Blue Jays: Quick hits on new acquisition, Trent Thornton

Brendan Panikkar
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Trent Thornton #67 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 21, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Trent Thornton #67 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 21, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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The first move of the Toronto Blue Jays off-season came today and out of nowhere as the club shipped shortstop Aledmys Diaz off to the Houston Astros for AAA pitching depth in starter Trent Thornton.

This move really came out of the blue as there was no real reports that the Blue Jays were shopping Aledmys Diaz actively. The Blue Jays announced the move via their PR account and social media channels.

While this trade may be a bit of a surprise, we knew the Blue Jays had a surplus of infielders on the shortstop/third base side of the diamond with the likes of Diaz, Brandon Drury, Yangervis Solarte, Troy Tulowitzki, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and even Russell Martin. A move was likely to happen regardless involving one of Solarte or Diaz to clear up some space for Drury, Gurriel, and Tulowitzki.

The question for Blue Jays fans now is, “who is Trent Thornton?”.

Thornton was drafted by the Astros 139th overall in the 5th round of the 2015 draft. He’s ascended through the minor leagues getting to AA in 2016 and AAA in 2017. Thornton spent the entire 2018 season in AAA with the Fresno Grizzlies and was ranked as the 24th best prospect in the Astros system according to MLB.com’s top 30 prospects list.

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Over the years, Thornton has upped his fastball velocity to sit around 93-95 MPH and can touch 97 MPH with ride. Thornton also features a curve, changeup, and slider that can act like a cutter. At 25 years old, Thornton was projected by MLB.com to reach the MLB in 2018 but with all the Astros pitching depth, he didn’t reach the majors this past season.

It definitely seems as if Thornton could come to the majors as a starter but others see him as a multi-inning reliever, which the Blue Jays could certainly use in the 2019 bullpen. Through his career, Thornton has back end of the rotation numbers:

7.32 K/9, 2.52 BB/9, 1.42 HR/9, 43.0 GB%, 10.7 HR/9 (2018), 4.58 ERA, 4.54 FIP

Not bad numbers for a potential back end of the rotation arm who is on the verge of getting to the major leagues.

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Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with trading from an area of surplus to acquire some more pitching depth moving forward. This isn’t an exciting trade or one that will raise eyebrows, but it’s a nice move to start the 2018-2019 off-season for the Toronto Blue Jays.

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