This past offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays had three main players heading into free agency in LHP Robbie Ray, LHP Steven Matz, and 2B Marcus Semien, with each player looking for a long-term contract and a sizeable raise.
Ray ended up winning the AL Cy Young after posting a 2.84 ERA through 193.1 innings with 248 strikeouts while Semien finished in the top three of AL MVP voting while setting the single-season record for home runs by a second baseman at 45 home runs.
All three players ended up signing elsewhere, with the Blue Jays instead signing Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi and trading for Matt Chapman to man third base, moving Santiago Espinal to second. Prior to Semien and Ray signing elsewhere, the Blue Jays presented each player with a qualifying offer, which both players rejected. Matz was not given a QO, meaning he was not tied to any draft pick compensation when he signed a multi-year deal with the Cardinals.
After Semien signed a long-term deal with the Texas Rangers and Ray headed out west to the Seattle Mariners, the Blue Jays earned the 77th pick (compensation for Semien) and the 78th pick (compensation for losing Ray), meaning the Jays front office had four picks to play with before the third round of the 2022 MLB Draft.
Let’s take a look at what losing both players turned into at the MLB Draft.
Keep in mind that neither player has officially signed with the Jays yet, so this could turn into nothing but the front office seems confident that they will be able to sign both players as well as first-round selection Brandon Barriera and second-rounder Josh Kasevich.
After Semien and Ray left the Blue Jays this past offseason, the front office gained two compensation picks in the 2022 MLB Draft and put them to good use.
#77 – Tucker Toman (3B); Hammond School, South Carolina
Ranked at #35 heading into the MLB Draft, third baseman Tucker Toman was featured on numerous mock drafts at the Blue Jays’ #23 pick. Instead, he was still available when the compensation rounds rolled around and the front office wasted no time in selecting him.
Regarded as one of the more well-rounded prep hitters in the 2022 draft, Toman is a switch hitter that shows a bit more bat speed and power from the left side. A below-average runner, Toman’s biggest asset is his hit tool, which ranked at 55 with a power ranking at 50 as he swings from both sides of the plate. He apparently became a bit pull-happy during the summer showcases but many believe he has the bat speed and ability to straighten it out over time.
Defensively he was drafted as a shortstop but it wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up moving to second base given his speed and arm strength.
One interesting thing to note about Toman admitted on Twitter that other teams were interested in him but he ultimately wanted to go to the Blue Jays, citing their development process for new and young players, “this is actually the team I wanted to go to… I know I couldn’t have gone to a better team”.
The 77th pick has a slot value of $846,500 and with Toman having a commitment to Louisiana State and ranking towards the first round, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Jays have to sign him over slot value. The Jays selected a few college seniors from rounds four to eight so they should be able to save some funds there to sign Toman. Shane Farrell, the Jays’ Director of Amateur Scouting, did not seem concerned about signing Toman and the other high selections.
#78 – Cade Doughty (2B); Louisiana State University
The Blue Jays were right back on the board after selecting Toman and decided to go with Cade Doughty, a second baseman out of Louisiana State University who was ranked at #55 by MLB Pipeline heading into the 2022 MLB Draft. He was previously drafted in the 39th round by the Detroit Tigers back in 2019 before deciding to attend college.
Standing at 6’1″, the 21 year old righty-batter posted a .298/.393/.567 slash line during his junior campaign, adding 19 doubles, 15 home runs, and 57 RBI to the tune of a .960 OPS through 238 at-bats. He also had a solid summer in the Florida Collegiate Summer League last year, going 7 for 25 with one double and seven RBI through nine games.
On the diamond, Doughty has split time between second base, shortstop, and third base at LSU, spending a majority of the 2022 campaign at second base while earning a .935 fielding percentage with 14 errors on the year through 59 games (51 games at 2B, seven at SS, and three at 3B). With teammate and fellow top prospect Jacob Berry at third, Doughty performed well at second base and many believe that will be his position at the professional level.
The 78th pick has a slot value of $833,200 and I would imagine the Blue Jays should be able to get the deal done in or around this value.