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We continue to look at the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays by looking at a pitcher whose 2020 on-field performance did not measure up to his strong 2019: Wilmer Font.
Font, 30, was originally signed out of Venezuela by the Texas Rangers in 2008 and cracked the major leagues in 2012, getting into three games. He got into another two games in 2013 but spent 2014 in Double-A and was relegated to the Independent Leagues, playing in Ottawa for 2015 and part of 2016 before he was signed by the Blue Jays and finished that season in Double-A and Triple-A, working mostly as a starter.
He was signed by the Dodgers and returned to the major leagues for part of 2017 and 2018 but really wasn’t good, posting ERAs over 10 with both teams as well as with the Oakland A’s, also in 2018. But when he pitched 27 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays later that season (after a couple of trades), he had a 1.67 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 27 innings for the Rays which got him traded to the Mets in May of 2019 after posting a 5.79 ERA in 14 innings with Tampa Bay. With the Mets, he had a 4.94 ERA in 31 innings and he was traded to the Blue Jays for cash considerations later that year.
With Toronto, Font was pretty good, racking up 39 1/3 innings in 2019, working sometimes as an opener, and posting a 3.66 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, striking out 53 batters and walking only 11.
Coming into 2020 with an eye on a high-leverage relief slot, Font wasn’t great in spring training, posting a 7.36 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 3 2/3 innings. Font was on and off the injured list all season, but still got into 21 games, pitching 16 1/3 innings but was not effective at all, posting a 9.92 ERA and 2.27 WHIP, striking out 15 and walking nine.
While blessed with above average fastball velocity, Font was well below average in most categories according to Baseball Savant. He had a very poor ranking in hart-hit ball percentage (11th percentile) and in exit velocity (17th percentile). His strikeout rate was in the 14th percentile and his whiff rate was in the seventh percentile. Meaning that hitters weren’t missing much off of him and were hitting the ball hard when they did hit the ball.
The Blue Jays clearly saw that and designated him for assignment, sending him outright to the Alternate Training Site. Font is not listed as a minor league free agent and, as such, is likely still in the Blue Jays’ organization but it’ll take an awful lot for him to get back on the 40-man roster and in a big league uniform in 2021.
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