Predicting Blue Jays' Opening Day roster

February 10th, 2019

TORONTO -- The start of Spring Training is almost here and it's time for the annual tradition of predicting the Blue Jays' 25-man roster. will revisit these projections midway through camp, and then again at the end of Spring Training to see how close we came with manager Charlie Montoyo's first Blue Jays squad:
Catcher (2):,
Jansen is competing with for the No. 1 role, but it's a pretty safe bet he will end up with the job. Maile is the frontrunner for the backup spot because the Blue Jays will likely want to keep their young catchers playing regularly, with one in the Majors and one in the Minors.
First base (2): ,
No changes from last season. Smoak returns as the undisputed starter, while Morales will open as the club's designated hitter and occasional starter at first. It's worth noting that both players are eligible for free agency at the end of the year.

Second base (1):
Travis should start the season at second, but he'll need a strong first couple of weeks to maintain his playing time. When Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gets promoted, will have to move somewhere and, if Travis isn't careful, it might be second. Travis could also see some time in the outfield as a result.
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Third base (1): Drury
Drury is expected to spend the first couple of weeks as Toronto's starting third baseman, but all bets are off after that. The long-term job belongs to Guerrero, which likely means Drury either becomes a regular second baseman or returns to his roots as a super-utility player.

Shortstop (1):
Galvis should split playing time with , but he's the only natural shortstop the Blue Jays have on the roster. Galvis won't appear in all 162 games like he did last season for San Diego, but he should still see a lot of action -- as the Blue Jays move Gurriel all over the field.
Outfield (4): , , ,
Hernandez and McKinney will compete for playing time in left, while Pillar returns as the starter in center and Grichuk is the man in right. If the Blue Jays opt to send one of Hernandez or McKinney to the Minors, it would open the door for to make the team as a fourth outfielder.

Utility (1): Gurriel
Gurriel is going to see a lot of time at shortstop, but he might also be used at second, third or possibly even a corner-outfield spot. Gurriel's never really had a permanent position before, but his versatility bodes well for his career. He's going to be an everyday player, but the position might keep changing.
Starting pitcher (5): , , , ,
The only real question is whether Stroman, Sanchez and Shoemaker will be healthy at the start of the season and whether Richard can hold off a large group of candidates for the final spot in the rotation. , Thomas Pannone, and are among the other names who are competing for a job.

Relief pitcher (8): , , , , , Elvis Luciano, , Jacob Waguespack
This is one area of the roster where the Blue Jays likely aren't done adding. Last spring, Toronto added a trio of veterans -- , and -- in the spring and the club might take a similar approach here. It's also worth noting that free-agent addition , is recovering from an injury and likely won't be ready for the start of the season.
Here's the breakdown for Round 1 of's 25-man roster projections:
Danny Jansen
Luke Maile
Justin Smoak
Devon Travis
Freddy Galvis
Brandon Drury
Kendrys Morales
Kevin Pillar
Randal Grichuk
Teoscar Hernandez
Billy McKinney
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Marcus Stroman
Aaron Sanchez
Ryan Borucki
Matt Shoemaker
Clayton Richard
Ken Giles
Ryan Tepera
Joe Biagini
Tim Mayza
David Paulino
Elvis Luciano
Jacob Waguespack
Mark Leiter Jr.
RHP David Phelps