Written by luismatos4prez
We know that Tillman, Norris, Chen, and Gonzo will be in the rotation. We know that Hunter, O'Day, Matusz, and Webb will be in the pen, and they'll be joined by Patton eventually. That leaves the 5th starter and 3 bullpen spots open for competition for the OD roster.
I see nobody among those still with options that is so ready to pitch in the majors that they shouldn't be optioned. That includes Gausman, Steve Johnson, Hendriks, MacFarland, etc.
Here are the competitors with no options:
Kelvin De La Cruz
Aceves isn't on the 40 man roster, but I consider him a serious candidate for the bullpen. He's had great success as a reliever in the AL East (1.11 WHIP). Assuming he keeps his act together, I'm putting my money on him making the squad.
Yoon is a tough one to predict since we've never seen him and we don't know when he'll start pitching here. He'll be on the team at some point and in some capacity once his visa situation is worked out and he gets up to speed.
De La Cruz is my bet to take Patton's spot during the suspension. He struck out over 35% of the lefties he faced in AAA last year, over triple the amount he walked. He could be a fine LOOGY.
Escalona is also tough to evaluate since he was apparently signed based on his new change-up which ML hitters haven't seen yet. He has a career 4.50 ERA which is pretty unimpressive, even if you consider that he was playing for Colorado.
You all know about Britton. Does he start the year in the rotation until Yoon is ready? Could he transition to RP? Is he traded? He certainly wouldn't make it through waivers if we tried to take him off the roster.
Stinson was outstanding in his brief stint as a RP in Baltimore last year, but I don't think that was something we can expect him to repeat. He doesn't strike out enough guys to be a great reliever.
The way the roster looks right now, I'd predict that Aceves, De La Cruz, and one of Stinson/Escalona make the bullpen and the other is put on waivers. Britton makes a few spot starts while Yoon catches up after a late start and eventually is traded.
If another starter is signed, Britton will be traded in ST and Yoon will be a reliever/spot starter once he gets up to speed.
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