How will the Toronto Blue Jays manage to play without their former ace David Price on the pitching staff? Let's take a look at the Toronto starting pitchers and the MLB odds boards.
Take It and Run With It
It's in the new ace, Marcus Stroman's control to take over the duties as ace and either emerge as the rock of the staff or prove not to be a #1 guy.
One thing is for sure; Stroman (4-0, 1.67) will need to shrug off the rust in a season that saw him make just 4 regular season starts.
Thus far in his young career, Stroman has proven to be the real deal with a 15-6 record to go along with a 3.31 ERA. He's not going to allow a lot of hits, but he's not the strikeout machine that Price was. Nonetheless, Toronto looks fairly secure with Stroman, who will be itching to get on the mound as the Blue Jays look for another crack at a World Series Title.
Confidence in Estrada
I can still remember manager, John Gibbons, having a reliever warm up behind the curtain so Marco Estrada, who was pitching a great game to avoid elimination in the post-season, but was getting a bit tired. I remember thinking what a brilliant, out of the box decision by Gibbons because he didn't want to mess with his #2 guy, Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13 ERA), who gave the Jays everything that he had last season.
Estrada is a solid #2 guy that could take the ball in any game if he need to lead this pitching staff. For the season, Estrada provided over 181 innings and allowed a mere .203 batting average to his opponents. This is a pitcher who might not have ace level stuff, but he's a grinder and a competitor and that's what a team needs to win consistently, therefore they don't always have to rely on their offense as much. Look for Estrada to pick up the slack with Price gone and have a monster season.
Basically, R.A. Dickey has lived off of his 20 win season with the Mets and it cost the Blue Jays big where giving up prospects are concerned. The Mets knew that the 41 year old knuckleballer wasn't as good as his career year indicated.
However, Dickey is an innings eater and he's a solid #3 guy who will pitch around the .500 mark every season along with a 4.00 ERA. In a hard-hitting American League, the Blue Jays will take it, but the knuckleball is unpredictable.
I certainly wouldn't want Dickey to pitch in a big game, but mentally, he's a big-time competitor and fits in with this staff rather well. Look for more of the same from R.A.
One thing is for sure, the Blue Jays will take another 11-8 season with a 3.61 ERA from J.A. Happ. Happ had a spectacular 2015 considering what is expected from the left-hander. He's not going to blow anyone over as he's somewhat of a poor man's Marco Estrada, but along with Dickey, Happ provides experience at 33 years of age and this is a solid pitcher to be pitching in the number 4 spot. I don't expect Happ to pitch as well as last season, but his numbers will be respectable.
A Good Acquisition?
Jesse Chavez (7-15, 4.18 ERA, 1 SV), pitched a little relief for the Oakland Athletics. That could come handy in the post-season if the Blue Jays get back there, but that's too far to think ahead. Chavez isn't a world-beater, however there could be something said for run support and he certainly didn't deserve to lose 15 of 22 decisions.
Expect Chavez to have much better numbers as he's on the best hitting team and will get a ton of more run support. As a #5 guy on this staff, he's acceptable although the fans can't feel overly confident when he takes the mound and is simply nothing to write home about. Can sports bettors experience a lack of confidence when making MLB picks with Chavez on the hill?
Overall, this a solid Blue Jays pitching staff. While they're not the New York Mets, they can certainly hold their own and that's all that's expected from them as Toronto is listed at a very attractive price on the MLB odds boards, especially over at Bovada Sportsbook.