2019 Draft Review: Blue Jays Select Alek Manoah and Kendall Williams On Day 1

Jays From the Couch reviews Day 1 of the Toronto Blue Jays Draft

 

 

It’s draft time again! While your Toronto Blue Jays struggle to do anything impressive on the field, the organization is working hard to improve the team’s talent of tomorrow. On Monday, June 3rd, the Blue Jays were off, leading many fans to follow along on MLB Network as the Blue Jays selected their first two picks of the 2019 MLB Draft.

We previewed the multiple directions the club could take a few weeks ago, whether it be college pitchers, college bats or high school/prep hitters. To start things out, they went the college pitcher route, selecting West Viginia University’s Alek Manoah with the 11th overall pick.

 

 

Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia (Round 1, 11th Overall)

 

The first thing you’ll notice about Alek Manoah is that he’s a huge dude, pushing 6’6″ (I’ve also heard 6’7″) and rounding out at a robust 275 corn-fed American pounds. He uses his size well, lighting up the radar gun in the upper 90s, topping out at 97 MPH. Baseball America has an outstanding profile of him here.

 

 

So, the experts are into it, whether or not you liked our post from a couple weeks back. At the moment, Manoah is close to his ceiling, with a tremendous K/BB ratio, and a fastball in the upper 90s, but he’s currently lacking a third pitch to round out his repertoire, depending on who you ask. As a result, some see him projecting as a back-of-the-bullpen, high-leverage guy rather than a middle-of-the-rotation starter. I’m extremely bullish on Manoah, so for me, he’s a starter until he isn’t.

 

 

Kendall Williams, RHP, IMG Academy (Round 2, 52 Overall)

 

In the second round, the Blue Jays went big again, selecting 6’6″ right-hand pitcher Kendall Williams 52nd overall out of the IMG Academy in Florida. While he lacks Manoah’s girth, Williams can touch 94-95 MPH with his fastball, but you’d have to imagine that at 6’6″ he can add some serious velocity as he develops. The Blue Jays must see some projection in Williams, who recently dropped 16 places in BA’s Top 500 draft prospects list, possibly due to his commitment to Vanderbilt – which is considered to be a strong one.

 

Williams fires from a three-quarters arm slot, which has varied the angles on his breaking pitches, including a bender that ranges from a prototypical 11-5 Uncle Charlie to a slurvy, flat rainbow that finishes on the left-hand  batter’s box side. He also features a decent change-up, and all of his secondary stuff rates above-average.

 

 

At just 18, Williams will necessitate much more development than Manoah, and that’s okay. Polishing his breaking pitches and change-up, establishing more velocity on his fastball, and filling out his ample frame will all fall on Williams’ to-do list should he sign with Toronto this summer.

 

 

 

Looking Back on Day 1

 

Always draft the best player available. If the player fits a need in the system, then that’s great. With the first round pick of Alek Manoah, the Blue Jays were able to do both of those things. There is a dearth of high-upside pitchers in this year’s draft, let alone one that has the potential to move as quickly as Manoah. A+

 

We heard a hundred times from the MLB Network team that after the first 15 or so picks, the rankings became muddy. As such, teams started running with high school and prep players more and more late last night, and the Blue Jays walked away with Kendall Williams at No. 52. A

 

The pitching shelves are looking bare for the Blue Jays’ minor league system, but they managed to place two nice new items on the front of the shelf last night, with a quick-moving Alek Manoah up front and saving a potential high-ceiling guy in Kendall Williams for later. After Day 1, it’s hard not to be excited about the Blue Jays’ solid draft day.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Roy-Z

Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.