Welcome to edition six 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 , 35-31 , 30-26 , 25-21 , and 20-16
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.
The Jays had a very clear, defined strategy this past draft. They drafted some very tough signs in the first three rounds. If they were unable to get those prospects to put pen to paper, they mitigated some of the risk by taking some of high end athletes with strong commitments in the lower rounds in the hopes that, if money wasn’t spent in first few rounds, it could be allocated later. As we saw in the first couple 2012 draft class editions, even with a 100% signing record in the first few rounds, they still were able to lock up about 50% in rounds thirty through forty. These next five names are interesting as well. A few were upper round talents who slid down boards because of signability concerns or injury history. I’ve said this before, there is no such thing as a guarantee in the baseball draft, but the three below that signed, are far more likely to stick than the next edition, despite being drafted lower.
Ryan Borucki- 15th Round – 475 Overall – Signed July 10th – A 6’4″ projectable left-hander. After putting up a ridiculous 9.5
K/BB ratio in his last year of high school, Borucki was put on the shelf in March with an elbow problem that was initially thought to require Tommy John surgery. The injury served to strengthen his commitment to the University of Iowa, but when the elbow healed faster than expected, and the Jays came calling with a well over slot 426k bonus, things changed (for the better if you are Jays fan). Borucki’s first year of pro ball was limited, as the Jays paid more attention to arm strengthening than innings. Still, and I am as wary to small sample syndrome as the next, it is hard not to get a bit excited about kid that struck out ten in his six innings of work. Ryan took part in the Jays instuctional league, but as per this tweet from Kiley McDaniel, who has been writing a great series on the Jays instructs over at Fangraphs, his stuff was pretty ordinary. Can only hope that doesn’t mean the elbow has flared up again. With so few innings under his belt in 2012, there is no doubt (if healthy) Borucki will do another turn at short-season ball. Only question is whether that is back in the GCL or the Jays are willing to give him a chance at Bluefield.
Zakery Wasilewski- 14th Round – 445 Overall – Signed June 11th – Another prep lefty, Wasilewski differed from Borucki only in the fact that his elbow injury did end up requiring Tommy John surgery, which apparently caused a bit of a drop in his draft status. The surgery took place in his junior season, but as a senior, things seemed ok, with ZK throwing 38 innings, striking out over two men per inning. At 6’1″ 190 pounds, Zak already flashes a low to mid 90′s fastball. I haven’t read much on how clean his delivery is, but at his stature, is hard to project much more. It’s how his secondary pitches develop which will tell how far Zak can go. His initial foray in pro ball didn’t go all that well, giving up 30 hits and 19 earned runs in 21.2 innings pitched. His control really let him down with 7.89 BB/9. That being said, his BABIP was a high .414 and only one left the yard, lowering his FIP to 4.77, over three runs below his ERA. He also struck out close to a hitter per inning. So there is positives. Next season will be another short season assignment where the focus will be on throwing strikes. If he manages that, combined with a steady improvement in his other peripherals, he may see Vancouver by the end of the season.
John Silviano – 13th Round – 415 Overall – Signed June 11th – And, all of a sudden, the Jays have gone from having enviable depth at catcher to being a bit short in the upper levels. Obviously, John is a long way away from the upper levels, if, in fact, he ever gets there, but people will start paying a lot more attention to these rookie ball backstops now that Travis D’Arnaud isn’t pencilled into the major league lineup for the next ten years. Drafted out of Florida, Silviano turned down his scholarship to North Florida, signing quickly with the Jays and debuting with the GCL Jays as a 17 year old. And like most of the teenagers in Florida, John struggled. As a quick example, I filtered the GCL team by teenagers who had at least 70 plate appearances. The highest OPS was .774 and that was one of only two that was over .700. Still, when mining for positives, there are some obvious ones. A 15.6% BB rate shows an advanced feel for the zone at such an early age. His BABIP was also a ridiculously low .179 which says he was either very unlucky or any contact made was weak. As per this scouting report (#5) scouts do think there may be some pop in his bat which should mean he’ll find a few more holes next year. He’d be a bit young for Bluefield, but it is a definite possibility that is where he begins 2013.
Ryan Kellogg – 12th Round – 385 Overall – Unsigned – For Canadians, probably the most disappointing player to go unsigned was Kellogg. The consensus top Canuck in the draft, as per this article, both Ryan and his agent had a number that would have him forego his scholarship to Arizona State. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) after being able to lock up all their upper round picks, the Jays just didn’t have the available bonus pool to match Kellogg’s demands. One hopes the Whitby, Ontario native will be a Jay in three years, but if his development progresses well, then they won’t have much say in the matter as Ryan may very well be a top ten pick. At the junior world championship, Kellogg pitched well in helping Canada to a silver medal finish. With a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings pitched, Kellogg will be looking forward to his freshmen season in Arizona. One to keep an eye on.
Grant Heyman – 11th Round – 355 Overall – Unsigned – A three sport star in high school, and a big boy to boot at 6’4″ 200 pounds, Heyman slipped through the Jays fingers despite this article insinuating that he was willing to sign. Whether it was a money situation or the fact that the University of Miami gave him the opportunity to walk on to the football team, something drew Grant away from pro ball. I searched through the UM football roster and despite there being five quarterbacks, Heyman wasn’t on the list. Will allow him to focus on baseball at least, will be an interesting name to look for in three years.