The latest update provided by Baseball America’s Jim Callis has the Jays balking at drafting Christian Colon simply because of bonus demands and the fact that he’s represented by Scott Boras and selecting 19 year old OF Michael Choice instead out of Texas-Arlington. At 19, Michael is the youngest on the team and has hit 11 HRs to lead the team in the category in only 225 ABs. He’s also hitting .413 on the year with 13 doubles, 3 triples, 5 SBs (caught 3 times) and a .494 OBP.
I completely disagree with Jim who obviously hasn’t listened to Alex Anthopolous over the last few months or ignored his comments. He wants to spend money in the draft, he is going to spend the money in the draft (word is approximately $26 million before all is said and done) and he’s simply going to get the #1 player on the board every time. Therefore, if Jim’s other predictions are correct and Christian Colon is viewed by Jays scouts as the best on the board, they will draft him – it’s as simple as that. I can’t believe that anyone who has listened to the Jays talk about building from within would think that they’d skip over someone just because of who represents him. Under the JP Ricciardi regime – a horrible one to say the least – I would completely agree. Under Alex Anthopolous the Jays would go after Bryce Harper if he fell to them because of whatever issues.
Having said that I disagree with Jim I want to clarify that what I disagree with is the fact that the Jays would skip over the best player – that’s all. I am in no way confirming that Colon is better than Choice. All I’m saying is that if the Jays think he is, he will become a Jay. I don’t envy Jim’s job of ranking guys over and over and getting criticized sometimes for the choices he makes. That’s always a personal and professional choice he makes and I respect his opinion immensely.
On the note of the $26 million to spend in the draft prediction, I wonder if the recent agreement that is pending with Adonis Cardona and the supposed $2.8 million means that the Jays will now have close to $23.2 million left to spend. Not that it’s a big issues because it’s unlikely that the likes of Harper will fall to the Jays, but it does limit what they have left to spend in the International market. The Jays could potentially average close to $1 million for their top 9 picks, especially if they go over slot for many picks, which I believe is Alex Anthopolous’s intentions.
My prediction is different than Jim’s for the 11th picks from the Jays. Instead, I believe that the asking price of Nick Castellanos will cause other teams to shy away from drafting the high school 3B and that he’ll be selected by the Jays 11th overall. The Padres will not be willing to pay him the reported $5 to $6 million asking price.
Nick Castellanos is a big guy at 6’4″ and 190 lbs who hits for a ton of power for someone who is only 18 years old. If he isn’t blown away with a big bonus, the big SS/3B will be playing for the University of Miami where he is currently committed to play. He is said to have a strong arm but may lack the ineptness to play SS. Nick is also said to have very strong hands and wrists that allow him to spray his power to all fields.
I know most Jays fans have horror thoughts of yet another High School bust as a 3B prospect after watching Kevin Ahrens and his struggles in the minors for the Jays, but Nick is a player at another level entirely than Kevin was. The Jays would still have to look for a 3B for the medium term if Nick was drafted because his road to the majors would be a long one, but his potential as a middle of the order bat at 3B would be too much for them to pass up.
I could, and most probably will, be wrong, but that’s what my heart is saying right now. I can’t see the Padres signing another high end 3B prospect with all of the guys they have in the minors at the position and they don’t usually like to hand out big checks. The A’s, on the other hand, are the one team who I could see shelling out the money for Nick, so it is possible that he won’t even be available for the Jays at 11 (the A’s pick 10th).