Baseball America has announced the projected bonus pools for the 2016 Amateur Draft, where do the Toronto Blue Jays pick and how much will they have to spend?
The Toronto Blue Jays had a successful 2015 season, making the playoffs for the first time since 1993, but this success came at a high cost to the farm system. Former GM Alex Anthopoulos traded away many of the systems top level pitching prospects, almost completely changing the Blue Jays Top Prospect Lists in under a week.
In a John Lott article for the National Post, AA put a positive spin on the state of the Toronto Blue Jays farm system,
"“We still have a lot of really good young prospects we’re excited about, they’re not as famous right now but they will be as they start to move along.”"
There is a level of truth to this statement. The Blue Jays system shifted from having a glut of high ceiling pitching prospects to a having a glut of high-level OF prospects and sprinkling of middle-rotation arms with the potential for some surprises.
The system’s depth remains strong due to aggressive drafting and international free-agent signings like Vladimir Guerrero Jr, but 2016 will be more or less a year for the farm to recover from the ‘Great LHP Purge of 2015’.
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In 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays held the 29th pick of the first round. They picked RHP Jonathon Harris, who is regarded by many scouts as the Blue Jays top pitching prospect.
In 2016, the Blue Jays have 4 picks within the top 102, barring any high level free-agent signings which would forfeit a draft pick. The Blue Jays make their first pick at 24, which is determined by the previous year’s record. Toronto also owns the 57th overall pick as compensation for being unable to sign RHP Brady Singer. Finally, the Blue Jays own the 64th and 102nd draft picks.
With four picks the Blue Jays own an extra pick which they didn’t have in 2015, when they grabbed Harris (29th), Singer (56th), and RHP Justin Maese (91st). Remember that last name, he’s going to make some noise in 2016.
Baseball America released an estimation of what each team’s bonus pool will look like in 2016, considering a 6% increase in baseball revenue.
The top three picks belong to the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and Atlanta Braves; however, the top three projected bonus pools belong to Reds ($12.3M), Phillies ($11.7M), and Colorado Rockies ($9.6M). The Atlanta Braves are estimated to have $9M to spend, roughly 560K less than the Rockies who are picking 4th.
The Toronto Blue Jays will have an estimated $4,974,262 to spend, which is just slightly below their reported allowance in 2015 ($5.4M).
Under Mark Shapiro, the Cleveland Indians consistently signed their top draft picks, which was not always the case with Alex Anthopoulos running the show. It remains to be seen how the organization’s philosophy will change as they shift to an new front office, but Jays fans can rest assumed that the frustration of losing high draft picks like Brady Singer, Phil Bickford, and Tyler Beede are gone.