Baltimore Orioles Renewed Starting Rotation Gives O’s Hope In AL East

SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Andrew Cashner
SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Andrew Cashner /
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3. Toronto Blue Jays

Starting pitchers: J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, Jaime Garcia, Joe Biagini

The Blue Jays boast a veteran-heavy rotation, and the main questions for this group deal with their health.

The Blue Jays’ rotation could challenge New York for second place if everyone is healthy.

Stroman is expected to make his first start, but he has been dealing with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. His 2017 season was a strong one, with a 5.9 WAR, a Gold Glove and a top 10 finish in the Cy Young race.

Happ will be the Jays’ Opening Day starter and will look to return to his 2016 form. In 2017, Happ went 10-11 with a 3.53 ERA in 145.1 innings. While he did deal with injuries, his ERA was not bad. His WHIP was higher than in 2016 but in line with his career average.

Sanchez was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2016. In 2017, he only made eight starts, going 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA as he dealt with blister and finger issues throughout the season.

These issues seem like ones Sanchez will be passed and will return to form, but that is not a guarantee.

Then there is Estrada. Estrada has his worst season as a professional in 2017, one year after being an All-Star. He went 10-9 with a 4.98 ERA. The WHIP was well-above his career average (1.185) at 1.382, even though he threw the most innings of his career.

Garcia’s three-team 2017 was not very good, but his time with the New York Yankees in the AL East was the worst of it. He went 0-3 with a 4.82 ERA for the Yankees, with an unsightly 1.634 WHIP. It will be fascinating to see if Garcia is a different pitcher in 2018, as he may be one of those pitchers who is not designed for the AL East.