Toronto Blue Jays: The 10 worst first-round picks since 2000

Which former Blue Jays' first-round draft picks do they regret taking over the past 23 years?

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics
Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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2016 – RHP T.J. Zeuch (21st)

Notable players passed over: Will Smith (32nd), Bryan Reynolds (59th), Pete Alonso (64th), Shane Bieber (122nd)

In 2016, the Jays took a shot at the product of University of Pittsburgh with their first-round pick of pitcher T.J. Zeuch. The name sure sounded powerful and unique enough, and most likely would have been a hit with the fanbase, as whenever he struck out a batter, one can coin the term and say they were “Zeuched”. He actually made some steady progress through the minor leagues and by 2019, he finally made his debut in the big leagues with the Jays, but would not end up sticking long with the team. His best season was in 2020 when he managed to get into three games in the COVID-shortened season and went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA. However, following a sub-par 2021 season, he was eventually traded to the St. Louis Cardinals later that year for cash considerations, similar to the fate of McGuire in 2014.

Zeuch is currently with the Phillies organization, but appears to be far lower in the pecking order for reaching the majors once again in the near future. Looking back, the Jays missed out on some sure-fire prospects in catcher Will Smith, outfielder Bryan Reynolds, and first baseman Pete Alonso. Reynolds in particular has been rumoured previously as a projected target by the Jays during the past offseason, but apparently his asking price was quite high.

For Alonso’s sake, we will always remember him as the one that beat Vladdy in the epic Home Run Derby despite Guerrero setting the all-time record of 91 in the process. If looking down even further, there’s even Cleveland Guardians’ ace Shane Bieber with the 122nd pick, which could be a potential trade target right now for the Jays as they look to shore up their starting pitching. If we had the chance to get any one of them earlier, we wouldn’t have to ponder about trading for them now.