3 recent draft picks the Blue Jays got right, and 2 they will regret
By Darcy Weiss
Alek Manoah - 1st round - 2019
Alek Manoah was drafted 11th overall in 2019 and is an anomaly in that he only needed 35 minor league innings pitched before getting the call to the Blue Jays. This was the case due to the unprecedented times during the COVID-19 pandemic and the league-wide roster changes made for that shortened season. The big right-hander did not need much refinement in the minors, as he impressed with a 9-2 record and a strong 3.22 ERA across 111.2 innings during his rookie season. He followed up his stellar rookie season with an improved 16-7 record to go with a sparkling 2.24 ERA over 196.2 innings. The lone MLB All-Star from the 2019 draft class thus far has struggled to begin the 2023 season as he is still adjusting to the pitch clock and pacing of the game, though his pedigree would suggest that he works through this rough patch and gets back on track as one of the best young pitchers in the league.
Verdict: Got it right.
CJ Van Eyk - 2nd round - 2020
CJ Van Eyk was selected in the second round, 42nd overall in the 2020. He struggled in his initial minor league season at A+ with a 5.83 ERA over 80.1 innings. He has only managed three innings thus far into the 2023 season in A ball and is not ranked in the teams’ top-30 prospects. There were several players selected after him that have either proven themselves at the major league level already, or developed into top-100 prospects, such as Spencer Strider (4th round), Logan Allen (2nd round), Bryce Elder (5th round), and top prospects such as Brandon Pfaadt (#51 prospect), Gavin Stone (#48 prospect) and Joey Wiemer (#81 prospect). It’s always difficult to predict the futures of young, inexperienced prospects, though due to the struggles early on in his minor league career and the valuable players selected after him, the Blue Jays likely regret this selection already.