In 2018 Tejay Antone was returning from Tommy John surgery, and pitched half of a season with the Daytona Tortugas as he worked his way back to the mound. When the 2019 season began the Cincinnati Reds sent the right-handed starter to join their new Double-A affiliate in Double-A Chattanooga to pitch for the Lookouts.
The season got out to a solid, but unspectacular start for Tejay Antone as he allowed three runs in 5.2 innings with four walks and five strikeouts. Over the next two starts he allowed four runs in 11.1 innings, but then hit a snag against Tennessee where he was charged with three earned and two more unearned in 3.0 innings. Antone would close out the month with a strong start at home against Biloxi, giving up just two earned runs in 6.0 innings with seven strikeouts. Overall he posted a 4.15 ERA in five starts and 26.0 innings with 11 walks and 24 strikeouts.
Building on a strong final start of April, Tejay Antone carried that forward into May. He was charged with two unearned runs in his first two starts of the month that covered 12.0 innings. The third start of the month would be his worst, which tells us how good the month was, as he was charged with three earned runs in 5.2 innings. In the final week of the month Antone made two more starts, allowing five earned in 12.0 innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts. During May he posted a 2.43 ERA with four walks and 24 strikeouts in 29.2 innings pitched. He also didn’t allow a home run.
June began with a continuation of what had been happening during May. In what was arguably the best start of the season by Tejay Antone, he allowed just one hit in 8.0 innings with seven strikeouts to begin the month. Things didn’t continue down that path, though. His next two starts saw him allow eight earned runs in 11.0 innings. But a strong season to that point earned him a promotion to Triple-A Louisville. The juiced baseball didn’t welcome Antone as he was welcomed by giving up 10 earned in 11.1 innings in his first two games with the Bats. June would go down as the worst month of the season by ERA for the right-hander, as he posted a 5.34 ERA in 30.1 innings over his five starts. That came with 10 walks and 28 strikeouts while giving up just one home run.
With June behind him, Tejay Antone picked things up to start July. Over his first three starts of the month he kept the runs in check, giving up just three earned over 15.0 innings. But things caught up to him in the next three starts as he allowed 12 earned in 15.1 innings while allowing 25 hits and four home runs. July saw Antone allow five home runs – more than he had allowed in the previous three months combined – and post a 4.45 ERA in his six games.
August began with what was easily the worst start of the season for Tejay Antone. Taking on Toledo for the second straight start he allowed four runs in the first inning and didn’t return for the second. The 25-year-old rebounded well, though. Over his next four starts he allowed just six earned in 22.0 innings (2.45 ERA) with 25 strikeouts. In the final start of that stretch he threw 7.0 shutout innings with a walk and nine strikeouts. On September 1st he made his final start of the season and picked up a season high 10 strikeouts without a walk while giving up just two runs in 7.0 innings. Over the final six starts of the season he posted a 3.60 ERA in 30.0 innings with two home runs allowed, 12 walks, and he struck out 35 batters.
For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Tejay Antone Scouting Report
Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 205 lbs | Drafted: 5th Round, 2014
Fastball | The pitch has good movement on both planes, working in the 89-92 MPH range and tops out around 95.
Curveball | An average to above-average offering that works in the mid-70’s.
Slider | A pitch that improved throughout the year and is now an average to above-average offering.
Change Up | It’s a below-average offering.
There are some things to like when it comes to what Tejay Antone brings to the table. He gets big time ground ball numbers (55.3% for both his career and for 2019), has two good breaking balls, and he throws strikes. He’s started for his entire career in the minors, but he probably profiles better as a reliever where the fastball velocity may play up a little bit and the breaking balls could potentially follow suit.
As a starting pitcher, Antone profiles as a fringe #5 starter/swingman type of guy. The fastball velocity, and the change up just leave so little room for error that he’s got to be perfect with those pitches right now.
Having just been added to the 40-man roster this past offseason, I’d expect him to remain in the rotation in Triple-A in case there’s some depth needed in the rotation at some point – but much like has happened with Lucas Sims, if and when a need arises in the bullpen at the Major League level, a call up to fill out a spot in the rotation could be on the table.
Interesting Stat on Tejay Antone
He showed pretty big home/road splits in 2019. There’s a lot of stats here, but it’s really interesting.
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If you were designing the perfect physique for a professional pitcher, Antone could be the prototype. Nice height, broad shoulders, strong lower body. When he pitched in Dayton the team had one of the best Top 3 in the league, Antone, Mahle, and Strahan, The three benefited from the coaching of Tom Browning that year and it all clicked. Unfortunately Wyatt and Teejay had Tommy John along the way or they might be on par with Tyler right now.
Being on a par with Tyler Mahle is not necessarily a good thing. He had much success in MiLB but has struggled in 2 years at MLB level. He may turn it around but so far, not so much.
Good height. Three above average to average MLB pitches. In 2020 one more year removed from tj surgery. With the new Pitching Coordinator can he be turned into an asset or is he destined to be the dreaded “system filler?”
Guys that make it onto the 40-man aren’t ever “system filler”.
Wild splits home and away. The variance is huge. Two different players. Any ideas why?
Not really. Sometimes it just works out that way. His worst start of the year came at home in Louisville. But all four games in which he allowed 5 earned came on the road. He also allowed four earned in three starts – one was that home game in Louisville that lasted just one inning. The other two games were on the road. And then he also had a start on the road where he allowed three in 3.0 innings.
In his career, like most guys, he’s been better at home than on the road. Maybe hotel beds just really suck.