Toronto Blue Jays: Anthony Kay impressing lately in Triple-A

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 21: Anthony Kay #79 of the New York Mets poses for a photo on Photo Day at First Data Field on February 21, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 21: Anthony Kay #79 of the New York Mets poses for a photo on Photo Day at First Data Field on February 21, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Anthony Kay was roughed up in his first start with the Buffalo Bisons, but since then he’s been very impressive and could warrant a big league call-up soon.

The Blue Jays wanted to turn the year-plus on Marcus Stroman‘s contract into their most value they could, and whether you liked the deal or not, the front office felt that their best trade was with the New York Mets.

That swap sent Stroman home to New York and brought back two minor league pitchers to the Blue Jays’ organization in 18-year-old Simeon Woods Richardson, and a more advanced 24-year-old in Anthony Kay.

I’ll admit that I was surprised when the trade was announced, both because of the trade partner, and the prospect return. I assumed and hoped that Stroman would bring back at least one top 100 prospect, but that wasn’t the case in the trade with the Mets. However, that doesn’t mean that the Blue Jays didn’t get any talent in return for their top starter. In fact, there’s a very good chance that Woods Richardson will be on that top 100 list when it’s released next year.

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As for Kay, most Blue Jay fans (myself included) had never heard of the left-hander, and it left many of us wondering what exactly he could bring to the table and if it was worth sending Stroman to the Mets. It didn’t help matters when he was roughed up in his Buffalo Bisons debut, giving up seven runs (three earned) in just 4.2 innings pitched.

Since then, Kay has been a different pitcher, and one that could likely help the Blue Jays to make it through the remainder of the 2019 season and hopefully beyond. Since then he’s thrown 16 innings over three starts, allowing just nine hits and four runs in the process. He’s also impressed by striking out 22 batters in those 16 innings, although the 11 walks issued is a bit of concern, even if it’s a small sample size.

He was solid on Friday night when he allowed just four hits and two runs over 5.0 innings, but it was the start before that he really showed off. The New York native threw six shutout frames against the Columbus Clippers, allowing just one hit and striking out eight in the contest. However, it was also a highlight of the work he needs to do in the control department, as he gave up five walks in that start as well, but managed to get himself out of trouble when he got a bit wild.

It’s unlikely that Kay will become a front of the rotation type of arm, but I think there’s more than enough potential for him to help fill out the back of the group going forward. With Charlie Montoyo having to rely so heavily on “openers” and the bullpen lately, don’t be surprised if Kay gets to make his big league debut at some point this season, especially if he keeps performing well in Buffalo.

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My guess is that won’t happen until the rosters expand in September, but look for Kay to get an opportunity in the season’s final month. And considering how wide open the Blue Jays’ starting rotation battle looks to be going forward, he could be in line to make some meaningful starts for his career path this fall.

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