Yosver Zulueta (No. 14 Prospect)
When it comes to flamethrowing pitching prospect Yosver Zulueta, he endured a roller coaster season last year with Buffalo Bisons. The opportunity presented itself in 2023 for Zulueta to make his major league debut when the Jays ran into some injury troubles with their pitching. However, his trouble in honing his control and command for most of the first half of 2023 ended up keeping him out of the picture when it came to call-ups to the big club.
With the Jays unsure of whether to deploy Zulueta as part of their future rotation or bullpen, they experimented him in both roles when he began the season in Buffalo. In doing so, it might have played a role in leading to his inconsistency as a result. In his first 32 appearances, he pitched to a 4.63 ERA with a horrific 1.76 WHIP, including 39 walks in just 46.2 innings of work. That caused his prospect rankings In the organization to plummet a bit as a result. But one positive coming out of it was the fact that he gave up only 1 home run over that same time frame despite the struggles with his command.
However, he did manage to turn his season around to respectable levels in the final two months of the season, which included a stint in the Florida Complex League to help fix whatever was ailing him in his performance. In August and September, Zulueta compiled a solid 2.60 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, holding opponents to a .167 batting average while striking out 22 in 17.1 innings pitched. Those numbers certainly resembled more the dominant form many were expecting of him.
With Jordan Hicks lost to free agency this offseason, Zulueta represents one of the best internal options available to replace the overpowering flamethrower at the back end of the bullpen. Look for Zulueta to mature in his game and surprise everyone in spring training with his consistency and earn a chance to finally make his debut for the ballclub this season.