Blue Jays: The Thomas Hatch experiment may be coming to a close
At the 2019 MLB Trade Deadline the Toronto Blue Jays made a deal with the Chicago Cubs where they sent bullpen pitcher David Phelps to the Windy City in exchange for 24-year old Double-A pitching prospect Thomas Hatch.
One-year after the trade, it looked as though Ross Atkins had made a steal in acquiring the former third-round pick. Hatch finished out that season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats making six starts and posting a 2.80 ERA and a 0.764 WHIP over 35.1 innings pitched. He would follow up the next season by making the Blue Jays active roster at the start of the COVID-shortened season and opening the third game of the season. Hatch impressed throwing 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out three and then would go on to make 16 appearances out of the bullpen finishing the season with a 2.73 ERA over 26.1 innings pitched.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma native was unable to follow-up his rookie season with any success due to a couple stints on the injured list in 2021, including a 60-day stint on the injured list due to a right elbow impingement. Hatch would eventually get healthy halfway through the season and make 14 starts with the Bisons showing some signs of earning a chance as a starter in the future as he had a minor league career high of 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings and posted a 4.04 ERA. However, in his three appearances for the Blue Jays he would walk six batters over 9.1 innings and surrendered seven runs, including two home runs. In his last appearance in late September he would walk three and surrender three runs in just over an inning, then be placed on the injured list with a hamstring injury the following day where he would remain for the duration of the season.
He was able to remain healthy for the duration of 2022, but with the pitching depth getting deeper in the organization he was unable to do anything to stand out to get a long look on the MLB roster. His only appearance in a Blue Jays uniform was a forgettable one in early July when he would start game two of a doubleheader. Hatch was unable to get through the fifth inning after surrendering 12 hits, three being home runs and would give up 10 runs in total to the Tampa Bay Rays. He would pitch the remainder of the season in Buffalo finishing with a 4.67 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 131 innings.
This spring, it felt like Hatch would really need to take charge and prove to the organization that they had a pitcher they could move forward with. Unfortunately, he has been unable to give Atkins or manager John Schneider any reasons to think he is more than a minor league pitcher and as such could find himself removed from the 40-man roster. Hatch has made five appearances during the Grapefruit League and has surrendered nine runs and 16 hits through 7.2 innings.
Hatch will be 29-years old before the end of the season and has fallen way down the depth chart as a potential starting pitcher and might be even further down the list as a relief pitcher. He may be close to finding himself off of the 40-man roster.