2015 Draft Preview: The Blue Jays Edition
It’s December 18th, 2014. It’s still five months, and 21 days before the annual MLB Draft but with Melky Cabrera finalizing the process of his departure, the Jays brass finally understand their approximate rank in next year’s entry draft.
They will make their selections with the 30th (thank you Chicago White Sox) and 55th picks of the next year’s draft. With the MLB recently releasing their top 50 draft eligible prospects, there’s no time like the present to review a few who may end up dawning the blue and white some time in the organization’s future.
Below are three candidates who are slotted in the MLB’s top 50 prospect rankings with potential to become a member of the Jays farm system.
#31 Donny Everett
At 6’2″ 220 pounds the Tennessee raised right-hander already possesses the body to become a stable power pitcher in the majors someday. Ranked as the #1 pitcher in his home state, Everett is a senior in high school who’s committed to Vanderbilt despite his somewhat high ranking in next year’s draft.
His arsenal includes a predominantly used fastball in the mid nineties with the ability to touch 97 on the radar. While he has a slider, curveball and change-up, MLB.com rates them as pitches at only above average to average offerings with swing-and-miss potential. He relies mostly on his fastball to dominate but will certainly have to develop secondary offerings if he wants to become more than his 50 rank as a major league starting pitcher.
Despite the Jays tendency to shy away from high school arms, it’s possible they select Everett if he continues his recent progress next spring.
#48 Triston McKenzie
McKenzie is an interesting kid to say the least. This right-hander has the real potential to move up draft leaderboards next spring with his 6’5″ 160 pound frame defining the scouting term, “projectable.”
As a high schooler, the 17-year-old still has plenty of time to grow into his pitcher’s body whether it be in a professional uniform or at Vanderbilt, the school he also has committed to for next fall.
McKenzie throws using a free and easy motion reminiscent of major leaguer Jeremy Hellickson, commanding an arsenal, which includes a fastball, curveball and some feel for a change-up. While the fastball currently tops out at 92, it’s likely it will climb as the youngster fills out in his baseball future. His change-up is at least a major league average offering with his projectable delivery holding the key to where he will be slotted next June.
#34 Gio Brusa
Brusa has come a long way from being a 37th round draft pick in 2012, to one of the best hitters in the prestigious Cape Cod league. The 6 foot 3, 210 pound outfielder had a summer to remember producing a .332 batting average dovetailed with a more impressive .545 slugging percentage.
The outfielder has all the tools to become an everyday right fielder with an above-average arm and slightly above-above average defence. His bat will have to continue to develop from both sides of the plate with his plate approach representing the key obstacle to his draft rank next spring.
If Brusa continues his 2014 streak of power, the Jays just might want to select him given their current power-hitting right fielder is on his way out.