Zach Pop was acquired from the Miami Marlins last season by the Jays at the trade deadline along with Anthony Bass to help bolster their bullpen down the stretch. For Pop, it was a feel good story as he was coming home to pitch for his hometown team, and he certainly did not disappoint. Despite his brief stint with the Jays in 2022, Pop delivered whenever called upon, as he posted a strong 2-0 record with a 1.89 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, giving up only four earned runs, two walks and 11 strikeouts in 19 innings of work.
As a result, he definitely had the upper hand in landing a bullpen spot with the big league club heading into 2023. Pop did indeed end up starting the 2023 season in the majors, as he continued his success he has had with his new ballclub by going 1-0 with a miniscule 1.08 ERA, .115 opponents batting average, 0.72 WHIP, with 11 strikeouts in just 8.1 innings pitched in his first nine appearances.
However, his luck would suddenly turn bad in the worst possible way. He would struggle with his control and command in his next few outings, yielding runs in four of his next six appearances, which tied the amount of runs he had given up last season with the Jays. If that wasn’t bad enough, Pop would subsequently find himself on the 15-day IL with a right hamstring injury. However, his IL stint took a little longer than expected and would end up being two months long instead. On top of that, he was also struggling in his rehab as well. As a result, by the time he was reinstated back in early July, there was no room for him anymore in the Jays’ bullpen and was optioned to Buffalo where he remained for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, things didn’t get any better in Buffalo as his season of misery would continue even in the minors.
As the 2023 season finally came to an end for Pop, he will look to regain the Jays’ trust in the upcoming season when bullpen roster spots open up again for 2024. Hopefully this time around, Pop will have some better luck going forward and a fair shot at securing a spot on the 26-man roster.