Since he took over as GM, Alex Anthopolous’ Toronto Blue Jays have had among the worst pitching in the league.
Since 2010, his first season as the boss, the Jays rank seventh worse in ERA (4.36), second highest in FIP (4.49), fifth highest in xFIP (4.15) and ninth lowest WAR (40.6). All told, not great. And this year, after an overhaul that was supposed to turn pitching into a strength, that trend continues. Though things have improved slightly, the Jays have the 10th worst ERA, 10th worst WAR, fifth worst xFIP and third worst FIP.
The weird thing? His drafting successes.
Of course, the crown jewel of the farm system is Aaron Sanchez, who seems to have scouts drooling and could potentially be an ace-type starter in a couple years. Even after the trades in the offseason Toronto still has a few highly regarded pitching prospects. Sean Nolin, John Stilson and Marcus Stroman could all see time in the bigs this year. International signee Robert Osuna has been turning heads and seems to be raising his stock as a potential impact pitcher, despite recent struggles.
Justin Nicolino has been doing fairly well in high-A ball and Noah Syndergaard has been drawing rave reviews, having already made it to AA in the Mets organization.
Add in last year’s picks Tyler Gonzales, Chase Dejong and Matt Smoral, for whom it’s still too early to tell but who could quickly climb the hype ladder. On top of that are this year’s picks, some of whom have potential.
There are also a few others who look like they may be busts, but could still turn into something (Deck McGuire and Daniel Norris, for example).
I suppose you could just attribute it to the sheer number of pitchers picked. AA sure hasn’t shied away from picking a lot of pitchers.
But still, why has he seemingly had success drafting pitchers, and yet struggles to found the right fit in the big leagues?
Meanwhile, the offence has been the strength, and his drafting of position players hasn’t been terribly strong.