With the 2023 MLB Draft underway in Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays have finally made their first-round pick. With the 20th pick overall, the Blue Jays gladly selected shortstop sensation Arjun Nimmala out of Strawberry Crest High School, Florida. The 17-year-old prospect was ranked 11th on MLB Pipeline’s Draft Top 250 prior to the draft, as the Jays opted to go with the best player available, as opposed to addressing an area of need. In addition, Nimmala becomes the second consecutive prep prospect taken by the Jays, after selecting Brandon Barriera last year with their first-round pick out of American Heritage High School, Florida.
Nimmala was definitely not one of the projected draft targets for the Blue Jays across many sources, so it may have come to the surprise of many, since they already have a stock of solid infielders coming up in their system. But that didn’t turn the Jays away from nabbing Nimmala, as the exciting prospect is known for his lightning fast hands, along with plus raw power and bat speed. Despite being very young with respect to his draft class, it is believed that his ultimate long-term potential could be limitless.
Scouting grades ranked him with a Hit tool of 50, Power tool of 55, Run tool of 50, Arm tool of 55, Field tool of 50, for an overall grade of 55, so he is definitely well-rounded in all areas. He also has the ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field as well. However, he still has some issues with regards to pitch selection and producing quality at-bats at the plate, but that can come around as he matures into hopefully an effective and prolific baseball player in the near future.
After MLB Draft success with strong picks such as Alek Manoah and Barriera in recent years, the Jays certainly hope that Nimmala will ultimately become the next gem on their list of successful picks, helping the Jays to strengthen their pipeline in the minor league system in preparation for their eventual, impactful arrivals to the big leagues in the near future.