Blue Jays: The All Time Drafted and Developed Team
As there currently isn’t much on the horizon for baseball, we can look back at the history of the Blue Jays All-Time Developed Team.
In today’s ranking, I’ve taken a look at another All Blue Jays team, this one is about the top player at each position that the Blue Jays drafted, developed, and played a significant amount of time in Toronto.
The list doesn’t include players like Carlos Delgado who was signed as an international free agent, Manny Lee who was a rule 5 pick up or players like Jeff Kent who were drafted and developed but went on to have elite careers with other teams.
Catcher: Pat Borders
The 1982 MLB June Amateur draft could go down as the greatest draft the Toronto Blue Jays ever completed. They picked up three players in the draft that would play significant roles in the 1992 World Series. In the sixth round of the draft, Toronto selected Pat Borders out of Lake Wales High School in Florida.
If you want to talk about slowly developing a player, Pat Borders would be the prototype for this philosophy. Borders played 5 ½ years in the minors starting as a 19-year old in Rookie ball back in 1982. In 1988, after almost 500 minor league games he was brought up to back-up Blue Jays legend Ernie Whitt.
Everybody remembers J.P. Arencibia’s legendary first game, but Borders first game wasn’t too shabby either. Borders caught Mike Flanagan to his first win of the season, he threw out Willie Wilson trying to steal third base and went 3 for 5 with a triple and five RBI.
Borders would be Whitt’s back-up for the next two seasons before taking over as the Blue Jays’ number one catcher in 1990 and for the next five seasons.
In his first full season as the catcher, he threw out 43% of players attempting to steal on him, while allowing just six passed balls over 115 games. Every season as a Jays’ catcher, Borders threw out at least 31% would-be base stealers.
Borders is most known for his 1992 World Series heroics. During the Blue Jays first appearance in the World Series, Border went 9 for 20 (.450) with three doubles and a home run to take home the MVP honors. In the ALCS that year, he batted 7 for 22 (.318) with a home run and over 32 career playoff games, Borders had a .315 batting average and .753 OPS.
Borders would depart Toronto as a free agent prior to the 1995 season and bounce around the league playing for nine teams in 10 years, including a brief six game appearance back with the Blue Jays in 1999. Borders retired in 2005 last playing for the Seattle Mariners. He currently sits 42nd on the Blue Jays All-Time in home runs (fifth by catchers).
Honorable Mention: J.P. Arencibia and Danny Jansen