Three prospects the Blue Jays need to protect from the Rule 5 Draft
RHP Yosver Zulueta
The start of Yosver Zulueta's career with the Blue Jays was rough for the right-hander, as the hard-throwing Cuban product underwent Tommy John surgery right after being signed in 2019 and then missed the entire 2021 season after tearing his ACL during his first start of the year.
Healthy heading into 2022, Zulueta found himself in four different levels of Minor League ball this season, starting in A-ball and gradually rising to AAA. Overall, he made 21 appearances on the season, 12 of which were starts.
After he was moved to AA in late June, Zulueta moved to the bullpen and primarily worked in relief after two starts with the Fisher Cats, hitting the high 90s with his fastball and striking out at least one batter in every relief appearance. Collectively, the right-hander amassed a 3.72 ERA through 55.2 innings with a 13.6 K/9 while walking 32 batters, earning a 5.2 BB/9 in the process.
Zulueta joined fellow prospect, Ricky Tiedemann, at the MLB All-Star Future's Game during the All-Star break this past season, with the Jays prospect coming out of the pen in the second inning and getting a ground ball out to end the inning, earning the win.
Heading into 2023, it will be interesting to see how the Jays plan to use Zulueta. If they keep him in relief, he could easily find himself in the Blue Jays bullpen, especially given his fastball. Zulueta is a lock to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, as he will easily be selected if left unprotected.