In years past, we’ve been forced to sit and watch as top-end draft picks decided to walk away from the Jays instead of signing with the club. Whether it was Tyler Beede last year (21st overall), Logan Ehlers (8th rd) and Tyler Shreeve (10th rd) in 2010, or James Paxton (37th overall) – Jake Eliopoulos (2nd rd) – Jake Barrett (3rd rd) in 2009, the Jays have has a really hard time getting all of their top 10 rd picks to sign.
Well, they didn’t have the same problem this year!
There are 2 considerations that make this year’s crop of signings particularly impressive. Not only did the Jays have more stringent rules and regulations to abide by under the new CBA, but they also drafted extremely aggressively. Many of their picks were “hard signs” and executives and experts all over believed that the Jays would be hard pressed to get the majority of their top picks to sign. Kudos to Alex Anthopoulos, Andrew Tinnish, and his team, because they got their entire top 10 round picks (14 of them in all) to sign, and did so without surrendering a draft pick in next year’s draft!
The hardest signings of this draft for the Jays included Matt Smoral, Marcus Stroman, D.J. Davis, and Chase Dejong. However, the one signing that took EVERYONE by surprise and gave the Jays the “steal of the draft” was none other than super-athlete Anthony Alford. He has a chance to be one tremendous baseball player if he decides to take it on full-time, and could become the best pick of this draft class for the Jays if he makes good on his talents. Most experts agreed pre-draft that he was one of the most talented athletes in the draft. Marcus Stroman was also believed to be the most likely to reach the majors first, making him a tough sign as well.
Of all MLB teams, the Jays impressed the experts most in this year’s draft. For example, the Jays were noted for having 6 of their top 7 picks in the top 45 ranked prospects of the pre-draft list put out by Baseball America. To do so, and then successfully sign ALL of them, is an impressive feat to say the least. Here are some interesting numbers when it comes to this year’s draft for the Jays.
- The Jays spent $9,272,000 on this year’s draft, putting them $441,200 over their $8,830,800 bonus pool budget.
- They signed all but 12 of their 44 picks (73%).
- In 2011, the Jays signed all but 20 of their 55 picks (64%) and in 2010, the Jays sign all but 21 of their 56 picks (63%). The comparison indicates how well the Jays did this year in comparison to years past.
- Not only did the Jays sign all of their top 10 round picks and a greater percentage of all of their picks, but they did so while spending less ($9.272 million compared with $11 million in 2011).
- RHP Ryan Borucki (15th rd pick), received a $426,000 bonus, making him one of the priciest Jays picks outside the top 5 rds.
- The Jays missed out on their top Canadian pick, Ryan Kellogg (12th rd), but did manage to secure 3 Canadians in this class: LHP Shane Dawson (17th rd, Alberta), OF Nathan DeSouza (26th rd, Ontario), and 3B Shane Valeriote (39th rd, Ontario).
Just an extra couple of notes here, Stroman made his Vancouver debut earlier this week and gave up 2 ER through 0.2 IP, giving up 3 hits and 1 BB in the process. Meanwhile, Matt Smoral was assigned to Lansing and placed immediately on their 7-day DL, and Anthony Alford has already hit his 1st HR of the season and has stolen 4 bases in only 18 ABs while playing for the GCL Blue Jays.
Overall, I’d say that the Jays did stray a little from their latest draft strategy of picking arms steadily through the first few rounds, but they definitely added a ton of top-notch talent with this class. One (Stroman) from this class talent may be ready to help the Jays as early as 2012, and the remainder should be ready to help supplement the impressive 2010-2011 classes acquired by Alex Anthopoulos and his staff. There may be fewer top ranked players locked up by the Jays in this draft, as they spent very little on signing the 2nd half of their top 10 rd picks (most signing for $1000 to $5000), but they definitely got more top-end talent locked up than the majority of other MLB teams if the scouting experts are correct on assessing the talent pool of this draft class.
The 2012 Jays Draft Signings have to be considered a resounding success. I, for one, can’t imagine the Jays doing any better than they did in locking up as much talent as possible.
What are your thoughts on this year’s class in comparison to the last 2 years?