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Blue Jays Draft Report Card

Best Pro Debut: RHP Jordan DeJong (18) topped the Rookie-level Pioneer League with 16 saves. He went 7-1, 1.30 with a 65-11 strikeout-walk ratio and a .139 opponent batting average in 48 innings between the PL and the short-season New York-Penn League. 1B Jason Perry (6) batted .384-11-41 for the same two clubs. The NY-P team was loaded with successful pitchers, led by LHP Justin Maureau (3), who posted a 1.44 ERA, 51-12 K-BB ratio and a .158 opponent average in 44 innings. SS Russ Adams (1) was a NY-P all star, hitting .354 before a promotion to high Class A, while 3B Scott Dragicevich (36) earned the same distinction in the PL, where he batted .296-6-37.

Best Athlete: Adams has every tool but power, yet his biggest assets may be his instincts and hustle. OF Randy Braun (17) could be a Paul O’Neill type. RHP Chad Pleiness (5) was a three-year starter for Central Michigan’s basketball team.

Best Pure Hitter: Adams is a perfect leadoff man because he knows how to work counts, make contact and get on base. He drew 42 walks versus 28 strikeouts.

Best Raw Power: Perry, who will see more time in the outfield next season.

Fastest Runner: Adams has a step above-average speed, but he’s a proficient basestealer because he knows the game so well. He succeeded on 18 of his 21 attempts.

Best Defensive Player: Cs Paul Richmond (28) and John Schneider (13) finished 1-2 in the NY-P in throwing out basestealers at 53 and 52 percent. Schneider has the better defensive package, while Richmond is the superior hitter. Adams is staying at shortstop for now but projects to move to second base, where he could be a Gold Glover.

Best Fastball: RHPs David Bush (2) and Adam Peterson (4) throw 91-94 mph. RHP John Wesley, who was often injured in college at South Carolina, reached 96 mph after signing as a nondrafted free agent.

Best Breaking Ball: Maureau had one of the best curveballs in the draft. Pleiness, who led NCAA Division I with 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings last spring, throws 88-92 mph and gets his whiffs with his curveball. Bush’s slider can be dominant.

Most Intriguing Background: SS/3B Brad Hassey’s (19) father Ron and unsigned C Andrew Butera’s (48) father Sal both caught in the majors.

Closest To The Majors: The Blue Jays have several middle-infield options in the majors, so Bush and Maureau could beat Adams to Toronto if they stay in the bullpen.

Best Late-Round Pick: DeJong, who showed a steady 90-92 mph fastball and solid breaking pitch all summer.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Matt Farnum (24) took his 91-95 mph fastball back to Texas A&M.

Assessment: Toronto’s first six picks are advanced college players who tasted immediate success. Bush, Maureau, Peterson and DeJong all could address Toronto’s need for a closer. If LHP Chris Leonard (8) makes a successful recovery from Tommy John surgery, a strong draft will look even better.

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