Yesterday’s portion of the MLB Draft featured rounds two to ten, with the Toronto Blue Jays having nine picks after the team lost their second-round pick as compensation for the George Springer signing earlier this off-season.
Here’s a quick analysis and recap of how the draft went for the Blue Jays yesterday.
The Toronto Blue Jays used seven of their eight picks on pitchers, with six of them being right-handers and one southpaw. Below are the pitchers drafted by the Blue Jays:
3rd: Ricky Tiedemann; LHP; Golden West College
4th: Chad Dallas; RHP; Tennessee
5th: Irv Carter; RHP; Calvary Christian Academy
6th: Hayden Juenger; RHP; Missouri State
8th: Hunter Gregory; RHP; Old Dominion
9th: Conor Larkin; RHP; Penn State
10th: Connor Cooke; RHP; University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Ross Atkins and co. decided to draft a majority of college arms through yesterday’s rounds with Irv Carter being the only prep school player being selected by the Jays. Ricky Tiedemann earns the honour of being the only southpaw taken by the Blue Jays yesterday as well as the only junior college player.
The only players featured on the MLB.com rankings list selected in rounds two to ten were Carter (#118), Tiedemann (#125), and Chad Dallas (#210). A majority of the college players selected are in their junior year of a four-year program while Conor Larkin was the only senior selected.
All the pitchers drafted by the Jays yesterday all started games this season except for Hayden Juenger who was used in the relief role only. While it is not guaranteed that each pitcher will assume the same role (and most will most likely move to a relief role in the future), it is encouraging to see that almost every pitcher does have experience starting games and can step into that role if required in the minor leagues.
To sign Carter, the Blue Jays will have to get him to forego his commitment to the University of Miami.
The Toronto Blue Jays added seven pitchers to the organization during rounds two to ten of yesterday’s MLB Draft, with two players coming from high school while the rest are from established college programs.
One sort-of position player drafted
The Blue Jays used their seventh-round selection on high schooler Jaden Rudd, who was drafted as an outfielder but is no stranger to the mound as well.
As a high school senior at A. Crawford Mosley High School, Rudd was a force on the mound, pitching to a 7-1 record with a 1.21 ERA and 78 strikeouts. At the plate, the lefty batter sported an impressive .397 average with 31 hits, 17 RBI, and one home run with 13 extra-base hits. He would walk 32 times compared to his five strikeouts through 31 games and would finish the season with a 1.227 OPS.
It appears that the Blue Jays want him to be an outfielder as of right now but there is always the potential he could get some reps on the mound after the strong senior season. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say he will be a two-way player, there is a possibility the club could explore the option if they see a fit. To sign Rudd, they will have to get him to forego his commitment to Notre Dame.
Playing it safe with the college players
Since Ross Atkins and co. have been in the war room since the 2016 draft, they have played it relatively safe by drafting college players throughout a majority of their selections in the higher rounds. They have only selected ten high school players (including this year) within the first ten rounds of the draft since Atkins and Mark Shapiro took control, with Bo Bichette, Jordan Groshans, Adam Kloffenstein, and Kendall Williams (now traded away) being the notable players selected from high school and into the Blue Jays farm system.
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High school players have generally been a riskier draft choice because of their ability to demand more money in that they can refuse to sign and instead attend college and try and improve their draft stock. This happened under former general manager Alex Anthopoulos, with Tyler Beede, Phil Bickford, and Brady Singer deciding not to sign with the Blue Jays out of high school and instead went on to play college ball and being drafted by different organizations a few years later.
Considering NCAA Division I college athletes can now make money off their name, image, and likeness in certain states, high school players now have additional power in their hands when it comes to negotiating signing bonuses and whether or not they feel they can improve their draft stock and make more money through endorsements rather than turn pro. College players could choose to return to school under the same circumstances but the risk is a lot less associated with them when compared to a high school athlete with potentially two to four years ahead of them in post-secondary.
What’s ahead in rounds 11-20?
It is safe to say that the Blue Jays will most likely be targeting college players who will be enticed to sign below or at slot value in an effort to stay under the bonus pool allotment they have. Any high school player drafted after the 10th round is most likely not going to sign and instead head to college to improve their draft stock for a future draft.
In terms of players left on the board, there is a lot of high school athletes who are ranked and still available, most likely because they appear to be more interested in heading to college ball than turning pro. The Blue Jays could waste a late draft pick on a player as a “hey, the option is there if you want it” but there’s little chance any of these high school players will forego college unless significant money is on the table, something the team has little of in this year’s drafts.
When it comes to college-ranked players being available, there is RHP Jonathan Cannon (#89), OF Isaiah Thomas (#97), C Luca Tresh (#101), and RHP Troy Melton (#132) topping the list. Roughly 26 ranked college players are still on the board, and whether or not they have expressed interest in returning to school or demanding too much money, there are some talented players available in a variety of different positions.
It will be interesting to see if the Blue Jays continue to draft pitchers or if they choose to spread it around in the later rounds. Adding pitching depth is never a bad option, and while the Blue Jays have quite a few talented prospects up the middle and behind the plate, it wouldn’t hurt to add a few more outfielders and maybe a few infielders just to shore up the lower levels of the minor league system.