Itís time to start thinking about the Blue Jays playoff roster.
A couple of days ago, I had a debate with several posters about whether it was worth it to roster a third catcher for the Wild Card round. I donít think either side convinced the other, but, in any case, I figured I would post my playoff roster for the first round and everyone can feel free to pick it apart.
In what is likely no surprise, I am selecting all position players on the playoff roster, except for Reese McGuire, Rowdy Tellez and Josh Palacios.
Iím operating on the assumption that Tellez is unavailable for this round, which aligns with the latest reporting Iíve read from Ben Nicholson-Smith and other sources. If he was available, I would probably slide him into the roster in place of Espinal, who has a little less utility with everyone healthy, as Davis would be on the bench to act as a pinch-runner and Panik and Villar presumably both serve backup infielders.
With all three starting outfielders healthy, Iím listing both Cavan Biggio and Jonathan Villar as infielders, as that seems to be where they will most likely get the most of their at-bats, although they can play the outfield, to varying degrees, as well.
Also, this means I will have to open a 40-man roster spot for Caleb Joseph (who I think is preferable to Reese McGuire at this current moment), I hope the Jays would be able to put either Fisher or Waguespack on the 60-day DL and open the roster spot. If this wasnít possible, it might push the needle towards McGuire.
In my mind, the argument for the third catcher is pretty simple. If the Jays plan to DH Kirk at all, rostering Joseph protects them against losing the DH. This doesnít just apply to injuries to Jansen, but also applies to situations where you may want to pinch-run for Jansen or Kirk.
While some posters pointed out that losing the DH isnít catastrophic, which I agree with, considering that the Jays would then be pinch-hitting with the likes of Panik or Villar, and would also have that hole in the lineup influencing their reliever options, I think itís something that should be avoided if possible, particularly when the cost is, potentially, not rostering Chase Anderson this round (see below).
With regards to pitchers, for the Wild Card round the team needs three starters, so Iím operating on the assumption it will Ryu, Walker and either Ray or Shoemaker, in some order. Iím also assuming Romano and Merryweather are unavailable, due to injury.
I have selected all of the primary late-inning relief options (Dolis, Bass, Peason, Cole, Borucki).
Iíve also selected several pitchers who can go multiple innings in Stripling, Hatch, Yamaguchi and one of Chase Anderson, TJ Zeuch or Anthony Kay. The choice of which one of those three to take would probably depend on the opponent, as well as potentially Zeuchís performance and pitch count tonight.
Iím actually not convinced the Jays need any of Anderson/Kay/Zeuch in the Wild Card round, as if they are burning through all of these multi-inning relievers in the first two games, it will not have been good news for, presumably, Ryu and Walker and the series is probably in trouble already. However, given the next roster choice of healthy position players is Palacios, and I have a hard time seeing him getting any playing time, Iíve taken the more conservative choice.
For the last bullpen spot Iíve selected Patrick Murphy, as I like what heís shown in short stints and seems to have a good ability to generate ground balls.
If Romano or Merryweather was healthy, either Murphy or Anderson/Kay/Zeuch would probably be removed, although I do wonder about maybe Yamaguchi, as his implosion in his last outing was not encouraging.
Position Players: 14
C: Danny Jansen
C: Alejandro Kirk
C: Caleb Joseph
IF: Bo Bichette
IF: Cavan Biggio
IF: Santiago Espinal
IF: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
IF: Joe Panik
IF: Travis Shaw
IF: Jonathan Villar
OF: Jonathan Davis
OF: Randall Grichuk
OF: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
OF: Teoscar Hernandez
SP: Hyun Jin Ryu
SP: Taijuan Walker
SP: Matt Shoemaker
SP/RP: Robbie Ray
RP: Rafael Dolis
RP: Anthony Bass
RP: Nate Pearson
RP: AJ Cole
RP: Ryan Borucki
RP: Ross Stripling
RP: Shun Yamaguchi
RP: Thomas Hatch
RP: Patrick Murphy
RP: Chase Anderson or Anthony Kay or TJ Zeuch