Blue Jays sign three undrafted free agents post-MLB Draft

New York Mets v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Mets v Toronto Blue Jays / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages

Now that the Blue Jays have come to terms with nearly every pick they made in the 2023 MLB Draft, there were a few extra names in the list of players they signed post-draft. Not only have first-rounder Arjun Nimmala, third-rounder Juaron Watts-Brown and fourth-rounder Landon Maroudis signed, but so have three additional players who went undrafted, becoming undrafted free agents.

JJ Sanchez, the lone undrafted pitcher the Blue Jays brought aboard, is a left-handed hurler who has a tall, wiry frame but is a strikeout machine with some high velocity in his arm. The 23-year-old played at Southeastern University this past season and was a massive part of their pitching staff. In 17 outings (eight starts), Sanchez was 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA and 65 strikeouts in just 37.2 innings of work. He doesn't allow home runs practically at all

While Sanchez has not yet been formally assigned to a minor league affiliate of the Jays, he is excited to get going. He told The Ledger out of Lakeland, Florida, "it means the world to me to go play at the next level. All the hard work pays off when you dedicate yourself to it. Do the little things right and good things will happen. Southeastern was a special place for me to play at. I developed as a pitcher and a better man off the field. I couldn't have done it without the coaching staff that believed in me since the day I got there."

Aside from Sanchez, the Blue Jays also signed catcher Nate LaRue out of Mobile, Alabama. The 21-year-old was previously selected by the club in the 2019 MLB Draft but did not sign with team. As if it was meant to be, he is now on the team that drafted him a few years back. The backstop doesn't have much of a bat, but he is regarded as an incredible defensive option behind the plate who can also pitch a little bit. His collegiate career saw him hit just .202 over 130 games, but he had a 2.84 ERA in 14 relief outings and also ranked near the top of the league in caught stealing percentage and total pickoffs.

Finally, the Blue Jays also signed middle infielder Bryce Arnold, who is a native of Canada. The 22-year-old (whose birthday is today, happy birthday!) stands at 5-foot-10 and rode a strong collegiate season this year to his first professional contract. In 59 games for the Campbell Fighting Camels, Arnold hit 19 doubles and 17 home runs with 65 RBI, a .321 batting average and an OPS of 1.050. He plays second, third and shortstop and is regarded as a slick fielder, so he could be one to watch if he can continue to swing the bat well and play solid defense for the Jays.