Apr 2, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Blue Jays will enter the 2014 Major League Baseball draft with the fourth highest draft pool allotment, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. With a budget of $9,458,500, the Blue Jays will trail only the Miami Marlins ($14,199,300), Houston Astros ($13,362,200), and Chicago White Sox ($13,362,200).
The Blue Jays will have 11 total picks in the first 10 rounds of this year’s draft, including two of the first 11 picks overall. They have the number 9 pick based on record from last season and were awarded the number 11 selection for failing to sign first round pick Phillip Bickford in 2013.
As for slot values for the first 10 rounds, Baseball America has those as well, with the Blue Jays draft slots looking a little like this:
It will be interesting to see how Toronto deploys their draft pool this year. After coming under first in recent years for their inability to sign first round picks Bickford (2013) and Tyler Beede (2011), Toronto may look to land more players with a higher signability probability. Of course, the money saved from not having landed Bickford last season allowed Toronto to go over slot for both Jacob Brentz and Rowdy Tellez, so there was a silver lining to last year’s draft failure.
As of right now, MLB.com currently ranks high school lefty Brady Aiken at number 9 on the draft board and LSU junior right-hander Aaron Nola in the number 11 slot.
Aiken is a 6’3″, 210 pounder out of Cathedral Catholic High School in California. While Mayo notes that he doesn’t currently have a plus pitch, Aiken does have the three solid offerings that could be above average with more development. He features a sinking fastball that sits in the low 90’s and he commands well to both sides of the plate, a solid change-up that sits a good 10 MPH below his fastball, and a developing curveball.
Nola, the 6’2″, 170 pound college junior is a bit more developed than Aiken, but lacks his size and athleticism. He throws a fastball that has easy velocity at 90-92 MPH with sink and can be spotted as needed, a plus change-up, and a slider that is still a work in process. Despite not being overpowering, according to Mayo, Nola hits his spots and is deceptive enough to have ranked as one of the NCAA’s top strike-out pitchers in 2013. He could be a solid pick for Toronto, as Mayo notes he doesn’t have a lot of development needed to hit his ceiling, which would allow him to move through the system quickly.