On Sunday, the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a trade that will land Marcus Stroman in Flushing. You can read more about the trade by , and about the potential ramifications for the Mets and the pitching market as a whole by . The purpose of this article, meanwhile, is to examine the two pitching prospects the Blue Jays received in return: left-hander Anthony Kay and right-hander Simeon Woods-Richardson.
Kay, 24, is a former first-round pick by way of the University of Connecticut. Though he was drafted in 2016, he didn’t debut until 2018 because of Tommy John surgery. Kay has since moved quickly, reaching Triple-A this season for seven starts. His numbers there haven’t impressed — he has a 6.61 ERA with a bloated home-run rate — but the big-league ball is partially to blame.
Because Kay is close to the majors and because he throws strikes and has three average or better offerings — giving him the potential to become a No. 4 starter — he might get described as a “safe” prospect. There is more downside risk here than it seems, however — and not just injury-wise. Both his swing-and-miss and flyball rates are on the low end for a prospect. Depending on the Jays’ evaluation of Kay’s game, he could debut in the majors this year.
Woods-Richardson, on the other hand, is years away from reaching the majors. Heck, he won’t turn 20 until September … 2020. He was one of the youngest draftees in last year’s class, though that hasn’t stopped him from striking out 97 batters in 78 innings in A-ball.
Woods-Richardson feels like a potential No. 3 starter. He has the requisite frame (he’s listed at 6-foot-3) and athleticism, as well as the arsenal building blocks (a potentially plus-grade fastball and curveball). The question is how much he can improve his changeup and command. If the answer proves to be “not enough,” he could pitch the late innings.
Kay and Woods-Richardson were ranked No. 4 and No. 6 on the Mets farm by MLB.com. They’re now two of the better starting prospects in the Blue Jays organization. Behind Nate Pearson, for sure, but in the conversation with this year’s first-round pick Alek Manoah and Brazilian teenager Eric Pardinho for the second-through-fourth best arms in the system.
On the Mets side, their farm system already ranked on the low end. If there is a bright side, they drafted two quality arms in June in Matthew Allan (their third-round pick) and Josh Wolf. With David Peterson and Franklyn Kilome on the shelf. either Kevin Smith or Thomas Szapucki is their best healthy starting prospect who has more extensive professional experience.