2018 Toronto Blue Jays Depth Chart
The Blue Jays have steadily dismembered their core of talent in hopes for a future surge. The organization chose to remove the power bats in favor of guys who are reliable in terms of health and longevity. The flashy play of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and Troy Tulowitzki is a thing of the past. Removing most of the players from the playoff team just a few seasons back was the start of the house clearing and the change of pace in Toronto. Scoping their reach to the outer farm systems, the organization has had a steady influx of talent build throughout these tiers. Some players, like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Billy McKinney, and Reese McGuire all gained their shot at the big leagues this season. The wings are strong with players awaiting their chance to call the big league team their new home, making for an exciting off-season of call-ups and transitions ahead.
|Catcher||Russell Martin||Danny Jonsen||Luke Maile|
|1st Base||Justin Smoak||Rowdy Tellez|
|2nd Base||Devon Travis||Lourdes Gurriel|
|3rd Base||Yangervis Solarte|
|Left Field||Teoscar Hernandez||Dwight Smith Jr.|
|Center Field||Kevin Pillar|
|Right Field||Randal Grichuk||Billy McKinney||Jonathan Davis|
|Designated Hitter||Kendrys Morales|
When speaking to the team’s pitching staff, marginally good sometimes rings the bell for a label. The starting rotation is a collection of players that have excellent stuff and can locate their pitches effectively. Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez continue to lead the team in starts. Estrada is an off-speed specialist who can reach his fastball to the high 80s. His area of excel comes from his accuracy and locating the corners. The same can be said for Sanchez, a command expert in his own right. Sanchez needs to refine his strike to ball ratio as he struggles painting the corners and hitting his zones later in at-bats. Trading J.A. Happ removed some consistency from this collection of starters, but this has allowed the team to experiment with middle relief guys and taut younger arms to manage their distance per start. This rotation will undergo some heavy changes in the off-season as they look for that speed guy. Most of their pitchers excel in the off-speed game, calling for that ace to takeover the strikeout component of excellence.
When speaking to the infielders, the team is heavy in the role department. Guys who will trend near the league average for batting and run production, but nothing to standout in terms of stat collection. Lourdes Gurriel found his groove early on with the organization, becoming one of the first Blue Jays to homer in his first, consecutive starts. His bat has cooled slightly, but this is due to management skill that he needs to develop with time. Justin Smoak is the power producer at first base. He continues to fill the starter role while the team makes major changes to all tiers of fielding play. Most of these players are rentals and positional fills that are holding spots for young players. Guys like Yangervis Solarte, Aledmys Diaz, and Kendrys Morales have proven their worth, but their everyday roles will be scaled back come 2019.
The outfield is teamed with guys who are well-suited in the defensive department. Kevin Pillar has shown that he can make highlight reel catches again and again. The same can be shown for Randall Grichuk when you look at the entirety of his career. These are two mentors Billy McKinney can lean heavily on. Both are good for at least 20 home runs and 60 RBIs per season, a strive McKinney can set the bar for. This tier of the field is heavily dominated at the defensive, but truly lacks the consistency needed for batting order slotting. Grichuk and Pillar have shared similar struggles at the plate, shedding little praise on the long ball counts of either player. Both are sub-.250 hitters, which leaves the team with few players that are batting within a manageable range.
The starting lineup lacks consistency due to the tools that this collection of player talents possesses. All eyes are on the future with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. destroying the competition at the Triple-A level. Bo Bichette is also climbing through the ranks quickly. The Blue Jays have positioned themselves nicely when it comes to dealing their upper-tier veterans. Their collections spread through the farm system often take from some of the league’s best prospects, keeping hopes high for the future in Toronto.