Last season, the Toronto Blue Jays pulled off one of the biggest trade deadline acquisitions, acquiring Minnesota Twins Starter Jose Berrios in exchange for top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson.
At the time, those who valued prospects within the Blue Jays system saw this trade as an overpay, given the fact that Martin wasn’t supposed to be available to draft back in 2020 when the club stepped up to the podium and Woods-Richardson appeared to be the next top pitching prospect for the Jays. Overall, the front office needed to include the top prospects because Berrios had another year of contract control at the time, which only drove up his price tag, and eventually turned into a long-term extension for the right-hander and the Jays organization.
Fast forward to today, and Simeon Woods-Richardson is back to his old tricks with the Twins AA affiliate, the Wichita Wind Surge. Through five starts with Wichita, SWR has authored an incredible 1.33 ERA while allowing just 12 hits and four earned runs through 27.0 innings of work. He currently has 24 strikeouts on the season compared to eight walks and has accumulated a 0.741 WHIP through five starts and has held opposing batters to a .133 batting average. He currently leads the Texas League in ERA, WHIP, and opponents batting average and was posting better stats than George Kirby, the Seattle Mariners pitching prospect who was just recently called up to the big league squad.
Former Blue Jays top prospect Simeon Woods-Richardson is pitching well with the Twins AA affiliate and could be in the big leagues by the end of the year.
These stats are nothing new for Jays fans, as Woods-Richardson did find some success early in the 2021 season when he was still pitching with the Blue Jays. However, in late June, the right-hander started to struggle on the mound, seeing his ERA climb to the 5.76 mark by the end of July and his three starts that month with the Fisher Cats yielded 14 earned runs through just 12.2 innings. At the time, Woods-Richardson would be placed on the inactive list as he went with the United States to play in the Tokyo Olympics, which is where he would find out the Blue Jays traded him to the Twins organization.
By the end of the year, Woods-Richardson would finish with a 5.91 ERA through 15 outings while earning a 1.538 WHIP and a 13.0 K/9, falling off the MLB Top 100 Prospects list but still ranking as the club’s #4 top prospect.
Right now, it appears SWR has figured out what troubled him late last season and is off to a hot start for the Wind Surge, which is unfortunate for Jays fans considering Jose Berrios is in a bit of a funk right now with his 5.82 ERA through seven starts. The biggest test will obviously be if Woods-Richardson can continue to throw well over the course of a full season and not struggle in the dog days of summer as he did with the Jays affiliate last season.
Now ranked as the Twins’ #7 top prospect and fourth pitching prospect, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Woods-Richardson advance to AAA this season and potentially find himself in the big leagues late in the year, depending on where the Twins are in the AL Central standings.