Blue Jays What If’s Part 2: The 2010 Draft

May 13, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) pitches during the first inning at against the Tampa Bay Rays Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) pitches during the first inning at against the Tampa Bay Rays Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Drafting in pro sports is always a hard thing to do. You have to predict how well a teenager will play for the next one-to-20 years. It’s a skill that even the best scouts have trouble with.

While the jays have drafted well at points, there are some times where they severely messed up. The 2010 draft is one of the biggest misses.

What actually happened:

In the 2010 draft, the Toronto Blue Jays had the 11th overall pick. With it, they drafted right-handed pitcher Deck McGuire from Georgia Tech. Still left on the board was Florida Gulf Coast left-hander Chris Sale. Sale was drafted two picks later, at 13th by the Chicago White Sox. The Jays also ended up taking Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, and Justin Nicolino.


Fun Fact!

The Blue Jays also took infielder Kris Bryant with the 546th pick in the 18th round, but he didn’t sign.

If the Jays took Sale…

In the 2010 MLB draft, with their first three selections, the Jays select pitchers Chris Sale, Aaron Sanchez, and Noah Syndergaard. The Jays also select a fourth pitcher, Justin Nicolino.

Sale gets brought up early, in the 2010 season. He makes 21 appearances, all out of the bullpen.

The next season, Sale is still the only one of the four to get MLB time. He pitches mostly out of the bullpen, making 58 appearances. He pitches to a 2.79 ERA, with 79 strikeouts.

In the 2012 season, Sale becomes an all-star, by pitching to a 17-8 record with 192 strikeouts and a 3.05 ERA. He ended the season by finishing sixth in Cy Young voting, in his first year as a starter. In the offseason, the Jays consider a blockbuster with Miami but decide to just trade Yunel Escobar, and Nicolino, for Jose Reyes.

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They decide to trade Escobar because of the fallout from the homophobic slur he wrote on his eye black during the season. Escobar and the Jays needed a new start, and this trade represented it. They don’t trade for any pitchers, because Sale is their new ace, and they know that Sanchez, Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman are close to the majors.

The Marlins trade isn’t the only one the Jays consider. Wanting a secondary ace to try and compete right away, the Jays ask the New York Mets about a potential R.A. Dickey trade. The asking price includes top prospects Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud. The Jays realize that they have some good pitchers coming up and that Dickey isn’t worth the price.

Sale improved on his great 2012, by finishing fifth in Cy Young voting in 2013. By now, the Jays starting rotation consists of Sale, J.A. Happ, Todd Redmond, Brandon Morrow, and Esmil Rogers. The rotation was getting thin, so the Jays start to bring up reinforcements from the minors.

In 2014, Stroman gets his shot and impresses with a 3.65 ERA. Sanchez also comes up, but only pitches out of the bullpen. To get a fifth pitcher, and another lefty into the rotation, the Jays sign Scott Kazmir to a two-year contract, and he wins 15 games for the team. The Jays go 83-79 with Sale and Kazmir leading the way.

In 2015, the Jays get even better. They get Marco Estrada from the Brewers for Adam Lind. Syndergaard also starts his major league career, Stroman comes into the rotation in September, and midway through the season, they trade for David Price. With a starting rotation of Sale, Price, Syndergaard, Estrada, and Kazmir, the Jays easily make the playoffs.

In the ALDS against the Rangers, the Jays top three easily overpower the Texas lineup and the Jays sweep in three games. Facing the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS, Toronto gets pushed to six games, but still, wins the series. In the World Series against the Mets, Toronto again overpowers a team with their starting pitching, and they win the World Series.

In 2016 they come out even stronger, with a starting five of Sale, Syndergaard, Sanchez, Stroman, and Estrada. They get to the ALDS by winning the AL East and get to face Cleveland. They win and go to the ALCS to face Boston.

Boston, like every other team they faced, wilted under the pressure of the starting rotation. In the World Series, the Jays face the Chicago Cubs. Everyone in the USA is rooting for Chicago, while all of Canada roots for the Jays. It’s tight, but Toronto has the rotation depth to take down the Cubs and win their second straight World Series.

Next: Blue Jays Trade History Part 10: John McDonald

So there you have it. That’s how it things could have happened if the Jays had only selected Chris Sale.

Have a different thought? Let me know in the comments.