Chicago Cubs reliever Anthony Kay off to hot start in Spring Training
When Anthony Kay was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays; the thought was he would need to be a reclamation project of sorts. He is the type of arm the Cubs have had recent success with, and so far, he has done a great job this spring with a 0.00 ERA and six punchouts across four innings and three appearances.
Given the track record of Carter Hawkins, sometimes there is more underneath the hood with a specific type of pitcher that he likes. The belief should now be that if the Cubs GM trusts in somebodies ability, he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Kay has posted a 5.48 ERA at the MLB level for his career, so to claim him off waivers initially became puzzling. However, the results thus far have looked very promising.
Kay pitched 21.1 innings in 2022 due to an undisclosed injury, to which he recorded a 5.48 ERA. Notably, he dropped his cutter and changeup from his pitch arsenal in 2022, which is interesting because the batting average allowed of .167/.333/.250 from his cutter was actually the best numbers he recorded among any of his pitches in 2021.
Further mixing up his pitch percentages will do him justice. Going back to 2019, he has consistently utilized his fastball at least 56% of the time. That said, it's easy to understand why he's never allowed an opponent batting average under .280 on the pitch when batters can expect it is coming down the pipe at a near 60% clip.
Regardless, that's Hawkins' expertise. Kay survived the fast wave of roster moves, so obviously, the front office wants to see more of what he has to offer. Whether or not we can expect him to break camp with the big league roster remains to be seen, but If what we saw above is the new norm, we will soon see him at the major league level in the 2023 season.