While it’s common for prospects to get drafted and still choose to go to college, Blue Jays fans can dream of a “what if” scenario with these players who were originally selected by Toronto.
The first thing you must understand before reading this, especially as a Jays fan, is that all five of these players were drafted by the Blue Jays out of high school, which means the team must offer them enough money to lure them away from the top colleges in America. This allows players to typically develop at top D1 schools for three years before entering the draft again, much more polished, and thus being drafted higher and receiving a bigger cheque.
Many high school picks beyond the first several rounds don’t sign, and even first rounders aren’t guaranteed as three of the top 30 selections in last years’ draft didn’t sign. Even Brady Aiken, the first-overall pick in 2014 went unsigned by the Houston Astros.
You can applaud the Jays scouting staff for seeing the potential in these 17-18 year-olds when they drafted them. But you can also sit back and think about what could have been had the Blue Jays had some of these young stars ready to blossom into their lineup around the time they were slugging their way to back-to-back ALCS appearances in 2015 and 2016.
Teams obviously kick themselves when a draft pick heads off to school and comes back as a first-rounder, but they kick themselves even more when one of those first rounders becomes an MVP at the age of 24 or and another becomes Cy Young finalist at the age of 25.
Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, they were just a signature away from owning both of those players.