Everyone loves pitchers who rake, and with Toronto's wounded batting lineup, the Blue Jays could use any offensive help they can get.
Blue Jays starting pitchers were seen taking batting practice on Saturday in preparation for Toronto's first interleague series of the season – a three-game set against the Braves beginning Tuesday in Atlanta. The Blue Jays sport a 3-6 record at Truist Park, which was opened in 2017.
All three expected starters – Robbie Ray, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ross Stripling – played most of their careers in the National League, but with the universal designated hitter in place last season, pitchers may be a little rusty at the plate.
Let's look at what to expect from Blue Jays pitchers at the dish.
Hyun-Jin Ryu - .465 Career OPS
Ryu is the best of the bunch. In 258 career regular season plate appearances, he rocks a .157/.226/.239 slash line and a 29 OPS+, on par with the free-swinging, homerun-hitting New York Mets starter Noah Syndergaard.
Ryu showed off his own sweet swing and a KBO-style bat flip when he hit an electric home run with the Dodgers in 2019, as commentators dubbed him "Babe Ryu."
Robbie Ray - .344 Career OPS
Ray's hitting abilities are a step or two below Ryu's. In 263 regular season plate appearances, Ray's .146/.160/.185 slash line isn't great, even for a pitcher.
With a 44% career strikeout rate, he has a fair amount of swing and miss in his game, but managed to drill a homerun in a 2016 game with the Arizona Diamondbacks – the only time he’s barreled up a baseball in his career, according to Baseball Savant.
Ross Stripling - .226 Career OPS
If you're searching for evidence to strengthen your case for the universal DH, look no further than Stripling. In 97 regular season plate appearances, he has just eight hits (all singles) and an OPS+ of -37. He's also never barreled up a baseball.
A silver lining of sorts, Stripling's 37% strikeout rate is actually quite solid for a pitcher and he even stole a base in 2018.
Bonus: A blast from the past
Jays fans may remember Marcus Stroman's home run off Julio Teheran on May 18, 2017. Stroman is the only Blue Jays pitcher to record a hit at Truist Park, a stat Toronto is likely hoping to change during this week’s series.