Welcome to edition three of the 2012 Draft Class retrospective, a regular installment this off-season, looking, in descending order, at the Jays 2012 draft class and how they fared this season. This being the first draft under the new agreement whereby teams were penalized for going over their allotted bonus pool, most picks who signed, did so early, and therefore were able to make their pro debuts much quicker than in years past. For the previous editions, check 40-36 and 35-31.
I won’t be trying to rank these prospects in any particular order. Am sure we’ll see numerous efforts at prospect rankings over the winter. These pieces will simply be a quick breakdown of where the player played, how they did, where they may land in 2013, etc.
This version of the piece is the last where the unsigned picks outnumber the signed. And the first written from the cool climes of Northern England. I don’t think we’re sitting on any diamonds in the rough this low. But that’s the beauty of the mlb draft. There always seems to be someone from the lower rounds that confounds expectations and makes his way to the big leagues. The Aaron Guiel pick we’ll call it:
Devin Pearson – 30th Round – 925 Overall – Unsigned – Here’s a link to a prospect video of Devin, I got bored after about three minutes as camera angle isn’t great and neither is the song. It also lists his accomplishments in both baseball and basketball. As California is one of the hotbeds of US high school baseball this is probably quite impressive. Reading further the story gets a bit more interesting. Pearson definitely looks like another high risk/high reward lower round pick for the Jays. After not being asked to Stanford to play football (another quarterback – see pick 112) the center fielder decided to play summer ball in an effort to impress college recruiters. According to what I’ve read, he turned down the Jays without a scholarship in his pocket. A ballsy move, but in his best interests, as he’d devoted most of his high school efforts towards football. Finally realizing baseball may be the way forward, Pearson decided to wait for the right college, eventually choosing UC Berkeley. His athletic ability is obvious, will definitely be interested to see how he fares against college pitching on a team that reached the college world series in 2010.
Cole Irvin - 29th Round – 895 Overall – Unsigned – as per this write up (which interestingly includes other Blue Jay draft picks in both the trending up and down sections) ESPN had him going late in day 1 or early in day 2 as a flier based on his commitment to Oregon. Like other Jays lower round picks you would have to think Irvin would have been a project at best. At 6’4″ 160 pounds he should definitely add a tick or two to his fastball as his frame develops. And left handed pitching is always in high demand. How he develops his secondary offerings and controls his fastball at college should tell us how he will trend in three years. I’ve seen reports that he will be an upper round pick, but that’s easier said than done. Another one to keep an eye on.
Daniel Klein- 28th Round – 865 Overall – Signed 11 June – Drafted out of Kansas State University, Dan played the entire season
for the Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians. He led the team’s four catchers in virtually every statistical category. However, if you look at the numbers, it wasn’t a season that will get much attention. He also gave way to Tucker Frawley for games two and three of the championship series which, given Frawley’s .465 regular season OPS doesn’t speak well for Klein. A decent defensive catcher, throwing out 32% of potential base-stealers, Klein will probably be looked upon as organizational filler. If Dan repeats a level next season, he will be usurped as the starting catcher (at least for first half of the season) by Santiago Nessy. If he starts the year in Lansing he’ll need to show a bit more with the bat to see significant playing time.
Daniel Zamora – 27th Round – 835 Overall – Unsigned – The second lefty pitcher in this section of the draft to go unsigned. At 6’2″ and 185 pounds, Zamora wouldn’t be considered a pure project such as Cole Irvin. He led his Californian high school Bishop Amat with a 2.08 era over 65 innings pitched. Unfortunately I am really struggling to find much more on Zamora other than that he had a commitment to Stony Brook college in New York which he obviously decided to honor. Good luck to him.
Nathan DeSouza- 26th Round – 805 Overall – Signed 03 July – The second Canadian to make this particular list and a lifelong Jays fans to boot. DeSouza is a corner outfielder drafted out of Drury High School in Milton Ontario. Signed in early July, DeSouza made thirty-two plate appearances for the GCL Jays before heading off to the Canadian Junior National team. Obviously it is tough to glean anything from such a small sample size but looking through the stats, he did show a little bit of pop with an ISO of .172. I tracked down the stats from the IBAF under 18 World Championships. They’re a bit tough to cycle through, but in a nutshell they weren’t great. Again, small sample size. DeSouza is young, only turning 18 in July. Another short season assignment is in the offing.
There we have it. Two signees that didn’t really catch the eye in their first season of pro ball. That being said, Klein’s playoff and DeSouza’s international experience should help them as they look to make a jump next season.