Blue Jays: Looking back at the 2012 draft

Jun 4, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 4, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2012 draft in baseball produced several of today’s young stars including the likes of Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and more. The Blue Jays have some of their talent from that year, with Marcus Stroman leading the pack in blue.

Sometimes it’s fun to look back on baseball drafts, and other times it’s kinda painful. There’s a little bit of both of those things here today, as we look back at the 2012 draft and evaluate how the Blue Jays did that June. A hat tip to Mike Axisa at cbssports for his article on that draft, which had me looking a little deeper into the results for the Blue Jays that year.

The drafting process in sports is always a bit of a crap shoot, but it seems that’s especially the case in baseball. Every year we see first round busts, and then players come out of nowhere and perform far beyond expectations that any scout ever saw for them. Scouting in baseball is incredibly difficult.

With that in mind, how did the Blue Jays do in the 2012 draft? They had their own first round pick, plus a a compensation pick because they failed to sign Tyler Beade, their top pick from the 2011 draft, and 3 supplemental selections as well.

Carlos Correa went first overall to the Houston Astros, and he’s a great example of a first overall pick who has lived up to the hype. As the Astros currently sit 12 games ahead in the AL West, Correa is putting together a very fine season, hitting over .300 and on pace for more than 25 home runs from the shortstop position.

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Several other big names were drafted that year including Byron Buxton, Kevin Gausman, Addison Russell and more. The Blue Jays had the 17th overall pick and they chose to use it on D.J. Davis, an athletic outfielder out of high school. Davis hasn’t panned out for the Blue Jays, at least not yet. He’s currently playing in High-A Dunedin, and is hitting .234 across 45 games.

As I mentioned above, baseball is an incredibly difficult sport to draft, and every year we see teams makes mistakes. In fact, 2012 was a good example of that, as 16 teams and the Blue Jays passed on #18 pick, Corey Seager. All he did in his rookie campaign last year was win the Rookie of the Year, finish 3rd in MVP voting, was named to the All-Star game, and won the silver slugger for shortstops in the NL. With all due respect to Davis, the Blue Jays made a significant error on that one, but again, so did 16 other teams.

Later in the first round is where things get going for the Blue Jays. They had a compensation pick at #22 because they failed to sign Tyler Beade the year before, their selection in 2011. With the pick, the Blue Jays took a talented young right-hander who slipped in the draft because of his physical stature. Of course, I’m talking about Marcus Stroman.

Stroman is another great example of the difficulty of drafting in baseball, as based on his production, he shouldn’t have had to wait that long in the first round. Scouts were concerned about how his size would translate to the big leagues, but so far he’s quieted doubters around the game and has made his own brand out of “HDMH”, or Height Doesn’t Measure Heart.

If we’re going to pick on the Blue Jays for having missed out on Seager at #17, we also have to give them credit for seeing something in Stroman that 21 other teams passed on. The former Duke product has been arguably the Blue Jays’ best pitcher, and easily the most accomplished of any arm selected in the first round of the 2012 draft class. You win some, you lose some.

Speaking of which, the rest of the first round picks haven’t worked out terribly well for the Blue Jays thus far either. They had three selections in the supplemental first round, drafting at #50, 58, and 60. They selected left-handed Matt Smoral at #50, third baseman Mitch Nay at #58, and high school right-hander, Tyler Gonzales to close out the round.

Smoral pitched in the Blue Jays system and reached High-A Dunedin, but was unable to advance from there. He was exposed to the Rule 5 draft this season, and the Texas Rangers snapped him up, though he appears to be a long shot to become a big leaguer.

Mitch Nay also advanced to Dunedin, but last played in the Rookie League during last season. He has yet to take the field in 2017 after having three knee surgeries last year, having dealt with an infection throughout the process. Hopefully he can get healthy and continue his development. Lastly, Tyler Gonzales is no longer in baseball, having last pitched in 2013 in the Gulf League.

As underwhelming as that list feels, the Blue Jays did well to gain someone like Stroman who is capable of putting on an ace-like performance. Yes, they may have been essentially 1-5 in 2012, but that particular draft didn’t produce many All-Stars. Other notable names include the likes of Stephen Piscotty, Lance McCullers Jr., Joey Gallo, but not a lot beyond that and the other names mentioned above.

Next: Blue Jays: Biagini should return to the bullpen

Five years down the road should be enough to evaluate how players are going to work out, and as much fun as it would have been to watch Corey Seager in Toronto, Blue Jay fans have to be pretty thankful for their charismatic starter, especially considering he’s been the best pitcher of the draft thus far.