T.J. Zeuch

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Timothy James Zeuch

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher T.J. Zeuch was first drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 31st round of the 2013 amateur draft, out of high school, but decided to attend college instead. After three years at the University of Pittsburgh, he was drafted again in 2016, this time by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 21st pick of the first round. He signed for a bonus of $2.1 million.

Zeuch made his professional debut in 2016, pitching for three different teams: the GCL Blue Jays, the Vancouver Canadians and the Lansing Lugnuts. In addition to earning a ton of air miles, he went 0-2, 4.50 in 9 games and 34 innings. In 2017, he was set back by a back injury and was limited to 12 games with the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League, where he was 3-4, 3.38 in 58 2/3 innings. He also made 3 appearances back in the Gulf Coast League, on a rehabilitation assignment, and pitched 5 games in the Arizona Fall League after the season. He had a first full season in 2018, starting off at Dunedin and spending the bulk of the year with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He was 3-3, 3.47 in Class A and 9-5, 3.08 for the Eastern League champions, for a combined pitching line of 12-8, 3.17. He logged 156 1/3 innings and the only negative was a relatively low strikeout rate, with 105, against 40 walks.

On August 19, 2019, he pitched a nine-inning no-hitter for the AAA Buffalo Bisons against the Rochester Red Wings, winning 3-0. His season had started late because of a pulled lat muscle suffered in spring training, and the no-hitter came in just his 11th start, including a couple of rehabilitation outings with Dunedin. The injury came at a bad time for him, as the Jays were auditioning all sorts of pitchers to fill out their starting rotation at the major league level, and he missed out on an early opportunity to show what he could do in the Show. He ended the year with a combined record of 4-3, 3.74 in 15 games and 86 2/3 innings. He was called up to Toronto when rosters expanded in September and made his debut on September 3rd, giving up 2 runs in 4 innings as the "bulk man" in a game against the Atlanta Braves started by opener Wilmer Font. He pitched 5 times that season, including 3 starts, going 1-2, 4.76.

He spent almost all of the shortened 2020 season at the Blue Jays' alternate training site, before being called up late in the season. His first appearance only came on September 17th and he ended up appearing in 3 games, once as a starter and twice as a reliever. He was credited in a win over the New York Yankees on September 21st when he pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief, allowing 1 run on 1 hit. He was excellent in his final outing, pitching 5 scoreless innings in a start against the Baltimore Orioles on September 26th and ended up with a no-decision. Overall, his ERA was 1.59 that season. In 2021, he started the season in the Jays' starting rotation as a result of injuries to some of the team's expected starters, although the longer-term plan was to turn him into a multiple-inning reliever.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Andrew Zuber: "Blue Jays prospect T.J. Zeuch throws no-hitter at Triple-A", Yahoo Canada Sports, August 19, 2019. [1]

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