Blue Jays past swing and misses in the first round piling up

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 26: Starter Ricky Romero
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 26: Starter Ricky Romero /

The Toronto Blue Jays will have the 12th overall selection in the upcoming 2018 MLB amateur draft however historically the Jays front office has had swung and missed more often than not when drafting in the first round.

The first-rounder who somewhat lived up to their expectations would have to be infielder Aaron Hill who was selected 13th overall in the 2003 amateur draft. Hill has accumulated a respectable 23.8 WAR over 1559 major league games throughout his career.

There is also still hope for the likes of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Noah Syndergaard to tilt the pendulum as first-round successes however the majority of the selections have been nothing short of duds over the past decade. Here are a few of the swing and misses to don a Blue Jays jersey at the MLB draft podium, not exactly household names.

2004- David Purcey– $1.6 million signing bonus

Purcey was selected with the 16th overall selection out of the University of Oklahoma. The southpaw spent parts of four seasons with the big club going 5-10 with a 5.42 earned run average starting 21 of his 59 appearances with the Jays. Purcey would eventually be shipped to the Oakland Athletics for Danny Farquhar in 2011. Purcey would last pitch in the majors in 2013 retiring with a career 4.98 earned run average.

2005- Ricky Romero– $2.4 million signing bonus

Ricky Romero was selected 6th overall in a stacked draft sandwiched between Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki in the first round. The lefty hurler enjoyed early success representing the Jays at the All-Star game in 2011. Unfortunately for Romero injuries and confidence issues played a role in his demise and the hurler has not pitched in the majors since 2013. Romero made 129 appearances for the Jays and owns a 4.16 earned run average.

2006- Travis Snider– $1.7 million signing bonus 

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Snider was a much-heralded prospect chosen 14th overall however never lived up to the hype. The outfielder was often the boomerang from the minors to the majors and never hit his stride north of the border. In 5 partial seasons with Toronto Snider slashed .248/.306/.429 with 31 home runs in 242 games. Snider was eventually dealt for Brad Lincoln and continued to bounce from organization to organization never fulfilling his potential.

2007- Kevin Ahrens– 16th/ J.P. Arencibia 21st/ Brett Cecil 38th/ Justin Jackson 45th/ Trystan Magnuson 56th

Brett Cecil has had an adequate major league career as a reliever, Arencibia essentially became a Triple-A catcher and retired early after dealing with confidence issues, Magnuson made nine appearances for the Athletics in 2011 and Ahrens and Jackson never made it to the majors. Current third-baseman Josh Donaldson went 48th overall in this draft to the Chicago Cubs.

2008- David Cooper– $1.5 million signing bonus

Cooper was selected 17th overall by the Jays, however, the first baseman managed only 72 games in the majors over the course of two seasons. Cooper fell victim to a debilitating back injury that sidetracked his career. Cooper did manage to hit .270 in his limited exposure at the major league level.

2009- Chad Jenkins– $1.359 million signing bonus

The hurler was selected 20th overall, five picks before Mike Trout who was taken 25th overall by the Angels. Jenkins has made 46 appearances for the Jays at the major league level last pitching with the big club in 2015. He has a respectable 3.31 earned run average in 100.2 innings of work.

2010- Deck McGuire– $2 million signing bonus

The hurler struggled mightily in the minors for the Jays never living up to his 11th overall billing. McGuire was eventually purchased by the Athletics in 2014 and just recently made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds as the 2017 season drew to a close.

2011- Jacob Anderson

Anderson was taken 35th overall and never made it out of the minor leagues before hanging them up in 2016. He was a career .204 hitter in 164 professional games. The Jays also had the 21st selection in the draft and opted for pitcher Tyler Beede who never signed with the club.

2012- D.J. Davis

The speedy outfielder is still toiling in High-A ball with Dunedin searching for consistent contact. Davis has game-changing speed, however, he needs to be able to get on base more frequently to use it. Davis was selected 17th overall just before Marcus Stroman who went 22nd. The Jays also selected Mitch Nay, Matt Smoral, and Tyler Gonzales with compensation picks in the first round that year, although, none have been able to crack the major league roster.

2013- Phil Bickford

The Jays selected pitcher Phil Bickford with the 10th overall selection however the Jays were unable to come to terms with Bickford.

Next: Blue Jays send eight players to the Arizona Fall League

I will refrain from casting judgment on any player drafted after 2014 as they may still have a shot at salvaging a major league career however one of the Jays 2014 selections Jeff Hoffman has already been dealt to the Rockies in the Tulowitzki deal.

Hopefully, Ross Atkins and company can continue their upward trend and make these picks something of the past.