Welcome to edition eight 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 out 40-36 , 35-31 , 30-26 , 25-21 , 20-16 , 15-11 and 10-6
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..
After clearing up the last two bonus saving college seniors we start to arrive at some of the upper end talents that received some of those saved dollars. The Jays saved themselves close to 1.25mm, in relation to slot, by drafting college seniors in rounds 4-10. Near enough half of those savings were then allocated to two of the picks below. Anthony Alford received 326k over slot to be a football player and Chase DeJong was paid as a compensation round pick (as he predicted on twitter). Although the Jays strategy was generally lauded as a clever way to ensure they get as much upper end talent inked, it still carries risks. The team’s philosophy of drafting raw but projectable talent has so far not really borne fruit. There will be pressure to turn some of the names below, and in the final installment of the 2012 draft review, into bona-fine major leaguers.
Brad Delatte – 5th Round – 175 Overall – Signed June 11th – There really isn’t a ton to say about Brad. His University career is covered quite well by Jared’s draft recap and as for his ’12 pro debut, it didn’t last long. Delatte only threw a third of a inning for the Vancouver Canadians facing four batters, giving up a hit and hitting a batter. I can’t find any information as to why his appearances were limited and am not going to kill myself looking when we have much more exciting prospects to get to.
Tucker Donahue – 4th Round – 145 Overall – Signed June 6th – Between Tucker and Brad the Jays saved $529,800 in bonus money when looking at slot numbers. That’s probably the most positive thing we can say about these two. Like Delatte, Donahue’s college career is covered nicely in the link above. Unlike Brad, Tucker’s pro career lasted the course, making twenty-two appearances for the C’s. Most of them were of the one inning variety, yet only one resulted in a save. Looking at his peripherals, Tucker gave up over a hit per inning and half a walk per inning which equates to a 1.675 WHIP. Those numbers aren’t going to see you advance that far up the organizational ladder. I’d say Tucker gets another crack with Vancouver next year, he’ll need to improve to carry on his affiliated pro career.
Anthony Alford – 3rd Round – 112 Overall – Signed June 11th – Now things are starting to get exciting. After wading through the
college seniors, Alford is the first pick we get to where the saved bonus pool money was allocated. I’ve written about Alford a couple of times documenting his recent arrest and departure from Southern Mississippi. Since those pieces, I haven’t seen anything confirming his next move but rumours still persist Alford will be with Ol’ Miss in 2013. And from what I understand (which has been confirmed in some quarters) by transferring Alford will need to sit a year before being eligible to play football in 2014. By taking this route you can infer that Anthony still believes, despite his dismal 2012 season, that he can be a division one college quarterback and is not going to focus his energies solely on baseball. Where that leaves him with the Jays is unclear. Many pundits had Alford as the top pure athlete in last year’s draft. A potent mix of speed and power, Alford projects as a dynamic outfielder with 30/30 potential. Of course, the flip-side is that he is very raw and if he doesn’t get full season reps over the next year or two then baseball may pass him by.
The sample size from 2012 is too small to comment on. Where do the Jays assign him in 2013? Do they throw him in the deep end of Lansing with other top prospects D.J. Davis and Dalton Pompey in order to get him as many at bats as possible before he heads back to school? Or do they hold him back at extended spring training to get him as much instruction as possible before a brief Bluefield experience? Whatever the direction they take, this season could be very important for Alford’s fledgling baseball career.
Chase DeJong – 2nd Round – 81 Overall – Signed July 1st – Two words come to mind when discussing Chase are ‘pitchability’ and ‘projection’. Pitchability because reading the various pre-draft scouting reports on him you get the impression that his stuff isn’t all that eye popping but he gets hitters out using his brain and advanced feel for the mound. As he only just turned 19 that’s good news. The other piece of good news is that at 6’4″ 185 pounds DeJong does project to throw harder as he fills out. As his fastball tops out in the low 90s right now, it may become a plus offering as he develops. Over at fangraphs, Kiley McDaniel saw Chase twice during the post-season instructional league and came away impressed with both the potential of the fast ball and the feel for the change up, which points to improvement since he was drafted.
DeJong’s pro debut saw some pretty nice stats, but once again, is hard to get excited when the sample size is so small. That being said, fifteen strike outs against only one walk in twelve innings pitched is pretty positive. Next year, it will be very interesting to see what weight DeJong arrives to camp at. An assignment to Bluefield is on the cards with a mid-season promotion to Vancouver provided all goes well.
Tyler Gonzales – Compensation Round – 60 Overall – Signed June 11th – Signed for 100k below slot value, Gonzales is another projectable prep righty. His pre-draft scouting reports had his fastball sitting in the mid-90s with the ability to crank that up to the high 90s on occasion. This was with a noisy delivery however, something that Kiley mentions was cleaned up as per the link above. This cost him a few ticks off the fastball but if keeps him healthier in the long run it will be for the best. Tyler’s slider is viewed as a plus offering and despite McDaniel’s assertions that ‘he didn’t have great feel for his off-speed pitches in this outing’, it is still viewed as a weapon by most scouts. The development of a change up will be the pitch that decides whether Gonzales will be a reliever or starter in his future. The Jays modus operandi is to let their prospects start as long as possible which means, that despite his struggles in his first pro season, Tyler will continue to start in 2013. After working on his off-speed offerings during extended spring training Gonzales 2013 trajectory should mimic DeJong’s with an assignment to Bluefield followed by a promotion to Vancouver.