If you were like me during this draft, you were a little stunned at just how many arms the Jays added and how few bats were taken. I was screaming for them to take a potential impact bat with their 3rd 1st rd supplemental pick, but they chose to take yet another arm. So, I took a couple of days off to watch what they had up their sleeves and to digest what the jays accomplished during this draft. Before I review rds 1-3, I’d like to make the following points about what they drafted overall:
- Concentrating on pitching makes perfect sense if you are a team that wants to build from within. Not only does it provide your squad with a consistent stream of pitcher that mitigates the injury risk that is inherent with pitching, but it also lessens the chances that you’ll be forced to sign a FA pitcher for $80 million or more for 4-5 years. That’s key for a team like the Jays that has limited funds and wants to compete with the Yankees. Because they know they’ll have to let those guys go when they reach that point, much like the Indians have done with CC and Cliff Lee, they must ensure they have the next wave of arms ready to roll.
- The next highest number of picks included a majority of middle infielders and a few outfielders that display different tools – most middle infielders project to be able to switch to 3B if necessary, and there are some speedy and power outfielders taken in this draft, even if they are not numerous. Let’s face it, with the bunch of guys the jays have on their team already and what they have in the minors, there just isn’t much that they need. Fred Lewis, Vernon Wells, and Travis Snider are going to be around for the foreseeable future, with Jake Marisnick, Darin Mastroianni, and Eric Thames providing some depth in the OF on the minors side. The infield is 3/4 set with Brett Wallace, Aaron Hill, and Adeiny Hechavarria sticking around for the long term. The infield also has a plethora of guys coming up from the minors, including Ryan Schimpf, Brad Emaus, Ryan Goins, and Oliver Dominguez. Therefore, not concetrating the draft so much on position players makes 100% sense for the Jays – especially when you consider the lack of assured talent that existed at those positions this year.
- What the Jays did extremely well in this draft was to take pitchers that have completely different styles from one another and that have different assuredness levels of talent. They took the “sure thing” types like Deck McGuire and Asher Wojciechowski (now that I learned how to spell Rzepczynski without looking, I guess he’s next!) and added a plethora of High School “high ceiling” guys like Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, and Justin Nicolino to the mix. They did concentrate on RHP early on but added plenty of LHP down the line, the best of which was Griffin Murphy, someone you’ll learn to love as a Jays fan I’m sure because his stuff has continously gotten better as he gains experience.
- The top position player taken was in fact someone who could potentially fill the future hole at 3B in Kellen Sweeney. He had a great workout with the Jays and has quick hands and a great arm. He’s joined by yet another high school infielder in Christopher Hawkins, a speedster who could play 3B in a Chone Figgins style, or who may wind up in CF. The OF prospects are led by one of my favorite surprises of this draft for the jays in Marcus Knecht who will probably wind up playing LF. He has a cannon for an arm and more power than all but 1 of the players the Jays drafted this year.
I’ll kick off the Jays Draft Review with a look at the 1st pick ever chosen under the Alex Anthopolous ERA, with Andrew Tinnish supervising and advising the draft, Deck McGuire.
RHP – Deck McGuire – 20 yrs old (will be 21 in june) – 6’6″ 220 lbs - Jr out of Georgia Tech – Scouted 12 times by Jays scouts and exectuives before the draft
Deck was expected to be drafted by the DBacks, within the top 10, so for him to be available for the Jays at #11 was a bonus. While many were clamoring for the Jays to take Chris Sale instead of Deck McGuire, someone who had more hype and perhaps a slightly higher ceiling, I’m glad the Jays decided to take Deck instead. People keep labelling Deck as someone with a #3 workhorse potential. Well, in my eyes when I look at Brett Cecil being the #3 starter on our staff, I’ll gladly take on another Brett Cecil with wide open arms! The great thing about Deck is that he pitches from the right side, while his most comparable future team mate, Chad Jenkins, pitches from the right side. Both are expected to be workhorses that are big, strong, and give their team a chance to win every single night. Not only are they expected to be #3 caliber guys, but both are also expected to be ready as early as 2011 for Chad and late 2011 or 2012 for Deck, meaning that they’ll be merging with Henderson Alvarez and Kyle Drabek to give the Jays a potent foursome to consider when required.
As for pitches, here’s where I believe some people under rate him and cause him to be considered a #3 starter ceiling guy. He’s got a low to mid 90s fastball and commands all of his other 3 pitches very well. He has a slider, a curve, and a change up to work with and locates his pitches very well. The key to Deck’s ceiling is his learning the ability of using his size to his advantage, something he has yet to fully harness. With his height and size, he should be able to pound the lower part fo the strike zone with consistency and with such a downward plane that hitters would have a hard time making good contact. Every tall pitcher usually comes out of college or high school a little “off-balance”, meaning that they have a hard time repeating their delivery – not so in Deck’s case. His delivery is smooth, has a great foundation, and is very repeatable. Therefore, if Jays coaches can get Deck to introduce a splitter and to learn to use that god given size and height to his advantage, I fully believe he has #2 potential because he commands his pitches so well and is a already so smooth on the mound for his size.
Deck immediately slides in right behind Chad Jenkins on the talent chart of Jays pitchers and was the right pick at #11. The Jays need to have strong pitching in the AL East, and keeping your pitching cheap is key because it’s such a volatile position in terms of injuries. Getting involved in long term pricey contracts with pitchers makes little sense for the Jays and they are doing the right thing by stockpiling an arsenal of arms, the likes of which no Jays fan has ever seen. The jays still need to sign all of these guys before declaring any sort of victory in terms of talent added in this draft, but I believe Deck leads a contingent that will prove to be one of the most loaded talent pools the Jays have had in their system in a very long time. Only time will tell, I guess.
Look for Deck to sign quickly and head to Auburn for a short season. If he signs late, he could wind up sitting out 2010 and kicking things off in LoA or HiA next season.