The Toronto Blue Jays could use the 2020 season to capitalize on the versatile depth Anthony Kay provides
The Toronto Blue Jays are heading into the 2020 season in better shape heading into the current version of the 2020 season than they were a few months ago. In an ‘anything can happen’ season of just 60 games, there is a small, but real chance we could see this team challenge for the postseason. While we won’t get carried away with that dream, if they are going to come close, they’ll need to rely on some creativity in the usage of their roster depth. And, that seems to fit Anthony Kay perfectly.
Recently, GM, Ross Atkins, said that he feels very confident in Charlie Montoyo‘s ability to be creative when managing this team: “He [Montoyo] loves to think about the entire roster, think about keeping guys involved and engaged and playing on a regular basis, as you saw last year. There was creativity to the playing time and the usage.” With some starters potentially not built up to toss regular late July innings, we could see Montoyo look to double up on some starters, use the opener strategy or use an expanded rotation, at least to kick things off.
Enter lefty Anthony Kay. Kay came to Toronto (along with Simeon Woods-Richardson) in the trade that sent Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets. The 25 year old Kay saw just 14 innings of action in Toronto last season, but between New York and Toronto, collected 133.2 innings between AA as a Binghamton Rumble Ponies and AAA Buffalo Bisons. Over that span, he put up some pretty solid numbers:
|1 Yr||1 Yr||1 Yr||1 Yr||1||0||5.79||2||0||14.0||15||9||5||13||2.64||1.429|
The young starter is looking to nail down a big league job for the 2020 season and the circumstances may be just right for him right now. Sure, he’s a starter, but all things considered right now, he might be utilized in a relief role this year. As MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson points out: “Some days, that will be a classic relief role. Other days, it could be multiple innings or piggybacking off a starter who isn’t completely built up yet.”
And, as it turns out, that suits Kay just fine: “It’s something I’m comfortable with. I haven’t done it in a couple of years but, ultimately, if that’s what they want me to do on this team to be up with the big league team, I’m willing to do it.” Kay will rely on his ability to attack hitters on both sides of the plate and, as Matheson points out, that could be rather useful in shorter outings.
Baseball Savant highlights Kay’s pitch usage as a mid-90’s 4 seamer (62%), a change up (19%) and a curve (19%). Fangraphs lists a 95 mph sinker curve as well. Of course, 14 innings of MLB experience is not enough to form any conclusions, but his fastball and change were both very hittable. IF he can avoid that, he could find himself collecting a fair share of innings.
It’s difficult to see Kay cracking the starting rotation under normal circumstances, though. With Hyun-Jin Ryu, Matt Shoemaker, Chase Anderson and Tanner Roark all but guaranteed starts and Trent Thornton likely leading the fight for the 5th spot, Kay would be on the outside looking in.
However, the 2020 season will go down as one of the more bizarre in MLB history. With no real Spring Training to build starters up, with expanded rosters (at least to start) and the very ominous cloud of Covid hanging over the season, there exists a real chance that Anthony Kay sees some meaningful work with the Blue Jays.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.