The 2014 MLB Draft is less than two weeks away (June 5-7) and as most fans already know the Toronto Blue Jays hold the ninth and eleventh overall selections. The first pick comes from finishing so poorly last season while the second is courtesy of their failure to sign first round pick RHP Phil Bickford in 2013.
The experts at Baseball America have been working hard in preparation and yesterday unveiled the third edition of their 2014 mock draft. Lots of interesting tidbits came out of John Manuel’s most recent update, including his decision to join what seems like the majority by ranking LHP Brady Aiken ahead of the number one overall from his last two mocks, LHP Carlos Rodon.
As much fun as it would be to focus on Aiken, Rodon, or my personal favourite Tyler Kolek, eight teams pick ahead of the Blue Jays so it’s probably not realistic any of these players fall into the Jays’ lap. BA’s draft board has shuffled quite a bit over the past few weeks but the players they see the Blue Jays drafting with their top two picks has stayed relatively consistent.
In the first version of Manuel’s mock, he selected SS Trea Turner at number nine for the Blue Jays. Turner, listed at 6’1 abd 171 lbs according to the NC State Wolfpack website, batted .321/.418/.516 as a junior this season. He had more walks (37) than strikeouts (25) and in March 2013 Aaron Fitt of Baseball America called him “college baseball’s most dynamic player“. In Manuel’s latest mock at BA, he shares Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos was in attendance to watch a very good game from Turner on Tuesday, when he hit a deep triple and nearly stole home.
Manuel has the Blue Jays picking Turner in all three of his mocks (here’s number two) at the ninth spot and with the earlier picks seem to be keying on some sort of insider information. A college shortstop might not make the most sense for the Blue Jays at the immediate moment but as a middle infielder with good pop and something close to 80-grade speed will likely be too much to pass up. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports some scouts aren’t sure if he’ll stick at short but in the same piece writes that he has been second in the nation in defensive runs saved each of the past two years, with reference to collegesplits.com.
In his first mock, which was published on May 9, Manuel had the recently injured RHP Jeff Hoffman going to the Blue Jays at number eleven. However his last two mocks have gone a different route, with Hoffman dropping slightly and instead has the Jays selecting RHP Touki Toussaint. Other than an awesome name, he’s a prep arm with a tonne of upside who will touch 97 MPH with his fastball. According to MLB Draft Review, Toussaint offers another potential plus pitch with a hard-breaking curveball and is starting to gain feel for a change. He has a ceiling to dream about and would make sense if the Jays did select Turner at nine as they would be using the same strategy as 2012, when they landed high schooler D.J. Davis and college pitcher Marcus Stroman with their two first round picks. And if nothing else, MLB Draft Review even has a picture of him in what looks like a rip off of the Blue Jays old hat.
As is the nature of the MLB Draft, a lot can still change between now and June 5th. But if the Toronto Blue Jays land Trea Turner and Touki Toussaint (and sign them both) I don’t think I would have any problem with those selections.
Oh yeah, the big club is playing pretty well too. Maybe one of these days I’ll take the time to write about it… five in a row, go Jays go!