Anthony Kay hasn’t been to Canada yet and solicited the advice of the fan base on Twitter following his trade to the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization before the trade deadline. The fan base has already tried to make Kay comfortable with some Canadian delicacies, bringing him some ketchup-flavoured potato chips from across the border.
“I tried them,” Kay told me on Sunday at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. “I didn’t really like them that much.” Kay also admitted that he “can’t get behind . . . milk in a bag. That kind of freaks me out a little bit.” So, milk in a bag, ketchup chips. Neither are really getting Kay revved up to come to Canada.
But perhaps a big-league debut could. “I’ve never even been out of the country so it’ll be a really cool experience, especially if I get to make my debut up there.”
How close is Anthony Kay to making his major league debut? Kay ranks as the Blue Jays’ #5 prospect after the trade that sent Marcus Stroman to the Mets for Kay and 18-year-old Simeon Woods Richardson. While many are saying that Woods Richardson is the key to the deal with the most upside, Kay is likely to get to the major leagues sooner, possibly even this year or next. Kay is noted for his “plus curveball” and an “above-average changeup” (courtesy of MLB.com) while Fangraphs notes he’s got a 45 Future Value with three potential average-or-better pitches. Kay himself said that “I think I can throw all three pitches to get guys out but I think my one strikeout pitch is my curveball.”
After being selected 31st overall in the 2016 MLB Draft, Kay had Tommy John surgery after signing with the Mets and made his pro debut in 2018, getting through A-ball in Columbia and St. Lucie. He started 2019 in Double-A, posting a stellar 1.49 ERA with the Binghamton Mets and joined the Triple-A Syracuse Mets where he struggled to the tune of a 6.61 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over 31 1/3 innings before the trade. He had a rough first outing with the Bisons but turned things around with five solid innings in his second go round with the Bisons on Tuesday.
He was admittedly thrown off by the trade, saying “it’s definitely a little weird. I’ve never been traded before. . . . It’s definitely a good opportunity because that means another team really wants you, they’re going to trade one of their All-Star major league pitchers for you.”
Kay did offer a small comparison to Marcus Stroman, the pitcher he was traded for, saying something that could be interpreted as a slight knock against the All-Star. “You’re not going to be seeing me shimmying around the mound like Stroman but I definitely have a competitive edge but I’m definitely a little bit more calm with it.”
Kay has a pedigree, pitching in the MLB Futures Game in 2019, noting that it was “a once-in-a-lifetime experience, probably the biggest crowd I’ve ever pitched in front of and it was really awesome.”
I asked Kay what his goal was now that he’s so close to the major leagues. He was pretty low-key, saying that he would “just go out there and string a couple of good outings together and whatever happens happens.
If he does that, with the Blue Jays’ thin pitching ranks, he could very well discover the joys of Canada sooner rather than later.
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