Toronto Blue Jays Season Preview: Looking at the starting rotation

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04: Marcus Stroman
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04: Marcus Stroman /
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Jaime Garcia

The Blue Jays had options to consider for the fifth rotation spot, but something about Garcia drew him to them. He was an exciting prospect when he broke out as a rookie in 2011, but has had his share of injuries which required surgeries.

Sportsnet‘s Shi Davidi reported that the 31-year-old has a strong set of secondary pitches and tried to increase the usage of his four-seam fastball.

"“For me, he X’s at the bottom of the zone, meaning he can go into righties and away from righties,” said bench coach DeMarlo Hale. “So he’s got that X at the bottom of the zone, and I think it’s difficult to pick up his ball. He hooks a little bit (at the beginning of his windup) and it’s parallel with his body, so the next time you see it is when he’s releasing it."

Whatever allows Garcia to be effective especially against right-handers is going to be the key to success against the lethal AL East lineups. Davidi writes that Garcia has tried to change where the ball leaves, so that it is harder to pick up.

Hopefully pitching to Martin will be a difference maker for him. He has not shown any signs of struggling so far, with a 2.63 ERA over 13.2 innings and throwing 12 strikeouts.

It will be interesting to see if that changes when he goes up against tougher lineups but hopefully, he can maintain his career ERA of 3.69 ERA. Last season was a struggle for him, moving on to three different teams and posting a combined 5-10 record, 4.41 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 157 innings.

Can he be effective in a smaller role with the Blue Jays? The team certainly hopes so and while he is not on the same level as a Sanchez, Stroman or Happ, he should be able to provide them with some quality starts.

TSN‘s Scott Cullen projects that Garcia will pitch 154 innings, earning eight wins, 127 strikeouts and a 3.98 ERA over 154 innings.

Tip of the Tower projection: 158 IP, 7 wins, 3.88 ERA, 112 strikeouts.