Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Areas to focus on with their first pick at the 2022 MLB Draft

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 25: Ross Atkins General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks on the phone ahead of playing the Boston Red Sox in their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on April 25, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 25: Ross Atkins General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks on the phone ahead of playing the Boston Red Sox in their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on April 25, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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Blue Jays
TORONTO, ON – JUNE 01: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13, Raimel Tapia #15 and Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays talk in the outfield during a MLB game against the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre on June 01, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

College-level Outfielder

Another area that lacks depth in the Blue Jays prospect charts is in the outfield. The Jays have five outfielders currently featured on the top prospect list but only three of them are considered true position players, as Otto Lopez and Samad Taylor can play infield positions as well. Taylor is also eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this upcoming season and is currently not on the 40-man roster list, and was one player that I thought other teams may take a chance on had the draft not been cancelled due to the lockout.

The Blue Jays do have some outfield depth in Dasan Brown, Yhoangel Aponte, and Sebastian Espino, all of whom feature on the top prospect list, but both Brown and Aponte are years away from AAA let alone the big leagues and Espino is Rule 5 eligible this offseason as well. Logan Warmoth is playing well this season and could be a factor as well as Nathan Lukes, but he is only in on a MiLB deal and could sign elsewhere this offseason while Warmoth is currently in his six-season in the minors and should be free agent eligible after this season (as Minor League players were awarded service time for the lost 2020 season). Other names down in AA include Zac Cook, Cam Eden, and Will Robertson, who fell off the top prospect list this season.

With Teoscar Hernandez, Raimel Tapia, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. all free-agent eligible after the 2023 campaign, having some outfield depth in the higher levels of the minors will bode well in the event that multiple players leave, especially if the club is intent on re-signing both Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and want to use some prospects/rookie players in other areas as cost-saving measures.

This draft strategy works well considering right around the 23rd pick this season are some college-level outfielders who could fit the bill and potentially work their way through the minor leagues faster than a high-school player (as well as the potential under-slot bonuses that I mentioned earlier). This would also be added insurance should players leave via MiLB free agency or through the Rule 5 Draft.

Potential Draftees: Chase DeLauter (James Madison), Dylan Beavers (California), Jordan Beck (Tennessee), Sterlin Thompson (Florida), Drew Gilbert (Tennessee)

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