Toronto Blue Jays seen scouting Dakota Chalmers, Richie Martin for 2015 MLB Draft


With the 2015 MLB Draft just over two weeks away, the Toronto Blue Jays and the other teams across baseball have been heavily scouting high school tournaments and college games across the United States.

According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, two players the Blue Jays’ scouts have been seen watching the most are RHP Dakota Chalmers of North Forsyth HS in Georgia and University of Florida shortstop Richie Martin.

Hudson Belinksy of Baseball America caught Chalmers recently and said the young right-hander “showed an impressive package of stuff” with an “electric arm and projectable body”. Chalmers sounds like the type of pitcher the Blue Jays have had a lot of success in developing lately, whether it be Aaron Sanchez, Jeff Hoffman or even Noah Syndergaard who are all big-bodied with lightning arms.

Elliott’s tweet says Chalmers will touch 96 but in the outing Belinsky saw him Chalmers was working 92-94 MPH early before settling into the 88-91 range later on, which isn’t unusual for a high school arm. He also flashed a curveball with some spin and depth and showed some feel for a changeup.

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Richie Martin is a player who has been on the national radar for some time but after a strong summer in the Cape Cod League his stock has slipped this spring. Keith Law of ESPN and others had him as a mid-to-high first round pick but now it seems he could slip to the Jays, who make their first pick with the 29th overall selection as compensation for Melky Cabrera signing with the Chicago White Sox.

Martin doesn’t hit for much power and is known for a line-drive approach at the plate. The consensus seems to be he can stick at short as an average defender and has the actions to stick up the middle. John Manuel of Baseball America had Martin going to the Blue Jays’ with their first pick in his most recent mock draft and Jim Scott covered Martin here in his preliminary look at the draft.

This draft is thought to be a generally weak class overall but with an interesting crop of shortstops available the Jays may find themselves in a position to benefit from this depth if Martin falls to them. Chalmers is an equally intriguing name, given the Jays history with players of his ilk especially, but with so many potential pitchers already seemingly in-line for the big leagues would the 29th pick be better served on a position player?

I tend to agree with tried and true adage – always take the best player available regardless of “need” on the big league roster. Things change and it’s often several years before a draftee is ready to contribute, doubly so in the case of high schoolers. Another factor to keep in mind is signability – how much does a player want or expect if he’s drafted?

Chalmers, who is committed to Georgia, in theory should have more leverage than Martin, who would have to go back to school and declare for the draft again as a senior if he didn’t sign. However he’s also a pitcher, which means if he can get near first round money now he should probably take it and run.

Martin, on the other hand, is a position player (performance/health more predictable compared to pitchers) who was more highly regarded coming into the draft season and carries a bit more name cache so it’s unclear which player would be easier to get under contract.

As the draft inches closer we should learn more about which way the Jays will go but early indications are they are at least looking in the right direction. Another player I would like to see them keep an eye on is D.J. Stewart, a junior out of Florida State who is a bat-first, left field profile but might have enough in the stick to make an impact at the highest level.

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