Tonight the 2014 MLB First-Year Player draft commences and is being streamed live at MLB.com. The first round, competitive balance round A, the second round and competitive balance round B are scheduled as the first 73 picks will be made this evening.
The Toronto Blue Jays will make three selections as they have two picks in the first round (9th and 11th overall) and one in the second round (49th overall).
If you are looking for a primer, we looked at five players the Blue Jays could be considering with their first two picks and also took a shot in the dark at who GM Alex Anthopoulos’ second round selection might be. Bluebird Banter also has a nice piece about some potential round two options for the Jays.
In the first round, NC State shortstop Trea Turner, high school RHP Touki Toussaint and RHP Jeff Hoffman have been the most common selections for the Blue Jays in many experts’ mock drafts. Catcher Max Pentecost has also been generating some buzz lately and according to Baseball America has pushed past Turner on many team’s draft boards. In their latest mock, John Manuel of BA has the Blue Jays going with Pentecost with their first pick.
Manuel also noted in his most recent mock that Toussaint is rumoured to be looking for a big bonus, which may scare the Blue Jays off. Signability issues haven’t prevented the Jays from drafting players with high demands in the past but after Phil Bickford didn’t sign last year locking in both first round picks is imperative this year. If they aren’t able to sign their 11th overall pick they will not be rewarded with another pick next year (I believe).
This leads Manuel to think that the Jays will instead go with Hoffman, who has little-to-no leverage and should sign well under slot. However Hoffman also gives the Jays a player with huge upside as he was one of the best players in this year’s draft before his arm injury.
The draft is about to start but we will be back periodically with live updates and analysis. Stay tuned!
1-1 Houston Astros – Brady Aiken LHP (Cathedral Catholic HS)
1-2 Miami Marlins – Tyler Kolek RHP (Shepherd HS)
1-3 Chicago White Sox – Carlos Rodon LHP (NC State)
1-4 Chicago Cubs – Kyle Schwarber C/1B (Indiana)
1-5 Minnesota Twins – Nick Gordon SS (Olympia HS)
1-6 Seattle Mariners – Alex Jackson C/OF (Rancho Bernardo HS)
1-7 Philadelphia Phillies – Aaron Nola RHP (LSU)
1-8 Colorado Rockies – Kyle Freeland LHP (Evansville)
1-9 Toronto Blue Jays – Jeff Hoffman RHP (East Carolina)
Hoffman!! I thought this might be the Blue Jays pick at eleven but but by drafting him at nine the Jays will save extra bonus pool money. Hoffman has undergone Tommy John surgery but is confident he’s still the best player in the draft. With the high success rate of TJS these days, it makes sense for the Blue Jays to go with the most talented player on the board, who they will almost certainly be able to sign well under slot.
1-10 New York Mets – Michael Conforto OF (Oregon State)
1-11 Toronto Blue Jays – Max Pentecost C (Kennesaw State)
Jim Callis of MLB.com says “Pentecost may not have a true plus tool, but he also doesn’t have a glaring weakness either. A right-handed hitter, he has bat speed and controls the strike zone.” Callis also quoted a club executive as describing Pentecost as the best “pure catcher” in the draft.
At first I wasn’t thrilled by the idea of Pentecost but I’ve since come around to the idea of the Blue Jays drafting him. He doesn’t have any tools that really jump off the board but the fact he doesn’t have any real weaknesses (or at least any weaknesses that haven’t been exposed yet) is big. It sounds like he should be able to stick at catcher and if he does the pick should likely be a win for the Blue Jays. He has some potential with the bat, he won’t hit for much power but has the potential to hit for a high average. He has a strong arm and is a good athlete who runs well for a catcher.
1-12 Milwaukee Brewers – Kodi Medeiros LHP (Waiakea HS)
1-13 San Diego Padres – Trea Turner SS (NC State)
1-14 San Francisco Giants – Tyler Beede RHP (Vanderbilt)
1-15 Los Angeles Angels – Sean Newcomb LHP (University of Hartford)
1-16 Arizona Diamondbacks – Touki Toussaint RHP (Coral Springs Christian Academy)
1-17 Kansas City Royals – Brandon Finnegan LHP (TCU)
1-18 Washington Nationals – Erick Fedde RHP (UNLV)
1-19 Cincinnati Reds – Nick Howard RHP (Virginia)
1-20 Tampa Bay Rays – Casey Gillaspie 1B (Wichita State)
1-21 Cleveland Indians – Bradley Zimmer OF (University of San Francisco)
1-22 Los Angeles Dodgers – Grant Holmes RHP (Conway HS)
1-23 Detroit Tigers – Derek Hill OF (Elkgrove HS)
1-24 Pittsburgh Pirates – Cole Tucker SS (Mountain Pointe HS)
1-25 Oakland Athletics – Matt Chapman 3B (Cal State – Fullerton)
1-26 Boston Red Sox – Miachel Chavis SS (Sprayberry Senior HS)
1-27 St. Louis Cardinals – Luke Weaver RHP (Florida State)
1-28 Kansas City Royals – Foster Griffin LHP (The First Academy)
1-29 Cincinnati Reds – Alex Blandino SS (Stanford)
1-30 Texas Rangers – Luis Ortiz RHP (Sangers HS)
1-31 Cleveland Indians – Justus Sheffield LHP (Tullahoma HS)
1-32 Atlanta Braves – Braxton Davidson OF (T.C. Roberson HS)
1-33 Boston Red Sox – Michael Kopech RHP (Mt Pleasant HS)
1-34 St. Louis Cardinals Jack Flaherty RHP (Harvard-Westlake HS)
Competitive round A has just begun but that’s all the updates you are going to get out of me tonight folks. Hopefully tomorrow I will have time to further analyze the Blue Jays draft but my first impression is that I’m content with their picks.
Hoffman provides top of the rotation upside while Pentecost appears to be a solid player who plays a premium position, one that is becoming tougher and tougher to fill at the big league level.
Both players appear very signable and they will likely sign Hoffman well under slot. If that money is spread around throughout the rest of the draft, which is considered quite deep, this could end up being a lucrative Rule 4 for the Blue Jays.