2012 Draft Class – Mail it in Friday Edition


Welcome to edition two 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 first installment, check here.

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 first where the signed picks outnumber the signed.  Still, 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:

Devyn Rivera – 35th Round – 1075 Overall – Signed July 9th – Continuing the Jays recent tradition of drafting big, athletic pitchers, right-handed pitcher Devyn Rivera checks in at 6’3″ 195 pounds.  Two things stand out about Rivera from this write up from his collegiate website, 1) pretty nice strike out numbers for his two year career and 2) and a nice ‘tache.  Unfortunately the Jays faithful never got to see that facial hair in action as Rivera was released a couple of weeks after signing, after not having made an appearance for any of the affiliates.  I can’t find any reasoning online about the release so won’t speculate.  Will keep my eyes peeled for any updates though.

Brandon Lopez– 34th Round – 1045 Overall – Unsigned – similar to Jose Cuas taken in the 40th round, Lopez was a reach based

March 22, 2012; Dunedin, FL, USA; A general view of Florida Auto Exchange Park as the Philadelphia Phillies play the Toronto Blue Jays at a spring training game at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

on his strong college commitment.  Not a bad strategy from the Jays mind, if they hadn’t been able to sign all of their upper round talent than that money could have been allocated towards some of these high risk (possibly) high reward picks in the later rounds.  Lopez is a 6’1″ 165 pound shortstop out of American Heritage HS in Florida.  A plus defender with room for growth at the plate this website has him as a potential first rounder after a few seasons at the University of Miami.  Unfortunately, however, they don’t link their ‘sleeper’ column quoted, so hard to get their full rundown on him.  This brings our number of unsigned shortstops in lower rounds to three.  Easily the leader in the clubhouse.

Jonathan Harris – 33rd Round – 1015 Overall – Unsigned – listed at 6’3″ 160 pounds, I think we can describe Harris as lanky.  A right handed pitcher, Harris throws an upper 80s fastball with a good downward plane.  In high school his fastball was mostly straight, but with his frame, he is the definition of projectable.  Decent curveball and a changeup complete his arsenal.  An early commitment to Missouri State scared teams off in earlier rounds.  Harris falls into the same category as Lopez.  High upside and would have needed a large amount of money to get him to sign.  With all the upper round picks signing, there wasn’t enough available.  Will keep an eye on his first season at MS.

Jorge Saez – 32nd Round – 985 Overall – Signed June 11th – Finally, we’re into the three figure players.  This link provides both a picture of Saez and a quick rundown of his skill-set by his college coach.  The fact he mentions how Jorge is bilingual which will help him in minor league baseball tells you pretty much you all you need to know.  Saez got into thirty-six games with the GCL Jays, leading the team’s catchers in home runs, walks, and stolen bases.  He also threw out an excellent 41% of attempted base-runners.  With that sort of arm and a BB/K ratio of 1.21 I can see Jorge getting a promotion next spring.  As a twenty-two year old, it may even be to Vancouver.

Derrick Chung – 31st Round – 955 Overall – Signed June 11th – Derrick was the ultimate utility player for the Northwest League’s Vancouver Canadians, playing all around the diamond.  His main position seems to be at second base which makes his offensive numbers a bit underwhelming.  With an ISO of only .083, Derrick will need to improve on his power numbers to stick around.  He was old for the Northwest League at 24, so is a bit behind the curve getting drafted in 2012 (I haven’t been able to figure out why he was overage for a college senior).  I can see him repeating, at least initially, at Vancouver before a potential promotion.  However, as the new draft rules have players signing earlier, the middle infield may be a bit crowded next season.  In which case, it will be Chung’s versatility which sees him getting a look beyond extended spring training.

So there we have it.  Of the five looked at today, two saw time with the Jays affiliates and both were position players.  Will keep an eye on those two when assignments are handed out next spring.  Will also be taking an interest in Harris and Lopez’ freshmen seasons at their respective colleges to see what the Jays missed out on.