Acquired at the trade deadline last season, Toronto Blue Jays prospect and starting pitcher Anthony Kay has been solid so far this season in the bullpen, and it might be time to let him start a ball game.
This time last season, a majority Blue Jays fans were seething at the fact that the team had traded Marcus Stroman, an electric right-hander who loved the city of Toronto and wore his heart on both his sleeve and his twitter account. It wasn’t so much that fans were upset Stroman was gone (some did want him to stay) but others were more upset that the team didn’t acquire more than prospect pitchers Simeon Woods-Richardson and Anthony Kay from the New York Mets.
In a day and age where competent starting pitchers are worth their weight in gold, many will agree that they were quick to judge the trade for its current value (considering Stroman just opted out of the 2020 season).
Woods-Richardson is quickly emerging as one of the Blue Jays top pitching prospects while Anthony Kay has been impressive so far this season with his 1.13 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 8 strikeouts through 8 innings pitched this season as a member of the bullpen. The Stony Brook native will usually enter the ballgame after the starter, pitching 2-3 innings roughly every 4-5 days in an abbreviated opener type of setting.
While he has been impressive in the bullpen albeit his short sample size, one could argue that it may be time to give Anthony Kay a turn on the bump to start a game. With his hot start in 2020, combined with his 96 MPH fastball and sweeping off-speed putting batters away, Kay could easily be the 4th or 5th starter on 10-15 teams in the league.
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So why isn’t Kay in the rotation to begin the season you ask?
To put it simply, the team already has 5 competent starters in the rotation and Kay would most likely have to see one of them go down with an injury or some significant performance downfall to see time in the 1st inning.
Hyun Jin-Ryu is the ace and going nowhere, while Matt Shoemaker, Tanner Roark, and top prospect Nate Pearson appear to be set in the rotation this season. That leaves one spot for the rest, but manager Charlie Montoyo has been giving righties Chase Anderson and Trent Thornton a crack at securing the last spot. Not to mention other prospects such as Ryan Borucki, Thomas Hatch, and Jacob Waguespack are also chomping at the bit for the spot as well.
This leaves Anthony Kay in a tough position. While he is performing well in the bullpen, there just doesn’t appear to be a clear cut path for Kay to secure a rotation spot this season. With the recent additions this past off-season in Anderson and Roark, that leaves a few of the younger arms on the Blue Jays roster with only spots in the bullpen.
While the season is obviously still early, there is a chance we could see Kay force his way into the rotation before seasons end. A few things will have to go awry for that possibility to likely happen, but a few more strong performances in the bullpen this season could see the rotation be moved around to accommodate the young left-hander.