Nothing makes Jays From the Couch happier than extreme groundball pitchers. Blue Jays T.J. Zeuch has frustrated Florida State League batters all season long
So I’m in the process of collecting stats, looking at splits, and reading scouting reports on T.J. Zeuch, when I see a little piece of news pop on my computer screen….
Transaction- Blue Jays 2016 1st round pick RHP T.J. Zeuch placed on 7-day DL
I’m like, ‘son of a bi…..’ because I had a sweet title “T.J. Zeuch- Blue Jays newest worm killer” brewing in my head.
Right?! I know.
I was going to wow you guys with how he’s been one of the D-Jays more consistent starters, how he’s producing an insane amount of groundball outs that would make Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez proud, and finally, I was going to suggest Zeuch is quickly becoming the Blue Jays top pitching prospect.
Not one of the top……THE TOP.
Sean Ried-Foley’s been ordinary, until just recently (1BB and 17K’s in the last 12.2IP).
Conner Greene has shown improvements with his control in his second year in Double-A.
Jon Harris is carrying around plus 5.00 ERA, so yeah.
Ryan Borucki, Patrick Murphy, and Justin Maese could all challenge Zeuch for the top pitching prospect, but I think that it is T.J. who is outperforming the rest.
First off, 2017 is Zeuch’s first full professional season. At 21-yr-old, the 6-foot-7 righty was handed the aggressive assignment of taking on the Florida State League after just 8 innings in the Midwest League in his rookie season.
After two months (9 starts), Zeuch is sporting an impressive 3.00 GO/AO. In April he induced 53 groundball outs versus just 6 flyball outs in 16.2IP.
In May he induced 54 groundball outs versus 12 flyball outs in 36.1IP. GO were down from April but still very impressive.
He has a nice .318 BABIP which he should be able to maintain since his FIP (3.29) and xFIP (3.34) are hanging around his ERA (3.23).
We may see some improvement in the strikeout and LOB% department. His 7.13 K/9 and 64.6 LOB% is a little low and should climb closer to 9 K/9 and 70 LOB% as the year goes on.
His control’s been very good. He’s throwing over 60% of his pitches for strikes. After not hitting a batter in April, he did have 4 HBP in May but his STK% increased from 61.41% in April to 65.91 in May.
Zeuch is walking just 6.0% of the batters he’s faced and has a decent 1.32 WHIP to show for it.
He didn’t show any signs of injury during his last start on May 27th (6 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, 5 K), so I am hoping that Zeuch’s stint on the 7-day DL is just a way to give the former 1st rounder a breather and isn’t actually an injury.
Zeuch had pitched 5+ innings in all but his first start (4 IP) so he’s been logging a lot of work. He has thrown 70+ pitches in each of his 9 starts, throwing 90+ four times in May. Workhorse.
I’d like to see Zeuch spend the year with the D-Jays but I expect that management would like to see him get a couple starts in Double-A at some point in 2017.
Of course, if there is an actual injury then let’s hope that it isn’t serious and he can make a speedy recovery.
*Featured Image Mandatory Credit: C.Stem JFtC
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