Image credit: Jordan Groshans (Photo by Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 MLB RECORD: 67-95
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: Even after losing Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio to graduation in 2019, Toronto’s system is strong. Nate Pearson is the best righthanded pitching prospect in the game, and he’s buttressed by an array of talented youngsters. That group includes an especially strong crop of pitching prospects, as well as young position players at the farm’s lowest levels.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: Oddly enough, the Blue Jays’ two best draft picks this decade have both wound up getting dealt to the Mets. Toronto dealt Noah Syndergaard (one of their supplemental first-round picks from 2010) to New York as part of the package for R.A. Dickey in 2012. Six months prior to that deal, the Jays used one of their first-round picks on Duke righty Marcus Stroman. He pitched parts of six seasons for Toronto before being traded to New York last year in a deal that brought back pitching prospects Simeon Woods Richardson and Anthony Kay.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: D.J. Davis (first round, 2012). Stroman was the Jays’ second first-rounder in 2012. Five picks earlier, they took high school outfielder D.J. Davis, who didn’t make it past high Class A and was released in 2018. The pick stings even more because the next player off the board was Corey Seager, who signed with the Dodgers and quickly became one of the game’s premier young players.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): The Jays are flush with shortstops and righthanders. Led by Jordan Groshans (who was having an excellent start to his 2019 season before landing on the shelf with a foot injury) and Orelvis Martinez, the team has eight shortstops among its Top 30 Prospects.That group also includes No. 8 prospect Miguel Hiraldo, who was excellent in the Rookie-level Appalachian League. On the mound, the list starts with Pearson and Woods Richardson and extends to 2019 draftees Alek Manoah and Kendall Williams, 2018 third-rounder Adam Kloffenstein and high-upside Brazilian Eric Pardinho.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): The Jays have no corner infielders among their Top 30 Prospects, and just three players listed at either position on their depth chart. Having Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the hot corner certainly makes the lack of depth at those spots more palatable.
DRAFT TRENDS: Over the last five years, the Blue Jays have hunted for shortstops and righthanders in the first 10 rounds. In that span, the team has drafted nine shortstops and 17 righthanders. The best from those picks is Bo Bichette, the team’s first-rounder in 2016, who was tremendous in his big league debut last season.