Blue Jays had some awful first-round draft picks early-on
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Lloyd Moseby with the second overall selection in the 1978 amateur draft, however, they swung and miss for nearly a decade in the first round following that pick.
Baseball is arguably the hardest sport to project prospects and repeatedly hit him home runs when drafting, however, the Blue Jays have an ugly track record when it comes to their first-round selections during the first decade of their existence.
The Blue Jays followed up their Moseby selection the following year with the third overall selection in 1979. Toronto opted for high-school catcher Jay Schroeder, however, the backstop never made it past Single-A and was officially out of professional baseball following the completion of the 1983 season. In taking Schroeder, the Blue Jays overlooked Andy Van Slyke and Tim Wallach who were drafted later in the first round that year.
Following a disappointing 53-109 season in 1979, the Blue Jays were awarded the second overall selection in 1980. The opportunity to make amends for the Schroeder pick was lost as the Blue Jays once again swung and missed when they drafted highschool shortstop Garry Harris.
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Similarly to Schroeder, Harris would never play above Double-A and would retire from baseball at the conclusion of the 1983 season in which he hit .224 for Knoxville.
Following a slight improvement in the standings in 1980, Toronto drafted fifth overall in 1981 and once again failed miserably. The Blue Jays drafted pitcher Matt Williams who would eventually make his MLB debut in 1983 making four appearances and surrendering 13 runs over eight innings.
Williams would be dealt to the Texas Rangers in the summer of 1985 in exchange for Cliff Johnson. The right-hander would make six appearances for the Rangers and then never pitch in the majors again.
The scouting bureau once again had an opportunity to atone for their previous misfortunes in 1982 with the second pick in the draft. Unfortunately, they once again dropped the proverbial ball selecting shortstop Augie Schmidt.
The shortstop would spend five seasons in the minors before hanging up the spikes, never getting a sniff of the show. The Blue Jays passed on pitcher Dwight Gooden who would go fifth overall to the New York Mets and also a future familiar name in Duane Ward who was taken ninth overall by the Atlanta Braves.
The1983 ninth overall selection was much of the same when they drafted backstop Matt Stark. The catcher would enjoy 13 career games in the majors, five of those with the Blue Jays. Pitcher Roger Clemens was drafted 19th overall in the first round.
In1984 the Chicago White Sox received the Blue Jays first-round pick as compensation for signing pitcher Dennis Lamp.
From 1985 to 1987 household names like Greg David, Earl Sanders and Alex Sanchez were the Jays choices in the first round as their downward spiral of drafting duds continued.
Finally, in 1988, the team drafted Ed Sprague with the 25th overall pick, not a Hall of Famer but a definite upgrade over their past picks.
The first decade of first-round picks was a collection of misfires which must have been problematic for a team attempting to build a solid foundation from the ground up as a new franchise.