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  • Writer's pictureLouis Paillier

Bowden Francis might be the most overlooked Blue Jay for 2024

Updated: Feb 27

In 2021, the Blue Jays sent 1B Rowdy Tellez to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RHP Trevor Richards and RHP prospect Bowden Francis. As of 2024, Francis has flown under the radar in the organization.

Now 27 years old, the righty got his first, somewhat extended taste of the major leagues last season. In 36.1 innings, Francis performed admirably, posting a 1.73 ERA and an ERA+ of 247. Primarily used in a multi-inning role, the hurler was utilized similarly to how former Jay, Ross Stripling, was. Able to come out of the bullpen for one or multiple innings, he proved to be a valuable piece to the Blue Jays’ bullpen.

Becoming a Blue Jay

When acquired along with Trevor Richards, a bigger emphasis was put on the addition of Richards, as the Jays were in big need of relief pitching at the time. Francis was seen as a longer-term project, rather than being the immediate addition Richards would be. In 2024, Richards is a DFA candidate, and Bowden is on the verge of being a full-time big leaguer.

ORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Bowden Francis #44 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on from the dugout prior to a game against the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre on September 09, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Kansas City Royals vs Toronto Blue Jays (Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages)

Early Impact in Spring Training

In the early days of Spring Training, the righty has made many heads turn, including that of starter Chris Bassitt, he notes: “If Ricky [Tiedemann] or Francis needs to start for us this year and they become our No. 1, I don’t think anyone would be shocked. As crazy as that is, that’s how good of stuff they have. That’s how mature they are.” (Via Keegan Matheson). To get that level of praise from a veteran like Bassitt says a lot about Francis’ repertoire. His arsenal consists of three pitches: A four-seamer, a slider, and a curveball. He did have a changeup that he used 11% of the time in 2022, though he removed it in 2023, deciding to increase the usage of his fastball and slider instead.

Deceiving hitters

Standing at 6’5”, an underrated aspect of Bowden Francis’ game is his ability to deceive the hitter into believing they’re facing higher velocity than they are. While the righty’s four-seamer averages 94.4mph, he places in the 80th percentile in extension. Due to his height, the ball comes out of his hand closer to the plate than most pitchers, creating the illusion to the hitter that they are facing higher velocity than they truly are. A similar hurler with this deception would be Minnesota’s Bailey Ober, who at 6’9”, places in the 98th percentile in extension while having a relatively slower fastball, ticking at 91mph. His fastball’s run value, however, is pretty good, which can be explained by his later release point.

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 11: Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher Bowden Francis (44) throws a pitch during the MLB baseball regular season game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays on September 11, 2023, at Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MLB: SEP 11 Rangers at Blue Jays (Julian Avram/GettyImages)

Bowden Francis' role for the Blue Jays

With the Blue Jays’ top four starters being confirmed, and Alek Manoah presumably being the 5th starter in this year’s rotation, Francis will continue to be built up as a starter. While Manoah’s spot in the rotation isn’t guaranteed nor confirmed, he should be able to lock it up in Spring Training, assuming he performs well. Bowden will be fighting for a spot on the team, along with new Blue Jay Yariel Rodriguez, and Mitch White. That being said, it wouldn’t be surprising for Francis to force his way on the team with a strong performance in Spring Training. That could be said for Yariel Rodriguez, too. One thing is for certain, Blue Jays fans should be on the lookout for Bowden to have a big impact on the ballclub this year.

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Feb 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very interesting article


Feb 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So cool!


Feb 20
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love This Article!

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