched 14 innings with an ERA of 5.79 and a WHIP of 1.429.
Kay has worked over the offseason to make it on the big league roster. Kay has been impressive so far this Spring Training, keeping hitters off-balance with his curveball.
Kay sits 94-95 on his fastball and 77-79 on his curve. His changeup has shown much improvement, adding more depth. However, Kay will need more time in Triple-A Buffalo to hone in his pitches.
Kay was just optioned down to Triple-A Buffalo on March 20. While no one knows when the season will start, Kay’s will be in Triple-A Buffalo.
A bright spot in a dull rotation, Trent Thornton impressed last year. Thornton broke the Blue Jays’ rookie strikeout record in his debut, with 8. He posted an ERA of 4.84 and a WHIP of 1.406 through 154 1/3 innings. Control was an issue for Thornton last year, posting a strikeout-walk ratio of just over 2:1.
Thornton is the frontrunner for the 5th spot in the rotation. Thornton’s fastball velocity sat 91-93 last year. His spin rate was in the 88th percentile of all pitchers at 2373 RPM.
Thornton has six pitches in his arsenal: a fastball, cutter, slider, split-finger, sinker and curveball.
Who’s The Starter?
In conclusion, Trent Thornton will likely be the 5th man in the rotation. Whenever the season does start this year, Trent Thornton will get the ball every 5th day.
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Blue Jays 5th Starter