Depending on the course the 2021 MLB season takes, the Buffalo starting rotation may be in a state of flux more often than it’s not.
Simeon Woods Richardson RHP
With Nate Pearson all but a lock to start the season with the big club, SWR assumes the mantle of top starting prospect in the organization. And with good reason.
SWR more than held his own at Spring Training 2.0, and despite his young (he won’t turn 21 until September) age, there’s ample reason to believe he’ll make his MLB debut sometime in the next eighteen months. SWR cracked the MLB pipeline Top 100, and there’s every reason to believe with his remaining projection that he’ll move up those rankings before he hits the big time.
Patrick Murphy RHP
The Blue Jays have a decision to make with Murphy. He was impressive in four appearances out of the bullpen for Toronto last summer, and the suspicion all along is that his fastball would play up in a relief role. Toronto has one year of options remaining on Murphy, who has been used almost exclusively as a starter in his time as a Blue Jay. Chances are he remains in that role if he begins the season in AAA, but it’s reasonable to assume he might be one of the first guys up if a bullpen arm is needed in Toronto.
Yennsy Diaz RHP
Like Murphy, Diaz’ future may be in a relief role, where his mid 90s fastball will tick up. Diaz missed a good chunk of what would have been the 2020 season with shoulder issues, but word is that he’s healthy now.
Diaz’ development has been hampered somewhat by control issues and a lack of a dominant third pitch, but his FB-CV combo would play nicely in relief. He’ll probably be in the Buffalo rotation, but could see time in the Toronto bullpen this summer.
Joey Murray RHP
All this guy has done in one and a half minor league seasons is get guys out and miss bats. Watching read outs of his spin rates one night in Lansing in 2019 was one of the great baseball experiences of a long time fan’s baseball life.
Murray may not be a top of the rotation guy, but there’s every reason to believe he can get big league hitters out. He spent last season at the alt site, and while Murray may not get the hype other starting prospects in the system may get, he’s very much in the Blue Jays picture in the long term.
T.J. Zeuch, RHP
It may be hard to envision a role for Zeuch with Toronto in 2021, but he impressed the club enough in a late season start that he was in consideration for a spot on their playoff roster.
Like Diaz and Murphy, Zeuch appears ticketed for a relief role in the long term, but his ability to generate ground balls gives him more of a starter’s profile.
Hector Perez RHP
Perez did not impress in a late-season outing for Toronto, but he has a live arm that should put him on the periphery of another big league trial if injury and/or inconsistency plagues the big league pen.
Jacob Waguespack RHP
Waguespack will likely find himself on the outside looking in when it comes to a big league job, but his ability to start or relieve will mean the Blue Jays will keep him on hand in Buffalo.