Blue Jays: Which prospects are next in line to debut this season?
Kyle Johnston – RHP
Acquired at the 2019 trade deadline from the Washington Nationals, right-hander Kyle Johnston split last season between AA and AAA and posted some of the best numbers of his career, a 1.57 ERA through 69.0 innings and 35 outings (nine starts). A starter for most of his career, Johnston flirted with the bullpen in 2021 and now finds himself as a reliever moving forward.
So far this season, the Texas product has finished 11 games this season with three saves while owning a 3.70 ERA with 27 strikeouts through 24.1 innings of work. He has been used mostly late in games and in high-pressure situations and his ERA has mostly been influenced by a rough outing back on June 9th where he allowed four hits, three walks, and five earned runs, seeing his ERA balloon from 2.08 to 3.86.
Johnston finds himself in tough when it comes to relievers looking for MLB playing time but will be towards the back of the bus when compared to arms like Thornton, Merryweather, Castillo, Eisert, and Hernandez. Things can obviously change as the season wears on and if Johnston can continue to post strong numbers, a late-season call-up is certainly not out of the cards for the University of Texas at Austin product.