Regardless of the construction of the 40-Man roster, you should always draft the best player available
In 2018, the Toronto blue Jays went a little off the board, drafting Jordan Groshans 12th Overall in the 2019 entry draft. A toolsy shortstop/third baseman from Texas’ Magnolia Prep, Groshans was a bit of a head-scratcher at the time, a not necessarily safe pick, but one you would like to dream off of in the first round. A bit more strategy was evident by Round 3, where after selecting Griffin Conine in Round 2, the Blue Jays selected Groshans’ teammate from Magnolia, the 6’5″, 243-pound corn-fed hurler Adam Kloffenstein at No. 88 overall.
From there, the Blue Jays bounced around with their strategy, paying close attention to college players (Sean Wymer, 4th Round), Christopher Bec – 8th Round, Nick Podkul – 7th), but mostly filled out their rookie ball clubs with high school kids. Previous Blue Jays drafts had been burned by a few college arms in the past, including Deck McGuire, Jon Harris and others.
So where will the Blue Jays go with their picks (Highest: 11th) in the 2019 Draft? There’s been a few mock drafts already over at MLB Pipeline and Baseball America, and we’ll look at those to see if anything stands out.
For this post, we used the following sources:
- Baseball America’s Most Recent Mock Draft
- MLB Pipeline’s Most Recent Mock Draft, and
- Baseball America’s Top 500 Draft Prospects Rankings
In Baseball America’s latest mock, the authors have the Blue Jays closely-linked with UNLV shortstop, Bryson Stott. There’s no real solid linkages to go off of, however, as it’s more just rumors that the Blue Jays are looking for a bat – college or high school. Stott fits the profile that the Jays have looked at as of late, big, toolsy shortstops. Stott might lead the top of the college shortstop ranks, has a good glove at the positions. While regarded early on as more of a slap-hitter, Stott developed some more power this Spring, including an approach using the whole field – but with an uptick in swing-and-miss. In the end, he profiles as more of a third baseman, which will mean his bat will need to carry him.
Other names in the Baseball America recent mocks:
Corbin Carroll, Seattle High School OF: The 5’10” lefty Carroll has good speed to play in the OF, good feel for the strike zone and a hit tool that stands out among prep high school OF. Carroll is committed to UCLA, but BA provides an interesting little tidbit:
Carroll’s all-around package and polish could allow him to become the highest-drafted Washington high schooler this century, passing Reese McGuire (2013) and Travis Snider (2006), who were both selected with the 14th overall pick. Carroll is committed to UCLA.
Brett Baty, Austin High School 3B: Another lefty bat, Baty hails from a Texas High School, where he is considered “one of the best pure hitters in the draft.” He features 70 raw power, and defensive improvements of late should earn him a chance to stick at third base. He is committed to the Texas Longhorns but isn’t considered a tough sign.
Over at MLB Pipeline, the experts there have San Jacinto JC pitcher Jackson Rutledge going to the Blue Jays on Day 1 at No. 11. While they dance into a little hyperbole, calling Rutledge the “best Junior College prospect since Bryce Harper“, Rutledge would be a real interesting pick (BA has him going 12th to the Mets.) Rutledge is a big boy at 6’8” and listed at 260 pounds, and that mass translates into a 90-93 MPH fastball and a 0.93 ERA and 123 strikeouts in just 77+ innings in 2019, second-best in the junior college ranks. His slider and curve are both considered plus, and according to BA, he was an intern with Pro Pitching Performance in 2018 – so he’s shown that will to get better, whatever it takes.
Other Names in the Blue Jays Range
While the above have been most commonly linked to the Jays according to the experts, there are some other names that the Jays might pursue. We’ll take a look at a few more, although they might be longshots.
The Jays have been burned by college arms in the past, and admittingly, Manoah kind of fits the low-ceiling, semi-polished college arm of the Anthopoulous years. Still, Manoah possesses a power fastball (mid-upper 90s) and a wipeout slider. He’s 6’6″ and another thick pitcher at 260 pounds, and the Blue Jays have not shied away from those in recent years. His nicks include some command/control issues and a lack of a strong third pitch. He shouldn’t be a tough sign, but he is still only a Sophomore.
If a player is the best available, why not take a stretch? Leiter is considered a tough sign, as he is committed to the Vanderbilt Pitching Factory (TM) and has some pretty incredible guidance from his father, 19-year veteran and Ex-Blue Jays Great Al Leiter. However, he’s the best prep are in the draft, and someone is going to take him. There’s a few scenarios in which Leiter could become a Blue Jay, however unlikely:
- The Blue Jays’ draft someone at No. 12 that signs for under slot, and the Jays save enough money to overpay Leiter and get him to shun his commitment to Vanderbilt.
- The Blue Jays’ draft board gets wrecked early on, and Leiter becomes their top guy as early as No. 12. If you can’t get the guys you want early, why wait to take the best arm in the draft?
Leiter, of course, is a long shot, but he might be the best arm in the draft, and as a polished prep arm with the MLB pedigree (not to mention this front office’s fetish for such things), he should at least be considered a possibility on Day 1.
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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.