Toronto Blue Jays News

Toronto Blue Jays: Five players on the roster bubble for next season

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 03: Kevin Smith #66 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during a MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on September 3, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 03: Kevin Smith #66 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during a MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on September 3, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 23: Thomas Hatch #31 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Minnesota Twins on September 23, 2021 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

Thomas Hatch – RHP

Acquired from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for David Phelps back in 2019, right-hander Thomas Hatch made his debut for the Blue Jays in 2020 but was used as a relief pitcher instead of a starter. He would pitch well, crafting a 2.73 ERA through 17 outings (one start) with 13 walks, 23 strikeouts, and a 1.18 WHIP.

Hatch was in the running to crack the roster but began the year on the injured list with a right elbow impingement and wouldn’t make an appearance with Buffalo until late May. The Blue Jays reverted him back to a starting role this year and would spend most of the year in AAA, making 14 starts (15 outings) and pitching to a 4.04 ERA with 19 walks, 70 strikeouts, and a 1.19 WHIP.

He would make three appearances for the Blue Jays later in the season but would struggle at the big league level, surrendering seven earned runs through 9.1 innings of work with eight strikeouts but got hit around, giving up 11 hits with a 1.82 WHIP and an opponent batting average of 2.82. He would also find himself on the IL again with a separate hamstring issue at the end of the year, putting an end to a season that he would probably like to put behind him.

If Steven Matz and Robbie Ray don’t return to the club next year and the Blue Jays choose not to bring in a veteran free agent starter, there will be a few spots open in the rotation for some of the internal prospects.

Assuming the front office keeps Hatch in a starting role, he should be a potential candidate for one of the open rotation spots and will most likely return to AAA to continue being stretched out if he misses out, waiting for someone to either struggle or ends up on the IL. Hatch could also be moved to the bullpen, which could see his chances of joining the roster sooner rather than later, especially if he has a strong spring campaign.

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