Tips on managing Blue Jays' young players on your team
With a large group of inexperienced Major Leaguers, the Blue Jays are sure to give fantasy owners a thrilling ride of ups and downs this season. Although the following players should be used selectively, they deserve close attention from fantasy owners.
Current 2015 statistics: 1-0, 15 IP, 7.20 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 14 SO
Fantasy relevance: Based on his strikeout potential, the 24-year-old was a popular late-round pick in 2015 mixed-league drafts. But Hutchison has lost some of his luster in fantasy circles due to a pair of subpar outings, which followed six innings of one-run ball against the Yankees on Opening Day. Owners could attempt to buy low on the right-hander right away, in hopes that he compiles 200 K's and finds a way to improve upon his career 1.2 HR/9 rate.
Current 2015 statistics: 1-1, 13 1/3 IP, 6.08 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 10 SO
Fantasy relevance: Norris generated plenty of excitement among fantasy owners after he fanned 163 batters in 124 1/3 Minor League innings last season. But like many other Toronto rookies, the 21-year-old has struggled this month. He did not finish the sixth inning in any of his initial three starts, and he has not flashed the high strikeout rate that he needs in order to dent mixed-league lineups. After struggling Sunday against Atlanta, Norris opened up about an early-season dead-arm phase.
"I can definitely get through it, dead arm is just something where you feel 100 percent fine, [the ball] just doesn't come out like it usually does," Norris said. "Even if I throw one that says 93 or 94 mph, it just doesn't have the same life on it. I can't really command it the way I'm used to."
Wise owners may add the youngster to their bench in hopes of holding him until he returns to full strength.
Current 2015 statistics: 0-2, 8 2/3 IP, 6.23 ERA, 1.96 WHIP, 5 SO
Fantasy relevance: After he posted a 1.09 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP in 33 relief innings last season, Sanchez was plucked in the final rounds of many mixed-league drafts. The 22-year-old has struggled with his control (five walks) in his initial 2015 outings, and his opponents have compiled a collective .333 batting average. Those in shallow formats can consider dropping Sanchez in favor of a hotter hurler, but owners in deep formats should offer him a temporary spot on the bench.
Current 2015 statistics: 2 SV, 1.23 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 7 1/3 IP, 5 SO
Fantasy relevance: The 20-year-old is already the top dog in the team's bullpen, which says as much about the club's lack of dominant late-inning arms as it does about his bright future. Castro -- who served as a starter in 30 of his 39 career Minor League appearances -- has a high ceiling in any role, and he is a terrific asset in keeper formats. But after keeping the bases clean in his initial three Major League appearances, the right-hander has allowed eight baserunners in his past 4 1/3 innings. Castro could exceed 20 saves this season, but he may be a marginal mixed-league asset due to the bumps he will likely encounter along the way.
Current 2015 statistics: 8 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 9 SO
Fantasy relevance: Wise fantasy owners will notice that the 20-year-old Osuna ranked one spot ahead of Castro among Blue Jays in the initial 2015 MLB.com Prospect Watch. Like Castro, Osuna worked primarily as a starter in the Minors, and he could return to that role down the road. The right-hander has been arguably the team's best reliever during April, and he may earn a higher-leverage role as the season progresses. Osuna should stay on waivers in mixed leagues, but he deserves a roster spot in American League-only formats.
Current 2015 statistics: 2 HR, 6 RBI, 7 R, 1 SB, .188 BA
Fantasy relevance: Pompey drew some early-season work as the team's No. 2 hitter, but his inability to get on base at a high clip forced Toronto manager John Gibbons to drop the 22-year-old back to the bottom third of the batting order. The center fielder admitted after Sunday's loss to Atlanta that he has played "somewhat scared" in an effort to avoid early-season miscues, and he hopes to become more relaxed and aggressive as the season progresses. Because Pompey compiled a .392 on-base percentage and 43 steals in the Minors last season, he should stay on most fantasy rosters until at least the end of April.
Current 2015 statistics: 3 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R, 0 SB, .356 BA
Fantasy relevance: Travis was overshadowed by the likes of Norris, Sanchez and Pompey during draft season, but he may help 2015 owners more than any other Blue Jays rookie. The 24-year-old leads the team in batting average and RBIs, and he is tied for the top spot in homers. Travis was a career .323 hitter in the Minors, so he is certainly capable of sustaining his initial Major League success in the coming weeks. The second baseman left Sunday's game against the Braves with a left rib contusion after being hit by a pitch, but mixed-league owners should still look to stash him on the bench at this time.
Current 2015 statistics: 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 0 SB, .240 BA
Fantasy relevance: Pillar was expected to keep the left-field spot warm until Michael Saunders returns later this month, but his outstanding April work in the field could earn him a significant role even after Saunders is healthy. The lifetime .322 Minor League hitter could help in deep formats if he can keep a regular spot in the lineup, but most mixed-league owners do not need to add him yet.