Blue Jays Starting Rotation Candidates

Tuesday, March 10, 2009  |  by 

We’re almost 2 weeks into spring training, and the battle continues for the 4th and 5th spots on the Blue Jays starting rotation. Wondering how all the arms are stacking up? Take a look at the stats below.

Pitcher IP ERA BB SO
Matt Clement * 9.0 3.38 5 4
Brad Mills * 8.2 3.29 2 5
Brett Cecil 8.0 4.50 2 10
Ricky Romero 6.0 7.50 9 9
Scott Richmond * 4.0 4.50 1 5
Casey Janssen * 3.0 0.00 0 3
* Statistics include exhibition games vs. Team Canada and Team USA

Clearly, Matt Clement is one of the early favourites to win a spot. In 2 starts and 1 relief appearance, Clement has put together a respectable 3.38 ERA in 9 innings pitched. Brad Mills is not too far behind, with a 3.29 ERA in 8.2 innings pitched so far this season. The Blue Jays young guns Cecil and Romero have the most SO’s so far with 10 and 9 respectively, but with higher ERA’s.

I’m thinking that the Blue Jays are now leaning towards leaving Casey Janssen in the bullpen this year, as he has yet to start a spring training game. In 2 relief appearances, Janssen has been flawless with a perfect ERA to date.

I still think it’s too early to say whether or not Scott Richmond will make the squad. His 2 appearances and 4 innings pitched are too small a sample size to judge if he has what it takes to hold down a starting rotation spot. Maybe if he had a chance to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, we could’ve seen what Richmond is capable of. But I honestly think if Scott Richmond is given the chance, he can perform well.

So if I had to pick the 4th and 5th starting pitchers at this point in spring training, I would say that Matt Clement and Brett Cecil would make the Opening Day roster. But we still have almost 4 weeks of preseason action, and a lot can happen between now and then. Who knows, maybe Brad Mills could sneak his way onto the bullpen or Brett Cecil could begin his journey become the next David Price. That's why they say anything can happen in baseball!


  1. I'm impressed at Matt Clement this spring...he's shown that he could potentially be the no. 4 guy.

    I think Scott Richmond may have been a little fucked over by Team Canada and it may hurt his chances to crack the Jays roster if he has 1 or 2 bad starts

    Right now I would say Casey Janssen and Clement starting, but if Janssen struggles after throwing more innings in a ball game, let's put the task on either Cecil or Mills, more preferrably Mills, as he is more poised to take the role on.

    If not, well, Purcey and Litsch and the others may struggle, and we may have to see these other guys who are starting at AAA to begin the season to fill a gaping hole left behind by an ineffective starter.

  2. Good point about Purcey and Litsch, Dan. If they both suck in Spring Training, they could be left down and the minors and we'd have to bring up another arm for Opening Day.

    At first, I thought Clement might have been a little too rusty, but he's been very impressive so far.

    Richmond did get screwed a bit. If he had a good outing at the WBC, that would've definitely given him an advantage over the other guys. But unfortunately he's back at square one.

    Mills is kicking ass so far, I hope he makes the squad. We need at least one of the kids to take the trip north.

  3. Somehow I think Litsch's 3.64 career ERA in the AL East will buy him a rotation slot no matter how his spring training goes.

  4. It would have to take a bigtime crash or injury for Litsch or Purcey to get cut.

    It looks like Clement, barring any big setbacks, will be there. Cecil is also looking like a strong frontrunner, although Janssen and Richmond could take that spot.

    Overall, we are in very good shape, with many quality arms to choose from. If Clement gets hurt/lit up, can him and call up Cecil. If Janssen can't start, call up Richmond (ETC.)

    It should be interesting to see this rotation come July, as Mills and Cecil both project to be at the show.

    I will say this, Clement has a very high upside, with his experience as a legit #2-3 at one point. He could be really good. Cecil and Mills are also capable of coming through bigtime. and I think Purcey will surprise the league.

    I think that the Jays need to start the season off with a bang, a big April/May, and we will be there in September. So I would like to see Cecil or Mills make the team, before the other teams figure them out at all.

    Some (optimistic)projections:

    Clement: 190 IP, 16-10, 3.55 ERA
    Cecil: 150 IP, 12-8, 3.65 ERA
    Mills: 150 IP, 10-6, 3.70 ERA
    Purcey: 175 IP, 14-11, 4.10 ERA
    Doc: 205 IP, 21-6, 2.88 ERA


  5. Torgen, I can imagine that some teams would be willing to pay top dollar for Litsch's 3.64 ERA.

    Andy, I like your projections for the pitchers this season. For some reason, I can see Mills making it through to the bullpen. Not sure if Cecil will make the squad or not. I have no idea what the hell is going to happen with Janssen and Richmond - hopefully they both crack the roster too.


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