The Toronto Blue Jays pitchers and catchers officially report to Dunedin, FL tomorrow, February 23rd for their first workout. By the reports I have heard most pitchers have arrived and underwent their physicals today ahead of tomorrows workout. The position players will start to roll in the next few days ahead of their official workout later this week. Before we know it spring games will be underway and finally we will have some (fake) real baseball. This usually keeps me going for a few weeks until I am tired of spring training and ready for real baseball to start. None the less there is nothing better than knowing real baseball is just around the corner.
The Blue Jays have a few spring battles to keep an eye on with 2B, CF, 5th Starter and bullpen positions to sort out. Instead of going through those too deeply I want to look at what the 25 man roster might look like if tomorrow was opening day. Obviously going to have to make a few guesses but I will try to back those up the best I can with my predictions, feelings or bias.
|25 Man Roster|
Josh Thole – C
With Navarro on the team as the backup catcher there is no room for Dickey’s personal catcher. Of course it is possible Navarro gets shipped when another teams catcher goes down to injury this spring or during the season. For now it looks like Thole starts the season in the Minors as the first catcher to be called up.
Steve Delabar – RP
The 2013 All-Star had a rough 2014 as he struggled with control issues, spent time on the DL and was sent home after the AAA season wrapped up. Delabar has been a solid option in the past and if he can show improved control he should be one of the first RP’s called up.
Kyle Drabek – RP
If Drabek has a good spring there is a good chance he wins one of the spots in the bullpen. Since he is out of options he would have to be placed on waivers. So his lack of options might find him a spot if he performs. However I chose to keep him off of my roster as there are better options at this point. Though I would consider keeping him around to prove himself before exposing him to waivers.
Devon Travis – 2B
The newly acquired prospect could win the 2B job out of spring but the odds are against it. Travis will likely spend 2015 in AAA but could see time in the MLB as a mid or late season callup. With several other rookies on the roster the Blue Jays will probably give Travis more time before giving him a shot at holding down the 2B job.
Dalton Pompey – CF
When Pompey got a late season callup in 2014 most would not have expected him to be the starting CF in 2015. The 22-year-old Canadian prodigy has seemly won the favour of the front office and all indications point to Pompey starting in CF. This move poses some risk as Pompey has not had much time above AA but the Blue Jays believe in his ability and seem ready to give him a chance.
Ryan Goins – IF
Goins is admittedly a favorite of mine for his stellar glove work despite his weak bat. There is a good chance he finds his way onto the roster as a late game defensive replacement or spot starter at SS/2B. With Izturis being somewhat of a question mark Goins could again split time with Tolleson as a platoon though the three could all see time on the field with some version of a platoon at 2B.
Daniel Norris – SP
My biggest gamble goes with Norris. While it probably is unlikely he starts the season in the rotation I think it makes the most sense. This allows Sanchez & Estrada to help balance what would be a weak bullpen. The 21-year-old van dwelling hipster might not be quite ready for the bigs and most likely starts the season in AAA. Keep an eye on the top ranked prospect as he should see time in the rotation in 2015.
At least in my mind this gives the Blue Jays the most rounded 25 to start the season. Of course as spring goes on we will find out if everyone is healthy, in the “best shape of their life” and ready to go. A lot can change during spring with injuries, additions and subtractions so ultimately the roster will have a few variables. There are a few other players out of options that the Blue Jays might want to give a longer look, which may ultimately determine what the 25 man looks like on opening day.
Until then, have a happy spring!