September’s expanded rosters are upon us and the Blue Jays have already exercised the ability to have more than 25 players on the roster by recalling Thomas Pannone and Clayton Richard. Today, members of the Blue Jays’ media are reporting that former first-round pick T.J. Zeuch will make his major league debut behind Wilmer Font as the opener (according to The Toronto Sun’s Rob Longley) and that Anthony Kay will debut for the Blue Jays later this weekend (according to TSN’s Scott Mitchell).
Drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round, 21st overall, in the 2016 draft, Zeuch has ridden his deadly sinker to the majors through four seasons of minor league pitching. While he’s had a couple of injuries (none have been major arm injuries), he’s had success at every level and has only appeared out of the bullpen once as a Blue Jays (and once in the Arizona Fall League in 2017).
Zeuch’s most recent stop has been in Buffalo where he has a 3.69 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over 78 innings in 13 starts. The biggest concern with Zeuch is his strikeout rate which sits at 4.5 K/9 with the Bisons while his walk rate isn’t far behind, sitting at 3.7 BB/9 for the year. That said, Zeuch has finished his year with the Bisons very strongly, throwing a complete game no hitter on August 19, walking just one, and walking only 11 batters in 45 1/3 innings over his last seven starts. Known for his high ground ball rates, Zeuch had a 57.1% GB% for the Bisons.
Kay was acquired by the Blue Jays in the trade that saw Marcus Stroman go to the New York Mets. The 24 year old was a first-round pick of the Mets in 2016 but didn’t make his professional debut until 2018 after Tommy John surgery and further complications kept him out of action.
Since 2018, the lefty’s rise to the big leagues has been meteoric after splitting 2018 between Class-A Columbia and Advanced-A St. Lucie. This year, he started in Double-A Binghamton and had a 1.49 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over 66 1/3 innings with 70 strikeouts and 23 walks before moving up to Triple-A Syracuse. He made seven starts in Syracuse, getting hit hard, allowing seven home runs in 31 1/3 innings but in seven starts with Buffalo since the trade, Kay has been outstanding, posting a 2.50 ERA and 1.53 WHIP over 36 innings, with 39 strikeouts and 22 walks.
You can find my interview with Kay here.
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