Blue Jays Stocking System Through Draft
For a guy that loves minor league baseball, I don’t pay too much attention to the Amateur Draft. I don’t pay attention to mock drafts. I don’t even look at Baseball America’s rankings of potential draft picks leading up to the draft.
In truth I really don’t care who the Toronto Blue Jays pick and where they are selected, that is until they are signed and in uniform, then I care. Like, a lot.
So I have a tough time empathizing with the anger directed to GM’s that fail to sign draft picks.
Remember how anger was directed towards J.P. Ricciardi when he failed to sign the Blue Jays James Paxton in 2009, his final year as General Manager? Thankfully Twitter wasn’t huge back then.
That year was especially frustrating for Blue Jay fans because J.P. and his staff were unable to come to terms with 3 of their 4 top picks losing out on Paxton, Jake Eliopoulos (tragic story), and Jake Barrett.
Enter Alex Anthopoulos.
With Alex Anthopoulos at the helm the Toronto Blue Jays have done two things really well. First, they have identified high ceiling talent (healthy or not). Secondly, and this was before the new draft rules were implemented, they accumulated draft picks in the higher rounds to restock the farm.
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Alex and Co.’s accomplishments don’t stop there. It’s easy to draft talented players, it’s entirely another to get the talent to put their names on the dotted line. With the notable exceptions of 1st rounders Tyler Beede, and Phil Bickford who scorned the Blue Birds in 2011 and 2013 respectively, our trusted GM has done a great job of inking players drafted in the early rounds.
In his first year as GM, Alex and his staff were able to sign their first 13 picks over the drafts first 7 rounds. This haul netted the Jays Deck McGuire, Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Asher Wojciechowski, Justin Nicolino, and Sean Nolin. Over Alex’s next 5 drafts between 2010 and 2014, he has only failed to sign 3 picks between rounds 1 and 5.
So far in 2015 Alex has already signed the teams 1st round pick Jonathan Harris and shipped him off to play with the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League (2.2IP, 0.00ERA, H, BB, 4K). They are expected to sign 2nd rounder Brady Singer any day now and have inked 11 of their top 15 picks.
It’ll be a few years before the 2015 crop of draftees make an impact on teams in the upper minors or are packaged in deals to strengthen the Jays. Sure we dwell on the unsigned draft picks or dwell on the players included to bring major league ready talent to the Toronto, but there should be no doubt that Anthopoulos and his staff continue to stock the Jays system through the draft.
Before I close this bad boy out Jays Journal writer, Mat Germain, drew up what the Blue Jays rotation and bullpen would look like had Toronto’s previous and current GM signed their 1st rounders and held onto some of their high ceiling arms. Here you go:
"Can you imagine how deep Jays pitching would be in 2016 if they were all still around?Rotation: Marcus Stroman – Syndergaard (NY Mets) – Daniel Norris – Anthony Desclafani (Cincinnati Reds)- Paxton (Seattle)- Kendall Graveman (Oakland A’s) – Hutchison – Justin Nicolino (Miami Marlins)Pen: Sanchez (closer) – Roberto Osuna (setup) – Miguel Castro (setup) – Matt Boyd – Jeff Hoffman – Beede (San Francisco Giants Double-A) – Bickford (just signed with the Giants for $2.3338 million)"
Thank you Mat and thank all of you.