Blue Jays: Setting up another wave with this year’s draft
The Blue Jays have a great opportunity with the #5 pick in this year’s MLB draft. If things go well, they should be able to draft a great player for the future, setting up another wave of MiLB talent.
While the Blue Jays didn’t win a ton of games last year, struggling to a 67-95 record, there were plenty of reasons to tune in and continue to follow the team.
The bulk of the reason for that would be the arrival of plenty of premium talent from the minor league pipeline including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and several others. Add them to a group that included Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Danny Jansen, who had debuted the year before, and suddenly the Blue Jays looked to have a bright future, even if the immediate term was going to be little rocky.
When Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro set out to rebuild the Blue Jays after taking over the front office, they often talked about setting up waves of minor league talent in order to build a sustainable winner. Looking at what they’ve build in the years since, it would seem they’ve stuck to their plan in a lot of ways. We’re seeing one group arriving now, another on the verge that would be led by Nate Pearson and Jordan Groshans, and still another in the lower rungs of the minor leagues, including premium young players like Simeon Woods Richardson, Adam Kloffenstein, and more.
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What makes this year’s draft so exciting for the Blue Jays is they have a chance to add to that third wave of talent, or maybe even set up the beginnings of another depending on who they draft. With the number five pick, they’re going to get a high-end prospect in the first round, but it’s just a matter of seeing who the teams select before them.
After looking at far too many projections on the subject, my guess is that Austin Martin and Spencer Torkelson will go first and second overall, or at the very least won’t be slipping to the fifth spot in the draft. After that there are a lot of players in consideration for the top five, and most of them could fit in well with the Blue Jays plans.
One on hand, they could be looking at picking up another high-end pitcher that could eventually challenge for a spot near the top of a MLB rotation. There are plenty of varying opinions on Emerson Hancock and Asa Lacy, and I think the Blue Jays will be hard pressed to pass on a pitcher of their potential talent if they’re still available. If they prefer an outfielder, both Garrett Mitchell and Zac Veen are found inside the top five on several projection sheets. Mitchell could be more of the centre fielder type and more advanced at 21, but Veen’s power potential at 18 could be tantalizing as well.
With all due respect, what I hope the Blue Jays don’t do is add another middle infielder, even if Nick Gonzales looks like he’s going to be a good one. I’m usually a supporter of drafting the best player available, but if that’s Gonzales at the five spot, I think I’d change my mind this year. That’s not so much a knock on the 20-year-old as it is recognizing that the Blue Jays are already stacked in their middle infield for the foreseeable future, at least on the prospect sheet. After graduating Bichette and Biggio last season, they still have a ton of premium talent on the way in Groshans, Orelvis Martinez, Miguel Hiraldo, and more.
Whatever way they decide to go, Atkins and Shapiro are going to have the opportunity to add an important building block for the long-term future of the franchise. It’s not the easiest thing “getting it right” when it comes to baseball prospects, but if they can at least get close, the Blue Jay are going to be well set up to add to the next wave of prospects, and hopefully help build a sustainable winner.