Surmising The Blue Jays Playoff Roster
With the Toronto Blue Jays about to clinch the AL East division any game now, and possibly today in Baltimore, I’ve begun to think about who might make their playoff roster. The starting nine of Ben Revere, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, hopefully Troy Tulowitzki (he may actually return this series in Baltimore), Justin Smoak, Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar, and Ryan Goins should be joined by a starting rotation of David Price, R.A. Dickey, Marcus Stroman and then Marco Estrada (5th overall in the AL in ERA; 2.78 ERA in 2nd half which is tied with Verlander for 2nd best for any starter having pitched greater than 80 innings) when you need a Game 4 starter. By the way, Price is just ahead of Estrada for 1st in the AL with a 2.55 ERA in the second half. The bench should consist of Chris Colabello, Dioner Navarro and Cliff Pennington. I’m sure it’s a foregone conclusion that the top six in the bullpen will be closer Roberto Osuna followed by Aaron Sanchez, Mark Lowe, Brett Cecil, LaTroy Hawkins and Liam Hendriks. Aaron Loup should make the team as a second lefty only to face left-handed batters. Right there, that’s 23 players.
The final two spots could get a little tricky picking from a slew of options: Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison, Ryan Tepera, Dalton Pompey, Ezequiel Carrera, Munenori Kawasaki, Bo Schultz or Jeff Francis. Of course there’s a few that aren’t eligible to play due to the fact they were recalled or acquired post September 1st which includes Josh Thole, Matt Hague, Steve Delabar, Chad Jenkins and Darwin Barney. In my mind, this really isn’t all too difficult. Both Buehrle and Hutchison haven’t pitched as well as they could have down the stretch (5.75 and 12.96 ERAs this September, respectively), so right now they don’t make the roster. Neither can the Jays give critical outs to Tepera or any other non-impact reliever in important playoff games. Trust me, they’re go with their top six relievers most often probably pitching multiple innings to boot.
This rationale simply leaves Pompey and Carrera as pinch runners off the bench. If anyone questions the significance of pinch runners in the playoffs, they need only have a look at the Royals last year and what Dave Roberts did for the Red Sox way back in 2004. Besides, have you seen Pompey’s speed lately? He’s been 100 per cent successful in five steal attempts already and swiping each base with ease. He’s a weapon that can manufacture a run just by using his legs. That will be crucially important during tight playoff games.
Do you guys agree? Let me know in the comments. Go Jays!