Blue Jays: The next wave of pitching prospects are full of huge potential

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 4: The Toronto Blue Jays logo painted on the field during batting practice before the Toronto Blue Jays home opener prior to the start of their MLB game against the New York Yankees on April 4, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 4: The Toronto Blue Jays logo painted on the field during batting practice before the Toronto Blue Jays home opener prior to the start of their MLB game against the New York Yankees on April 4, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – MAY 06: Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays is visited on the mound by pitching coach Pete Walker #40 as Danny Jansen #9 listens in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Minnesota Twins at Rogers Centre on May 6, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – MAY 06: Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays is visited on the mound by pitching coach Pete Walker #40 as Danny Jansen #9 listens in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Minnesota Twins at Rogers Centre on May 6, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Simeon Woods Richardson

The last pitching prospect I’m going to cover for now is Simeon Woods Richardson, and there is potential that he could be the best of the lot.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know much about him when the Blue Jays acquired him from New York this past July, as he came over with Anthony Kay in exchange for Marcus Stroman. At the time, I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the return, but’s mostly because I was unfamiliar with the potential of the pair. It turns out they’re both pretty good, and Woods Richardson has a chance to be great.

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He hasn’t appeared on any top 100 prospects lists just yet, but that will likely change within the year, if not sooner. The 19-year-old was drafted by the Mets in the second round in 2018, and really impressed after the Blue Jays acquired him. He was assigned to pitch with in High-A with the Dunedin Blue Jays and posted a 2.54 ERA and a 0.882 WHIP in six appearances totalling 28.1 innings. The then-18-year-old struck out 29 batters against just seven walks, and finished with a record of 3-2.

One thing that gave me comfort after the Stroman trade was reading comments on Twitter from Mets fans that were upset about giving up Woods Richardson, and it turns out there was good reason for their frustration. I’m sure they’ll ultimately be pleased with what Stroman provides in 2020, but the Mets didn’t give up chump change to get the Blue Jays’ best starter, as it appeared to many of us at the time of the deal.

My guess is that Woods Richardson will start the year back in Dunedin with the opportunity to quickly move up to Double-A if he performs well. He managed to throw 106.2 innings between his time with the Mets and Blue Jays’ organizations last year, so building up his innings limit won’t be the same issue for him as it will be for others we’ve already discussed. With that in mind, I think Woods Richardson may also be slightly ahead of guys like Kloffeinstein, Pardinho, and Williams, even if he’s only 19 as well. That said, don’t expect him to make his big league debut next season either, as a timeline of late 2021 or even 2022 is probably more realistic.

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Although the Blue Jays may be a little thin in their starting pitching stables for the immediate future, I would argue that their starting staff has the chance to be very strong in a few years. Not everyone is going to stay healthy, hit their highest potential, or even fit on the roster, but there should be enough talent around to put together a pretty formidable group. It’ll require some patience, but it’s yet another reason for Blue Jays fans to be excited about the future of baseball in Toronto.

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