As we approach the beginning of the season, we are going to take this opportunity to review the most contested position up for grabs in Montreal...the bullpen. As of this writing there is 3 or 4 open spots up for grabs depending on how many pitchers the Blazers want to carry. Vying for spots are 8 contenders, each with something to offer but all flawed as well.
Hsui-chen Ruan - Ruan perhaps has the best shot of claiming a long relief role this season. On paper he has everything...stuff, control, plus pitches, and great stamina. That being said he struggled mightily in AAA last season to the tune of a 5.54 ERA. Montreal's defense doesn't exactly blaze the world on fire, so it may be best to have Ruan get some more time in AAA until a starting spot opens up for him. Chance to make the team - 85%
Flat Tire Flores - Flores has pitched in Montreal the past few seasons and seems like an almost lock for the bullpen. He is coming off his worst season since becoming a key member of the bullpen, and his velocity tops out at 90mph which is relevant since new GM Zach Grant is reported to preferring his relievers have "stuff". That being said, Flores has solid control, is one of the few lefty options, and is a team leader. Chance to make the team - 95%
Marcos Cruz, Jesus Torres, Christian Orozco - We are lumping these three together as they are all very similar. All three are hard throwing 22 year old righties with two real pitches. They all also have the potential to walk the bases loaded. While the stuff is there, all three leave something to be desired. There may be a spot for one, however I don't see any of the three making the active roster right out of spring training, especially since they all have options available. Chance for Cruz to make team - 30%, Torres - 20%, Orozco - 10%.
General Garza, Marcos Marquis - These two players are similar to the last group in that they both the stuff that gives them a shot to make the roster. Garza is a flamethrower, routinely hitting triple digits. Marquis doesn't quite have the speed on his fastball that the others have, but he makes up for that with better control. Both pitched in the majors last season with Marquis having some success. My guess is that Marquis wins the battle with our next option and makes it on as the 12th pitcher on the staff. Chance for Garza to make team - 40%, Marquis - 75%
Alberto Deleon - Our last player to look at may be the toughest decision for Montreal to make. Deleon is only 21 and still has some developing to do. This would typically mean that he would stay in the minors for one more year, develop, then get the call up later in the season or next year. That all being said, his stuff and control are already in the range of the other candidates we have reviewed, he throws hard, and most importantly he is a lefty which is something that is sorely needed on his staff. I believe that he'll end up being called up later in the season. If the team decides to carry 13 pitchers, he will make the team though. Chance to make team - 50%
GM: Zach Grant