Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Looking back at high valued draft picks who didn’t sign

Apr 6, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (44) throws against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (44) throws against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Blue Jays
Sep 26, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Tyler Beede (38) delivers against the Colorado Rockies in the fourth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports /

Tyler Beede – RHP

Drafted: 21st overall in the first round in 2011

A high schooler at the time of the 2011 amateur draft, the Blue Jays decided to use their first pick on Tyler Beede, a pitcher from Lawerence Academy in Groton, Massachusets.

Committed to playing college baseball at Vanderbilt University, Alex Anthopoulos and co. decided to take a gamble and draft Beede knowing he was commited to the university. Even though the team offered him a signing bonus worth over $2 million dollars, the two sides never came to an agreement and Beede would go on to play for Vanderbilt.

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The right-hander would eventually be selected by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 2014 draft at 14th overall, receiving a signing bonus worth $2.65 million from the organization. Beede would make his major league debut in 2018 and currently sports a 5.27 ERA through 124.2 innings with 54 walks and 122 strikeouts. The right-hander would not pitch in 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier in the year and is currently rehabbing in the minor leagues.

As compensation for failing to sign Beede, the Blue Jays would select Marcus Stroman at 22nd overall in 2012.

Phil Bickford – RHP

Drafted: 10th overall in the first round in 2013

Another high school selection in the first round, California native Phil Bickford was another pitcher to spurn the Blue Jays in order to play college baseball.

With a commitment to Cal State Fullerton, Bickford and the Blue Jays failed to reach an agreement with the right-hander, the second time in three years that the front office could not sign their first overall selection. The tenth spot had a slot value of $2,921,400 dollars, and while A.A. apparently offered above slot value to Bickford, the high schooler could not be swayed and would go on to play college baseball.

Bickford would be drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round, 18th overall two years later, signing for roughly $2.3 million. In 2016, the Giants would trade Bickford and catcher Andrew Susac to the Milwuakee Brewers for pitcher Will Smith.

Bickford would make his major league debut in 2020, going one inning while giving up four earned runs with two strikeouts. He would make one appearance in 2021 for the Brewers, going one inning while surrendering two earned runs before being designated for assignment at the end of April. The Los Angeles Dodgers would select him off waivers, and he was recently recalled from the minor leagues on May 23. Through two appearances and 1.1 innings with the Dodgers, Bickford has thrown to a 0.00 ERA with three strikeouts.

With the Blue Jays failing to sign Bickford, they were compensated with the 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft and would select catcher Max Pentecost.

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