He may end up starting his season in Triple-A, but don’t be surprised if Anthony Kay ends up being an important figure in the Blue Jays rotation.
As of right now, the southpaw likely figures to be on the outside looking in for the rotation to start the season, but I’d be willing to wager that he’ll get more than an opportunity in 2021. Not only do most MLB teams need 10 or more starters to get through a 162 game season in a normal year, that’s especially going to be the case this season. Don’t forget, most starting pitchers made 12 or less starts last season, and many pitchers are going to need to build their stamina back up appropriately.
For Kay, that’s very likely to lead to an opportunity at some point in 2021, and this time he’ll be working out of a more familiar role as a starting pitcher. Last season Anthony Kay mostly worked in relief for the Blue Jays, but that was due mostly to the fact that there was no minor league season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As much as it wasn’t ideal to have Kay and other starting pitchers coming out of the bullpen, that way they could at least pitch in a real game setting, and hopefully continue their development.
As of right now, Kay will be hard pressed to make the opening day roster, especially because he still has minor league options available. It’s also because the Blue Jays have several veterans that could fill out of the rotation, even if the overall grade of the group is a little underwhelming. At the moment, my best guess at the rotation depth chart looks something like this:
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1- Hyun Jin Ryu
2- Nate Pearson
3- Robbie Ray
4- Tanner Roark
5- Ross Stripling
6- Thomas Hatch
8- Trent Thornton
9- Julian Merryweather
10- TJ Zeuch, etc
As I’ve already mentioned, the average MLB team needs more than 10 starters to get through a full season, so even looking at this chart shows that Kay is likely to get his opportunity in the rotation in 2021.
And if the 25-year-old was wanting to make a positive first impression this year, he did just that in the opening game of the spring training season for the Blue Jays. The Stony Brook, NY native tossed two scoreless innings on Sunday against the Yankees in his first outing of the spring, including two strikeouts.
I fully expect that Kay will start his season in Triple-A, but don’t be surprised if he’s among the first of the options called up to fill out the rotation. And also don’t be the least bit surprised if he’s one of the five left standing at the end of the campaign ahead.