Considered a weakness for the Toronto Blue Jays going into last season, the team’s bullpen ironically turned out to be its biggest strength.
With the starting rotation struggling to pitch deep into games and often leaving in the early innings, the Blue Jays’ relievers ended up taking on that extra load and kept the team in most games.
Despite pitching the second-highest number of innings in the American League, Toronto’s bullpen finished the season with a 3.37 ERA, fourth lowest in the AL.
Going into the 2014 season, the Blue Jays will be looking for more of the same from their bullpen as nearly all of the relievers from last year are set to return.
Both general manager Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons have suggested that the team might use an eight-man bullpen to start off the season.
This seems like a good plan considering that the team has quite a few pitchers who are out of options and could possibly be claimed by other teams if left off the bullpen roster.
Despite the extra spot, there should still be a couple of players such as Neil Wagner who will likely start the season in the minors despite being good enough to be in a major league bullpen. This is a testament to the depth the team has in this area and leaves the bullpen in good shape in case an injury occurs.
That being said, here is the projected Opening Day bullpen with an outlook on each reliever.
All player stats are from baseball-reference.com
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