Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Prospect pitchers who could crack the roster in 2021

Jul 19, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (87) delivers a pitch during summer training camp batting practice at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 19, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (87) delivers a pitch during summer training camp batting practice at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 17: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Julian Merryweather #67 of the Toronto Blue Jays warms up in the bullpen before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 17, 2020 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 10-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 17: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Julian Merryweather #67 of the Toronto Blue Jays warms up in the bullpen before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 17, 2020 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 10-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Ty Tice

A 16th round selection in 2017, right-hander Ty Tice is a prospect who used a strong 2019 season to put himself into a potential call-up situation this year.

Similar to Snead, Tice spent the 2019 season in both AA and AAA, pitching to a 2.34 ERA with 64 strikeouts, 29 walks, and a 1.249 WHIP over 57.2 innings across both leagues. Tice has spent his entire professional career as a reliever, with the Arkansas native pitching well enough to find himself added to the 60 man player pool last season and also added to the 40 man roster this past November, a move to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft.

Tice should be another name high on the list of potential bullpen call-ups considering he has experience at AAA and has performed well in his role since being drafted in 2017. A strong start to the 2021 season with the Buffalo Bisons will help his cause, as a player injury or a struggling pitcher on the major league roster could see Tice don the Blue Jays jersey sooner rather than later (as he is already on the 40 man roster).

Julian Merryweather

Acquired from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Josh Donaldson in mid-2018, Julian Merryweather joined the Blue Jays Rookie and Advanced-A ball leagues in 2019 before being added to the Blue Jays 60 man player pool in 2020.

https://twitter.com/BlueJays/status/1300931949050163200

The right-hander would make eight appearances for the Blue Jays last year, going 13.0 innings and starting three games while earning a 4.15 ERA with 15 strikeouts with a 1.308 WHIP. He has spent his minor league career as a starting pitcher, but at 29 years old he is more likely destined for a bullpen role rather than being in the rotation after dealing with injuries for a large portion of his minor league career.

He still could make spot starts for Hyun-Jin Ryu or Tanner Roark during the dog days of summer, but a spot in the bullpen seems more likely moving forward, whether it be in AAA or in the MLB (he too is on the 40 man roster).

Bryan Baker

Although he was not drafted by the Blue Jays, right-hander Bryan Baker is one pitcher to keep an eye on this season.

Traded to the Blue Jays back in 2018 as part of the Seunghwan Oh deal, Baker made the jump to AA and AAA baseball back in 2019, throwing 54.0 innings and racking up 12 saves across both levels. Baker would finish the campaign with a 3.17 ERA with 71 strikeouts and a 1.315 WHIP, appearing in 49 games over the course of the season. The Florida native would make the Blue Jays 60 man player pool last season and would be included in spring training as a non-roster invite both in 2019 and 2020.

He would appear in the Blue Jay’s first spring training game this season against the New York Yankees, pitching a clean inning while striking out two batters to close out the game, earning the save in the process. Baker should begin the season in AAA along with Tice and Snead and could be a potential bullpen call-up this year, but he would need to be added to the 40 man roster before that is a possibility.

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