Kathy Willens/Associated Press
Drew Hutchison, RHP
Spring training stats: 9.2 IP, 2.79 ERA, 16 SO, 1 BB.
Hutchison has emerged as a favorite contender for a spot on the Opening Day starting rotation, after looking dominant in spring training.
Now almost two years removed from Tommy John surgery, the right-hander has shown that his stuff is still there. He’s hit 95 mph with his fastball on several occasions and his off-speed pitches have been sharp.
The 23-year-old biggest strength, though, is his command. He throws strikes consistently and doesn’t give up a lot of walks.
Despite a lack of experience pitching in the major leagues and having minor league options left, Hutchison’s performance has likely tied Blue Jays general manger Alex Anthopoulos’ hands.
His spot in the rotation should be all but secure at this point.
Ricky Romero, LHP
Spring training stats: 9.2 IP, 3.72 ERA, 6 SO, 10 BB.
Romero’s turnaround has been one of the most pleasant surprises this spring training.
The left-hander’s fall from grace these past two seasons has been well documented and no one expected Romero to come into spring training this year and show that he can still get batters out.
But that is exactly what the former ace has done so far in Grapefruit League games. While his command has looked shaky at times, as evidenced by his 10 walks, his stuff has been good and his fastball has topped out at 94 mph.
While Romero has shown flashes of his former self, the chances of him making the team out of spring training are remote. He will likely be asked to go down to Triple-A Buffalo and prove that he can consistently find the strike zone.
The fact that the 29-year-old was removed from the 40-man roster last October and outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo also complicates matters. In order to have Romero back on the major league club, Anthopoulos would have to remove another player from the roster.
Romero would have to show that he’s worth that move.
Erik Kratz, C.
Spring training stats: 19 AB, .368 BA, .368 OBP, .474 SLG.
Kratz came into spring training competing for the back up catcher’s role.
But after a strong performance both offensively and defensively, Kratz looks like the probable winner for the job.
As the backup catcher will catch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in spring training, Kratz has spent a lot of time in spring training learning how to catch the knuckleball. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has been pleased with the catcher’s progress.
If the 33-year-old does break camp with the team, it’ll mean that Josh Thole, who was also competing for the backup catcher’s role, should begin the season in Triple-A Buffalo.