Blue Jays GM said in a post-trade deadline interview that the team has assembled a group of at least 20 starting Pitchers who they feel could take a spot in an MLB rotation.
Meeting with the Toronto media yesterday, CEO/President Mark Shapiro went a step further, and identified three waves of starters who we have seen or could see over the next couple of years:
Simeon Woods Richardson
While that adds up to 17, and you can argue about the merits of some of those names as SPs (SRF, Diaz, Perez, and Castillo have all been projected to become bullpen arms), it shows both the club’s commitment to develop starters, and it’s desire to keep those arms coming in waves to push the group ahead of it. It’s no coincidence that the club continued to stockpile arms at the deadline.
And if you’re looking for a couple more names to round out the 20, you could add recently acquired Anthony Kay, as well as Josh Wincksowski and Nick Allgeyer, currently pitching for Dunedin, and this year’s 2nd round pick RHP Kendall Williams. The deeper you go on this list, of course, the fringier the names become.
But all in all, it’s not a bad group. Pearson should be ready to take his place in the Blue Jays rotation sometime next year, and the same could be said for Murphy. Murray has been one of the quiet success stories in the system this year, moving to AA in only his second pro season, missing a high number of barrels along the way. The Blue Jays love his combination of high spin rate and arm slot, and more than one club official has told me that. Pardinho is one of the youngest players in all of full season ball at the moment, and has not looked out of place. Manoah, he of the size 17 cleats, is a beast, but of course his workload will be limited in his first pro season.
A player not to sleep on is Winckowski. He had two lights out starts after being promoted to Dunedin, but struggled in his last few outings, and landed on the IL this weekend. His velo is up to the mid-90s, and he induces a lot of weak contact when he’s on. This is his first full season, and his move to the IL likely indicates that he’s reached an innings limit, and is being shut down for a stretch.
The point of compiling such a depth of pitchers, from the Blue Jays point of view, is obvious. Not every name on that list will turn into a rotation regular. The process of roster construction involves going through a lot of parts to see which ones will stick, and which ones will eventually run out of options.