Jays Draft Review: By the Numbers and Oddities
By Mat Germain
No matter how little some of us may know about the players that were selected by the Jays in the 2011 draft, scouts seem to agree that the Jays were both very aggressive and successful in having one of the best drafts of all MLB teams aside from the Washington Nationals who took the title of having had the best draft overall. It doesn’t hurt that the player who many predicted would go first overall falls to you at #6, so I’d say that in terms of doing the best job of grinding out each pick, the Jays arguably had the best draft.
Now that it’s over, Jays Journal will be putting out a feature on each and every one of those players. That’s right, we will provide you with anything and everything we can find floating around out there. But, there’s a catch. We will only do so when the player signs. After all, if he doesn’t sign with the Jays, we really don’t care who he is or what he has done. He can go on his merry way and re-enter the draft another year. As Jake Eliopoulos will attest to, a pitcher that the Jays drafted in the 2nd rd of the 2009 draft and again in the 43rd rd of the 2011 draft – quite a steep drop, that’s not always a good idea.
For now, we will just content ourselves will looking through some of the numbers and oddities of the draft, which include making it a family affair.
The Jays made 55 picks overall and drafted 28 players out of High School, 25 out of College (3 are from Junior Colleges), and 2 without any school affiliation.
Canadian Picks (4)
The Jays drafted 4 Canadians in this draft, led by RHP Thomas Robson who they picked up in the 4th round and was rated as the best undrafted Canadian player at the time. Next came SS Justin Atkinson in the 26th round, who is a rare middle infielder from Canada. The previously mentioned LHP Jake Eliopoulos is next in round 43, and RHP Eric Brown rounded out the draft for the Jays by being the last selection made in the 50th round. Of these picks, 3 are from B.C., and 1 is from Ontario. Not surprisingly, the Jays have scouts in only those 2 provinces.
Texas and Florida Lead the Way (15 picks overall, 8 for Texas, 7 for Florida)
In our scouting page, you can see where the Jays have the most scouts set up and who they are. What makes the fact that the Jays selected 16 picks from Texas and Florida strange is that they have more Area Scouts in California (6) than any other State. In fact, the Jays only have 4 Area Scouts in total betwen both Texas – a massive State – and Florida which have 2 a piece (C.J. Ebarb and Michael Wagner in Texas, and Matt O’Brien and Joel Camprieto in Florida). I’m not going to go as far as to say that it indicates how much influence these scouts have with the Jays, but I will say that it’s an indication of where the best HS baseball talents are located.
The Texas picks came in the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 13th, 15th, 24th, 38th, and 48th rounds.
The Florida picks came in the 6th, 9th, 19th, 23rd, 25th, 28th, and 49th rounds.
California in Third Place (6)
Surprisingly, the Jays selected only 6 players from the State that has produced the most major league players, California, which has produced 1,974 players according to Baseball Almanac. In comparison, Texas has produced 796 and Florida has produced only 401.
However, all of the picks from California were made much higher than those made from Texas and Florida. The top 2 picks were both in the 1st Sandwich round, and the remainder were in the 7th, 16th, 17th, and 32nd rounds. So, it was still a State that was leaned on heavily by the Jays, as it should be since it’s a baseball talent haven.
The rest of the picks came from the following States:
- Louisiana: 3
- Massachussetts: 3
- Alabama: 2
- Arizona: 2
- New Jersey: 2
- New York: 2
- Washington State: 2
- West Virginia: 2
- Georgia: 1
- Indiana: 1
- Iowa: 1
- Kansas: 1
- Kentucky: 1
- Michigan: 1
- Ohio: 1
- Oklahoma: 1
- Pensylvannia: 1
- South Carolina: 1
- Tennessee: 1
- Utah: 1
I’m going to have to delve deeper here still, but I have a feeling that this is the most amount of picks the Jays have made across so many States in a long time…maybe ever! I’ll put out a separate post for this once I gather more data on it, but it’s a very interesting spread of talent picking. That 8 picks were made from the North Eastern states, for instance, is surprisingly high (I think).
Draft Oddity: Family Values
The biggest oddity of this draft for the Jays was the picks that had direct links to Jays coaches or managers. The Jays drafted Shane Farrell (John Farrell’s son), and Jacob Wakamatsu (son of Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu). While Jacob is expected to go to College (Arizona), Shane may sign with the Jays.
As noted on Jays Journal yesterday, the Jays also decided to select both Austin Nola and Aaron Nola, brothers that were hoping to play in LSU simultaneously. The Jays have a history of taking LSU middle infielders (Aaron Hill and Ryan Schimpf), so Austin joins that group.
You can take a look at each pick and the scouting profiles provided by Baseball America here if you are a member.
The numbers above indicate a few interesting things. Of all of the picks, 38% came from one of California, Texas or Florida. That tells us just how wide spread all of the other picks were. The Jays diversified their picks all over the map, as you can see above, and that could be directly related to having more area scouts doing a ton of homework in their regions.
More than half (51%) of the picks were of players coming out of High School. To me, this is the most telling thing in this draft, particularly when so many of those HS picks were within the top 22 (19). The Jays went very young in this draft, and that’s a great thing because it gets those players in house before they have a chance to make themselves into top 10 picks – something the Jays rarely have in any draft. In fact, the Rays have had more top 10 picks in the last 10 years than the Jays have had since they were created. Now that is a telling fact. So, Alex Anthopoulos and his team have decided to circumvent that by targeting the players before they reach a higher level. If they can sign these guys to deals, the Jays will have made off like bandits in this draft, no doubt about it.
I’m a huge fan of this draft class and I’m anxious to see who signs and when they sign. The earlier the better, because it provides them with a chance to play or pitch in Short-Season ball.
What are your thoughts on the draft?
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