Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: Yosver Zulueta remains an intriguing relief prospect

Photo credit:Blue Jays PR
Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
We all love our hard throwing pitchers.
This is the 40-man Roster Review, in which we’re going to take a look back at each player on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster, and how they performed in 2023, as well as their outlook for 2024.
The Blue Jays signed Yosver Zulueta in 2019 knowing that he was going to need Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2020, which wasn’t a problem because of COVID. What they didn’t anticipate was that in the first inning after an impressive 2021 spring training that he would tear his ACL.
Zulueta was fast tracked up the Jays minor league ladder as a 24-year-old in 2022, posting a 3.72 ERA and a 3.32 FIP in 55.2 innings pitched between Single-A, High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. Altogether, he had a 33.9 K% and a 12.9 BB%, with the K% dropping and the BB% increasing the higher the level. It’s also worth noting that by the time he reached the upper minors, he only started three of the 12 games he appeared in.
Prior to the start of the 2023 season, Zulueta was added to the 40-man roster, as he was Rule 5 eligible. The flame throwing right-handed pitcher had a 4.08 ERA and a 4.07 FIP in 64 innings pitched, along with a 25.4 K% and a 15.7 BB% with the Triple-A Buffalo. Zulueta started his first six games, posting a 4.80 ERA and a 5.31 FIP in 15 innings with a 22.5 K% and an 18.3 BB% before moving to the bullpen.
After moving to the bullpen, Zulueta had a 3.86 ERA and a 3.70 FIP in 49 innings pitched, along with a 26.4 K% and a 14.8 BB%. The Cuban-born pitcher is currently pitching in the Dominican Winter League with Leones del Escogido, and has a 5.79 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched, along with a 34.1 K% and a 12.2 BB% in eight relief appearances.
Like most young flamethrowers, the walk rate remains high as he’s struggled with command and control the past two seasons. It doesn’t help that he missed two full seasons with major injuries, which took away vital development time.
Still, Zulueta’s stuff is incredibly intriguing, as his fastball sat at 95.5 mph this season, but has touched as high as 100 mph. His second best pitch are the two different variations of the slider (one being a sweeper), that generates a whiff % between 41.9% and 44.8%. Zulueta also features a curveball that has a 25 whiff%, and a changeup he only threw 31 times, and had a 33.3 whiff%.
It’s to be seen if the Jays move him back to being a starter, but his stuff certainly plays in the big leagues, and he really has a shot at becoming an impactful player if he can control his walk rate.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.


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