Heading into the 2023 season, it appeared that there was going to be a battle for the fifth rotation spot between Yusei Kikuchi and Mitch White, with both pitchers looking to bounce back after struggling in their first seasons with the Blue Jays.
In his first season with the Jays after signing a three-year, $36 million deal, Kikuchi struggled mightily, posting a 5.19 ERA with a 5.2 BB/9 that saw the southpaw be relegated to the bullpen in August to finish out the year. White was acquired by the Jays at the trade deadline, with the right-hander making 10 appearances (eight starts) and finishing the year with a 7.74 ERA and a 12.3 H/9, allowing five or more earned runs through four outings to finish the season.
Fast forward to today and Kikuchi has earned the rotation spot, not only dominating in spring training but pitching well to begin the season as well, authoring a 3.00 ERA through five starts with 28 strikeouts through 27.0 innings, going five or more innings in four of those five starts. White on the other hand had a late start to spring training after suffering a shoulder impingement during the offseason, which put him behind Kikuchi right from the get-go to begin the year. The former Dodger would suffer a separate elbow injury late in camp, putting him on the IL to begin the season.
After a month into the …
Author: Tyson Shushkewich / Blue Jays Nation