I know spring training stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but Friday’s win over the Tigers was one of those games that gets you really, really excited for what could happen this season.
Things worth mentioning…
- Yet again, we’re sitting here and talking about how great Robbie Ray pitched. Ray tossed five-and-one-third innings against the Tigers and allowed just one earned run on hour hits and one walk while picking up seven strikeouts. All told, he’s thrown 13 2/3 innings this spring, has allowed three earned runs, and has 18 strikeouts. The really exciting part of Ray’s start was his uptick in velocity, as he was hitting 97 miles-per-hour after throwing five innings of work. Again, it’s spring, and it’s the Tigers, who are ass, but there’s certainly merit to the optimism around how Ray looks heading into the season. We could be seeing something along the lines of 2017 Ray here.
- The other Big Star of the day for the Blue Jays on Friday was Vlad Jr., which has been a common theme throughout Grapefruit play. Vlad went three-for-three, smacking three singles at 86.5 mph, 98.8 mph, and 101.1 mph on the afternoon. Through 20 at-bats this spring, Vlad has 12 hits, good for a .600 batting average and 1.617 OPS. I think we can all sense a breakout season coming.
- Alejandro Kirk went one-for-four on the day with a dinger and now boasts a 1.171 OPS in spring. After the game, Charlie Montoyo raved about how well Kirk and Ray have worked together thus far, which might be an indication that the back-up catcher job is going to be his.
- Jonathan Davis has also quietly put together a very, very good spring. He went two-for-four with a single and a double and now has eight hits over 23 Grapefruit at-bats. Unfortunately for Davis, given the fact he can be optioned and given Toronto’s already-crowded outfield situation, it’s quite an uphill battle for him to crack the roster. He’s certainly making the decision to send him to Triple-A a difficult one, though. If Davis continues to hit, he could be a nice player for the team given his great glove.
- Trent Thornton made his 2021 debut on Friday and tossed two scoreless frames with four strikeouts. It’s easy to forget that he led the Blue Jays in innings pitched in 2019, which feels like ages ago. Given Nate Pearson’s injury, Thornton is an interesting dark-horse to crack the team, either as the fifth starter or as an arm out of the bullpen who can throw multiple innings.
- Finally, here’s a really nice stat in regards to Toronto’s pitching…