Yosver Zulueta, RHP, TOR

Sometimes you just have to make a leap into a void of information. Meet Yosver Zulueta.

Video courtesy of BabyJays
  • Born: January 23, 1998
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’1″, 190-lbs
  • Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Why am I showing 17 IP? Because that’s all there is. So what happened to 2019, 2020, and 2021? 2019 was lost to Tommy John surgery, something the Blue Jays knew would be needed when they signed Zulueta. 2020 was, well, we all remember the lost year of 2020. In 2021 he suffered a knee injury requiring surgery. A rough start for a kid who had to defect from Cuba just to have this chance.

So we work with what we got, and what we got is as pure a field of green as you are likely to see. When you are a Low-A batter walking up to the plate, might as well flip a coin to see if you are going to strike out, cuz it was about 50-50. Absolute dominance, but yes, in just 12 IP (4 games started).

So late this week he got bumped to High-A Vancouver, and in his first start there he struck out 8 of the 20 batters he faced while walking only one. Want to see that start? Check out the video above.

Too small a sample to tell us much about platoon splits, but so far it’s about equal dominance across all batters and levels.

So what’s the big deal about a kid who’s actually 24 but hasn’t put up hardly any innings? Enter a scout:

Excerpt from the May 19, 2022 MiLB Daily Sheet from Prospects Live

That’s what Trevor Hooth said just yesterday. Are you kidding me? No wonder the A-ball batters have no chance! Zulueta already has a 4-pitch mix, three of them above average, and pretty good command of them.

The age 24 thing works both ways: It’s a knock against a pitcher only in High-A, but it also means the Blue Jays won’t hesitate to rapidly move him up. This is an arm who could be in Double-A before summer officially begins.

In the big leagues, perhaps out of the pen to begin with, before the season is done? Could happen. You heard it here first.

The Scouts

Warnings

The rankings ignore him, and for good reason. Nothing to go on except what happened in the last month or so. Give them a few weeks and I’ll betcha they all get him on their lists.

He hasn’t faced Double-A yet. Just wait. You won’t wait long.

The injury history must be acknowledged.

Conclusion

Not many pitcher prospects get “ace” potential pinned on them. But here’s one, and the train is just pulling out of the station. There’s plenty of risk here, but here’s the reward that makes the risk worth taking.

He’s the real deal.

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