On paper, the Toronto Blue Jays drastically improved their starting rotation this off-season as the likes of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chase Anderson and Tanner Roark joined the fold.
That’s all well and good, but who of the Blue Jays’ pitchers can actually help out your fantasy baseball team?
Below is the second of a two-part series on fantasy-relevant Blue Jays players. This time the focus lands on the pitchers.
Obviously, the Blue Jays $80-million free-agent signing is the club’s best fantasy starting pitching option. How effective he’ll be moving to Toronto off of a career-best season, leading the majors in ERA and finishing runner-up in National League Cy Young voting, is the question.
Ryu’s been slinging it at an elite level since 2018, but half of those games have been at pitcher-friendly Dodgers Stadium. The soon-to-be 33-year-old has also never thrown for over 183 innings and was 40th in 2019 for total Ks (163). Positives are that he induces plenty of ground balls and owned the best walk rate in the MLB last season.
It all depends on a fantasy owner’s expectations for the southpaw hurler. If you’re drafting him as a pitching staff ace then there’s going to be disappointment. However, as the third-best starter on your roster, Ryu becomes an excellent fit.
I really liked this signing as a baseball move for Toronto’s rotation more so than for fantasy purposes. If 2017 Chase Anderson happens to rise from the ashes (12-4 record, 2.74 ERA) then sign me up! However, that’s asking a lot for a 32-year-old righty that sports a career ERA of nearly four and only delivered a double-digit win total once.
Traditionally, Anderson’s possessed a strong strikeout-to-innings-pitched ratio, and against the right opponent could be fantasy relevant as a spot starter in season-long leagues. Generally ranked as the 135th fantasy SP, he’s best suited in DFS contests versus plus matchups.
Wild Card: Nate Pearson
Much like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2019, Nate Pearson’s eventual MLB debut is one of the most anticipated events for Jays fans. He’s also a big-time fantasy stash.
The eighth-overall prospect in baseball has all the tools to make an immediate impact, but when will he be called up, and will there be enough starts to make him worthwhile holding onto all season? Look to grab this six-foot-six, 100-m.p.h. chucking rookie in the last couple rounds of your draft and hold on tight. Pearson just might be that extra push you need for a deep championship run.
The only concern surrounding Giles is the condition of his right elbow that caused the veteran reliever to miss stretches of 13 or more days between appearances three times last year.
He’s got the underlying metrics and strikeout ability to be an upper echelon-level closer, especially at Rogers Centre (47 Ks, 0.87 ERA in 31 innings). If the Blue Jays’ plan of increasing their win total by 15 or more comes true, Giles should be on track to surpass 30 saves for only the second time in his career.