Toronto Blue Jays: Thomas Hatch continues to build off of exceptional 2020 season
What Thomas Hatch has been able to prove so far this season is that what he showed last season was no fluke.
In 26.1 innings pitched mainly out of the bullpen, Hatch flashed with a 2.73 ERA, 23 strikeouts while allowing opposing batters to hit .191. In his first appearance this spring, the 26-year-old didn’t allow a hit while striking out two through two innings.
"“Ultimately, it’s a boost of confidence,” Hatch told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi after his spring start. “Going through a few months of resting allowed me to (reflect) and it was pretty special. Obviously, it was not a normal season, so I haven’t experienced everything this has to offer, which I’m looking forward to doing sometime in the near future. But it felt really good looking back and I feel like I’m in a good place going forward. It was a good stepping stone, maybe to get (back) into a starter role, to get that confidence going, get my feet wet.”"
The team has been stretching out Hatch as a starter since they have enough options in the bullpen. It helps that Hatch was pitching in high leverage situations last season but it’s also crucial that he develops another pitch beyond his fastball and changeup.
The Blue Jays believe that Hatch’s spin rate makes him an asset in the rotation considering he doesn’t throw it too hard. At this stage, Toronto seems confident throwing everything they can think of at Hatch and if he continues to thrive, they’ll be thrilled.
"“He’s certainly a guy that has the ability to be an outstanding Major League starter with his mound presence, his arsenal; his pitches are all Major League caliber,” pitching coach Pete Walker told MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson, “so I’m really excited about this guy.”"
Worst case for the Blue Jays is that they have to move Hatch back into the bullpen or to triple-A Buffalo to maximize his skill set.