Toronto Blue Jays MLB Draft History And Projections
As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.
Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.
It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e. high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.
Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Toronto Blue Jays:
General Manager: Ross Atkins (Since 2017)
Scouting Director: Steve Sanders (Since 2017)
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $7,356,000 (22nd)
2018 MLB Draft Order:
1st Round: 12th
2nd Round: 52nd
3rd Round: 88th
4th-40: 116th in each round.
First Round Picks Since 2013:
2016: T.J. Zeuch (21st)
2015: Jon Harris (29th)
2013: Phil Bickford (10th)
Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):
OF Kevin Pillar (32nd round, 2011) has never been a league-average hitter since his major league debut in 2013, but he has given the Blue Jays outstanding outfield defense and was worth almost 12 bWAR from 2013-2017, primarily on the value of his glove. That sort of value in the 32nd round is obviously a huge victory for the Blue Jays’ scouting department.
Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):
The Blue Jays have been fairly split between high school players and four-year university prospects, selecting 13 of each since 2013 in the top five rounds. They have also drafted a pair of players from junior colleges.
The same is true when looking at Toronto’s draft history from a position player vs. pitcher standpoint, as the team has taken 15 pitchers (53.6 percent) and 13 hitters (46.4 percent) in the same span.
Still, scouting director Steve Sanders will be in charge of his second draft with the team in 2018 and he seemed to take a college-heavy approach in his first draft in 2017, with five of his six top-five round selections going to college players. Prior to 2017, former scouting director Brian Parker had selected high school players with 12 of his 22 top-five round selections.
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Potential Draft Targets:
RHP Logan Gilbert — Gilbert has a heavy fastball that plays up with elite extension, and more projection remaining than other college arms
3B Nolan Gorman — Gorman is a slugging third baseman with near top-of-the-scale raw power and a strong arm, but he has some questions about his feel to hit
OF Jarred Kelenic — Solid in every area, Kelenic is one of the best pure hitters in the prep class and scouts are expecting more power to come
RHP Jackson Kowar — Lean, wiry and with a good frame, Kowar has an above-average fastball and plus changeup
LHP Shane McClanahan — An electrifying, albeit sporadic, lefthander with some of the best pure stuff in the class, McClanahan has a fastball that tickles 100 mph
C/3B Noah Naylor — The younger brother of Josh Naylor, Noah is more hit over power with exceptional barrel awareness and a track record against professional arms
RHP Carter Stewart — Stewart has the best breaking ball in the 2018 class in a powerful, downer curveball—oh, and he's touched 98 mph this spring
OF Travis Swaggerty — Swaggerty is a potential five-tool talent with a real shot to stick in center field who showed increased power this spring
SS Brice Turang — An athletic, lefthanded-hitting shortstop with plus speed and great feel for the barrel, Turang is more polished than most preps
RHP Cole Winn — One of the most consistent prep arms this spring, there are no real holes to speak of in Winn's game