Previewing The Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Rotation

Blue Jays Pitcher Kevin Gausman in Mid-Release of Next Pitch
Blue Jays Pitcher Kevin Gausman in Mid-Release of Next Pitch Photo credit: Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Coming into the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays roster was more known for its high-octane offensive play. After being amongst some of the highest-scoring teams in baseball the last couple of seasons, the Toronto Blue Jays management opted for a bit of a different look this summer. 

That’s not a negative from any perspective, and actually, it’s a move Blue Jays fans should be excited about. General Manager Ross Atkins clearly focused on upgrading the team’s bullpen and rotation for 2023 and certainly delivered. With the Blue Jays’ offensive core still wearing the blue and white threads, now with the addition of stronger pitching and overall team defense, this team’s closer than it has ever been during the Guerrero Jr./Bichette era to winning it all. 

Last season, the Blue Jays’ rotation was highlighted after strong seasons from Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman in 2022. With the struggles of Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi, the team relied on former Blue Jay Ross Stripling a lot more than projected after losing the veteran right-hander to San Francisco this offseason. General Manager Ross Atkins brought in some serious depth, strengthening this Blue Jays rotation. 

Alek Manoah

Let’s start off with the Blue Jays’ opening day starter. If you’re familiar with my work, you know I’m all in on Alek Manoah this season. The 25-year-old right-hander generates a lot of soft contact, and with an improved defense behind him, I’m expecting quite the season for Alek. If the young right-hander can keep his pitches located where he wants them, get ready for an electric season from Alek Manoah. 

Photo Credit: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Kevin Gausman

After what we’ve seen this spring from Kevin Gausman and the confidence in the way he talks about himself. It’s hard not to be fired up for what the 32-year-old can do this season for the Blue Jays. After showing flashes of dominance last season in some high-leverage games, Kevin Gausman is one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball and has shown no signs of regression early on. Whether it’s Alek Manoah or Kevin Gausman leading the way, this is a luxury Blue Jays fans shouldn’t take for granted. 

Photo Credit: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Chris Bassitt

My ideal third starter for the upcoming season is the newly signed Chris Bassitt. The 34-year-old veteran right-hander has an extremely unique pitching arsenal. Per, Chris Bassitt uses his sinker pitch the most at (33.5%) of the time, which generates lots of light contact from opposing bats. Similar to the way Alek Manoah will see a benefit from the improved defense, I’d expect the same to happen for the 34-year-old. It’s also important to mention the flexibility Chris has in his pitching armory, throwing up to seven different pitch types. After the ups and downs for Jose Berrios this spring, perhaps the team could get the most value out of Jose in the four spot.

Jose Berrios

As said in the paragraph above on Chris Bassitt, perhaps this move of Jose Berrios in the four spot helps boost the 28-year-old back to form. Obviously, the outside media values the rotation order way more than it should, but having Berrios as the fourth starter gives this team some serious upside. Regardless of what you think about Jose Berrios, he’s much better than what we saw last season, and I’m all in on the 28-year-old having a bounce-back season in 2023. Taking the pressure off Jose from being in the top end of the rotation might perhaps provide fewer mental distractions, letting Jose Berrios just focus on baseball and not the added drama surrounding expectations. 

Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Yusei Kikuchi

As for the fifth starter for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2023, I don’t think there’s much debate anymore. Yusei Kikuchi has earned the role after an absolutely dominant spring training. The 31-year-old left-hander looks much more like the pitcher Blue Jays management thought they were getting in 2022. Although it has to be taken into consideration that spring training numbers don’t necessarily mean that much when it comes to the regular season. However, this is the best-case scenario Blue Jays management and fans could have hoped for heading into the new season. A clean slate and a fresh start for a pitcher who’s definitely got some flash in his pitching arsenal.

Photo Credit: G Fiume/Getty Images

Regardless of the pitching order, the Blue Jays’ rotation will be a significant factor in how the team does in 2023. With Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi hopefully due for bounce-back seasons, and the front three lead the way as projected. I’d expect this team to be right up there with the best and make a deep run in the postseason this year. This is one of the most complete Blue Jays rosters we’ve seen in quite some time.

Thanks for reading! For more baseball content, follow me on Twitter at ITR_Anselmo.

3 thoughts on “Previewing The Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Rotation

  1. Great post! It’s exciting to see the Blue Jays management prioritize strengthening their pitching and overall team defense this offseason. My question for the author is, do you think the improved defense will make a significant impact on the performance of the pitching staff or will it mainly benefit players like Manoah who generate a lot of soft contact?

    1. Hello👋 thank you for the kind words haha, honestly I think it’ll make an impact for the whole staff in general. Manoah might see the most benefit given his style, but collectively as a group I expect everyone to get a boost. Appreciate the feedback, glad you enjoyed!

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