The Toronto Blue Jays appear to be heading into the 2016 MLB draft with few selections and an unclear approach with new management in place.
The 2016 MLB Draft won’t be held for months from now. By then, the snow will have melted, grass will be growing and baseball will be well under way. And while most of us will be busy watching the Toronto Blue Jays defend their AL East title, some of us will have one eye fixed on the minor league system. Even fewer of us will be locked in on the draft.
But, if you are one of those who really follow the draft, then you will not be too excited about where the Blue Jays sit early on. Now, we should mention that a lot can change between now and the draft, so positions may vary. For example, Yovani Gallardo was extended a qualifying offer this fall and has yet to sign with a new club. When he does, the draft pick attached to him will be assigned.
Gallardo’s future is just one hinge upon which the draft hangs. Chris Davis, Howie Kendrick and Alex Gordon are others. However, MLB lists the draft order as it stands now. As stated earlier, if you enjoy the draft and you enjoy the Blue Jays, you might want to look away. Currently, the Blue Jays have the 24th pick (in Round 1), the 55th pick (Round 2) because they failed to sign Brady Singer, the 65th pick (also Round 2), the 102nd pick (Round 3). So, in the top 106 picks- three rounds- the Blue Jay shave a whopping total of 4 picks.
What comes to mind firstly is the idea that new club president, Mark Shapiro took over the team under the reported notion that the system was lacking; that former GM, Alex Anthopoulos, had traded away so much minor league capital that the cupboards were bare. Whether Shapiro actually felt that way or not, the upcoming draft situation can’t exactly help assuage his comfort. No, he and his team will have to be very clever about drafting this year. Gone are the days when AA stockpiled draft picks and had 8 of them come the summer. Some creativity and hard work is called for this year.
MLB ranks the prospects heading into the draft for us. Unfortunately for Blue Jays fans, they only rank the top 50. That makes it difficult to try and look ahead when your team only has one pick within those 50 spots.
At number 24 (the Blue Jays first pick) is Daulton Jefferies, a righty who sounds a lot like Marcus Stroman. He’s not very tall, fields well and is a competitor on the mound. He offers a mid 90’s fastball. The 23rd spot belongs to a guy with a great name: Kyle Funkhouser. Apparently, he was ranked higher on the US collegiate national team than some high picks from last year’s draft and was seeking a high price. He fell in the draft and decided to go back to school. At 21st is an interesting choice. A lefty named Matt Krook who is coming off Tommy John surgery. He failed to sign with the Marlins after medical issues. Could his price drop?
Some of the Blue Jays strategy will be impacted by dollars. According to Baseball America, they have an estimated allotment of $6,705,984 (wonder where they’ll spend that $4…) for this year’s draft. BA came up with this figure by using the 6% increase in MLB revenue as their base. Will signability be a factor this year? It wasn’t in the past under AA. But, do Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins share the same care free approach? Will they feel comfortable risking a draft pick on a guy who may not sign? It hasn’t been the way the Indians operated.
As the offseason continues to move closer and closer to a finish and the draft gets closer and closer, obviously the picture will become more and more clear. Between now and then, though, you are bound to hear many different versions of what people think or expect the Blue Jays to do come draft day. And, when that day comes, it just might be the first real opportunity the club’s new regime has to put their mark on this franchise.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.