The pitching staff is where the most noticeable changes will be. Trent Thornton had the most starts for the team last season (29). That was followed up by Aaron Sanchez, and Marcus Stroman. Sanchez and Stroman are no longer members of the Blue Jays, and by the time the 2019 season ended the rotation was a mix of Thornton, Jacob Waguespack, Clay Buchholz, Thomas Pannone, and Wilmer Font.
Ryu was brought in as a free agent, and was easily the biggest signing the Blue Jays made this off-season. He should start on opening day, and is coming off of an impressive 2019 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he put up a 14-5 record, 2.32 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 163 strikeouts over 182.2 IP.
Anderson was acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers and should provide some stability this season as a guy who can eat up some innings. Last season he started 27 games and went 8-4 with a 4.21 ERA over 139 IP.
Roark was signed as a free agent and will also be called upon to eat up some innings. He went 10-10 last season with a 4.35 ERA over 165.1 IP. He started in 31 games, 21 of which were with the Cincinnati Reds before being traded to the Oakland A’s at the trade deadline.
With three spots occupied by new Blue Jays, that leaves two more spots in the rotation to be filled. Matt Shoemaker was off to a fantastic start in 2019 before a torn ACL derailed his season. Assuming he stays healthy he should almost be guaranteed a rotation spot.
The fifth spot will probably be a competition between Trent Thornton and another new face, Shun Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi has spent his entire career in Japan in the Nippon Professional League and appears to have the advantage over Thornton, but don’t be surprised to see a few different pitchers shuffled in and out of the final rotation spot.
This will probably be Nate Pearson’s spot to lose once he is finally called up to the MLB roster.
Predicted opening day starting rotation: