Blue Jays: Looking at the first round draft picks under Ross Atkins
General Manager Ross Atkins joined the Toronto Blue Jays after the previous manager Alex Anthopoulos left for the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2015 season. Since then, the Blue Jays have gone through a painful rebuilding period that saw many of the veteran players either traded or not resigned, changing the dynamic of the roster to become younger and based primarily on homegrown talent with a few veteran free agent signings like Hyun Jin Ryu and George Springer.
Joining the team in 2015, the Blue Jays have drafted rather well, signing all of their top draft picks and building a strong core that makes up the majority of the roster today.
2016 – T.J. Zeuch
RHP out of Pittsburgh University
Drafted in the first round at 21st overall, T.J. Zeuch was one of the top college arms available on the board during the 2016 draft.
Since joining the Blue Jays, Zeuch has spent the majority of his professional career in the minor leagues with a handful of major league appearances. Making his debut in 2019, through 12 outings with the Blue Jays over the past three seasons, the right-hander owns a 4.50 ERA with 22 walks, 29 strikeouts, and a 1.500 WHIP over 46.0 innings.
Ross Atkins joined the Blue Jays at the tail end of the 2015 season, with this article examining all of his first-round picks through the past five years.
The command has been one of the bigger issues for Zeuch, as he issues too many free passes and just hasn’t done enough to earn a spot in the major league rotation. His future career may be more destined in the bullpen but as of right now, the organization is keeping him stretched out in AAA, where he currently owns a 5.25 ERA through five starts with seven walks and 19 strikeouts.
Notable players drafted after Zeuch: Bo Bichette (66th) and Cavan Biggio (162nd)
2017 – Logan Warmoth
SS out of North Carolina University
The first college shortstop selected off the board at 22nd overall, Logan Warmoth has been steadily climbing the Jays farm system since making his professional debut in 2017. Through four years in the minor leagues, Warmoth sports a .252/.330/.351 with nine home runs, 90 RBI, and a .681 OPS.
This season, Warmoth is playing his first season in AAA and currently features a .227/.310/.400 with 8 RBI and a .710 OPS. The righty slugger has also been moved from the infield and is now primarily used in the outfield, spending time in all three areas.
2017 – Nate Pearson
RHP out of College of Central Florida
One of the top junior college prospects in the 2017 draft, the Blue Jays decided to use their second pick in the first round (as compensation for losing Edwin Encarnacion in free agency) on pitcher Nate Pearson at 28th overall.
Crushing opposing batters through almost every level of the minor leagues, Pearson is known for his high-velocity fastball and for being one of the top prospects in recent years for the club. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2020 to mixed results, and through six appearances over two years, he’s thrown to a 6.64 ERA with 18 walks and 16 strikeouts.
Pearson has yet to find his groove in the big leagues and has struggled with his command and staying healthy. Having dealt with a multitude of injuries throughout his minor league career, he currently finds himself in AAA trying to build himself back up to the big league club after a rough outing in Houston earlier this year.
Notable players selected after Warmoth and Pearson: Riley Adams (99th) and Ty Tice (489th)