Yosver Zulueta is a pitcher that will likely debut in majors this year. In a survey before the season a few experts selected him as a prospect with an outside chance to be in the fight for rookie of the year in the American League. He is currently listed as the number 3 prospect for the Blue Jays in their TOP-30.
Zulueta signed with the Blue Jays for $1 million in 2019, but had a run of bad luck that kept him off the mound for nearly three years. He underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after signing, then went through a pandemic rehab in 2020 and faced just one hitter in 2021 before tearing the ACL in his right knee covering first base in his first game back for Dunedin Blue Jays. Finally healthy in 2022, Zulueta began the year in Class-A and finished Triple-A in a what was strong season.
The flamethrowing from Cuba was selected to the Futures Game, a game in which he ended up being the winning pitcher despite only hurling ⅓ of an inning. Opposing teams frequently requested Zulueta in trade negotiations because of his immense, but to no avail. In 2022, he had a record of 2-5 while stopping at all four levels of the Jays’ organizational pyramid (A, A+, AA and AAA) and his 13.6 strikeout per nine inning ratio was out of the stratosphere, fanning 82 in 54 innings
Zulueta is equipped with a fastball that can hit triple digits, but usually hovers comfortably around 96-97 mph on average, making it particularly effective against left-handed hitters. He also throws his slider almost as often as his fastball against right-handed hitters and has great command of the pitch, throwing it for strikes more consistently to set up his supersonic heater. The Cuban righty has a changeup that hovers around 80 mph and is an above average pitch, but Zulueta has had a hard time throwing it for strikes consistently. His curve is a smoother variation of his slider with a lot of depth and his between 78-80 mph on the radar.
Scouting Grades (20-80):
Fastball: 60|Slider: 60|Curve: 50|Changeup: 50|Control: 40
Zulueta’s velocity and his command suggests he has the tools to be a top end starter, but powerful fastball/slider also could make him a top notch major league reliever and even a 30 save closer at the next level.
In 2023 he will more than likely make the leap to the major leagues at some point during the season. This year he began his season at Triple A and has already made his first start, in three innings he allowed only one hit, struck out six of the 12 opponents he faced and looked very dominant. If this trend continues we will more than likely see Zulueta with the big club and with a chance to fulfill his rookie of the year prophecy.