In the past, the Toronto Blue Jays‘ bullpen resulted in a cringe-worthy experience. Late-inning blowups were a regular occurrence; not to mention the increasing volume of the heckler megaphone.
However, 2013 turned out to be a brand new chapter, as Blue Jay relievers became a sudden backbone of the franchise. Heading into 2014, with burning question-marks surrounding the team’s starting rotation, a repeat performance is not only sorely needed, but an absolute must if the Jays have any hope of playing meaningful games come September.
This phone call to the Bullpen is highlighted by former back of the rotation starter turned rising star Casey Janssen.
Janssen isn’t your typical ninth inning stopper. Throwing intimidating high-90’s heat is not is forte. He is the rare closer who lives on the corners, owning a devastating cutter as his out pitch, combined with his slow and sweeping mid-70’s curveball, translates into the unique ability to pound the strike zone yet still keep hitters off-balance and unable to get a read on what’s coming next.
Just like Janssen personality, I will let his performance on the field do the talking.
In his last 117 IP , a total of only 24 walks. His 2012/2013 slash line of opponents batting average equals.187/.198. Two straight years of recording a WHIP under the 1.00 mark wiith three straight years recording a K/9 north of 8.5.
When the Jays acquired power pitching Sergio Santos from the Chicago White Sox, a new bullpen saviour was seemingly anointed, little did the Blue Jays know that the solution was already in-house.
The Blue Jays bullpen is a force to be reckon with and Janssen will resume his role of behind-the-scenes X-factor heading into 2014.