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It’s getting close to that time of year on the baseball calendar when reality starts to set in for the majority of teams that the minor league free agent they signed is going to be pitching 150 innings of 5.00 ERA ball this year, or that 38 year old defensively deficient first baseman on his eighth big league team is going to hit .240 in the four hole the rest of the way.  Closer to home, that $12 million dollar pitcher you just traded for and are on the hook for two more seasons at $19 and $20 million dollars stinks.  Needless to say, a distraction from the present reality focusing of future success would be welcome at this point.  Yes, the First Year Player Draft is less than a month away.  Our Blue Jays hold a fairly high selection this coming June along with two other selections in the first one hundred picks of the draft and are sure to use those selections on a number of players who should bolster a farm system that has been somewhat strafed this past year

The 2013 version of the Rule Four Draft also marks the first of our new Director, Amateur Scouting Brian Parker, who has replaced the promoted Andrew Tinnish.  Tinnish has done a complimentary job these past few years assembling a very deep system that has prioritized athleticism and high-end tools.  Parker is new to the position and relatively new to the organization, presumably having connected with Anthopoulos in Montreal and then continuing on with the Nationals before joining the Jays in the early parts of the Anthopoulos rein.  His résumé features stints as a Director, Baseball Operations; Professional Crosschecker; Pro Scout; Assistant Director, Scouting; and Coordinator, Scouting.  He is certainly accustomed to the rigors of scouting and organizing a draft, which can be a daunting task for someone perhaps unaccustomed to the amateur beat.  Gauging what he might bring, the direction he might encourage, and more importantly, his negotiating ability with prospects is a difficult task and I’ll assume here he’ll toe the party line and compare well to his predecessor.

The Jays have the 10th, 46th, 83rd, 115th, 145th, 175th, 205th, 235th, 265th, and 295th picks in the first ten rounds.  According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, the Blue Jays have been afforded $6,398,200 to sign these ten selections.  It’s not the $8 million plus they had last year, nonetheless it should get them a few blue chippers into the ranks.  Based on last year’s bonus allotments, their first pick comes with a $2,700,000 bonus, while their second comes with a $1,107,700.  Remember, if a team gives a bonus of more than $100,000 after round ten that surplus goes against the rounds 1-10 allotment.  The Jays would lose any allotment in the first ten rounds if the pick is not signed.  Also, keep in mind the Jays will be allowed to go over that bonus allotment by up to 5% before losing any future picks.  So that $6,398,200 is really $6,718,110.

Before we turn to what the Jays might do, let’s quickly go over some of the past Jays’ drafts.  In last year’s draft—the first in which the new CBA’s draft rules took effect—the Jays had two first round picks and several supplementary selections.  The Jays went under slot with one of their first round selections and then went over slot for almost all their supplementary and “protected” picks.  Picks from rounds one to three are protected in the sense that if a team does not sign their selection they receive the same selection in next year’s draft.  The Jays then used their selections from rounds four to ten to shamelessly game the new system—drafting guys who likely would not have been selected in past drafts.  The key here is they agreed to sign for pennies.  Take Alex Azor from last year.  The Jays drafted the outfielder out of Navy with their tenth round pick and according to a Chris Toman tweet gave him $1,000 to sign.  The allotment for that pick was $125,000.  The Jays saved $124,000, which was then used to sign guys more highly thought of.  While there were several articles which paid lip service to his selection, that the Jays were proud to be drafting a real hero.  Azor, of course, has played only a few games and is now on a tour of duty and unlikely to ever play professional baseball.  Essentially the Jays paid the kid a $1,000 bucks to politely get lost.  These Army, Air Force, and Navy guys must love the new draft rules.

I would say expect more of this from the Jays this year.  The obvious caveat here is the Jays have only three selections that are protected.  They will, however, have an opportunity to go after some of the kids who have fallen for signing bonus reasons into the eleventh round and beyond.  A guy such as Canadian Ryan Kellogg, who was drafted in the twelfth round last year by the Jays and has already thrown a no-hitter for Arizona State this year and seemed inclined to sign with the Jays if they had the cash on hand, could well be had this time around.  My best guess then would look for the Jays sign three multi-million dollar bonus babies with picks one to three, scrubs from round four to ten, and then a few Drew Hutchinson types in rounds eleven and beyond.  Much will depend on what their studies tell them on prospect success vis-à-vis draft position and volume of prospects drafted.  I don’t have the time to go over the data in detail, but I would tentatively say the probability of getting a high impact player from a smaller group of projectable plus tool prospects (with higher bonus demands) might just be higher than a larger group of college seniors who have perhaps maxed out developmentally (with lower bonus demands).

If we turn now to the type of prospect the Jays have been selecting in recent drafts, the words projectable and athletic probably come to mind.  It has been a welcome change in these parts to the policy employed by the previous regime that the Jays have drafted and signed a number of high school prospects with the proverbial high ceiling.  That is not to say they’ve ignored the college route or polished player, but the Jays have prioritized the athletic, toolsy, up the middle ballplayer and more often than not that is the high school prospect.  The balance has yielded the Jays a bevy of well-regarded prospects, some of whom have developed and remain in the organization, others used as trade fodder in this past offseason trade fest, and others who have inevitably stalled.  I expect the Jays to continue to employ this policy—drafting top-end tools and athleticism with the ability to play up the middle.  Simply put, the Jays have been aggressive, they have worked the system, and they have spent money.  The Draft has been an exciting time to say the least for us Jays’ fans.

At this point I’d like to open up the forum to Batter’s Box readers on whom they would like the Jays to target.  I have my own opinions on a number of this year’s crop and like last year will publish a short list of guys I think the Jays will ultimately target at their selections.  I will say this though, I am a firm believer in geography and who is scouting a particular region.  Sure California is always a hotbed, but the Jays have drafted a prep pitcher early from southern California in all of the Anthopoulos drafts.  The Jays have five area scouts in California.  I think they trust the people who work this region and it is no mistake that Blake Crosby who works out of Arizona, but would cover some of California won the Al Lamacchia Award last year.  I also think the organization has a lot of faith in John Hendricks ability to evaluate talent.  Hendricks won the Al Lamacchia Award the year before and presumably has had his hand in the scouting, drafting, and relationship building around a number of Jays draft picks out of the Carolina area.  That would include Asher Wojciechowski, Sam Dyson (a noted difficult sign), and Marcus Stroman.  I would say the same about Eric McQueen out of Georgia, but he is no longer listed as a scout on the Blue Jays Front Office Directory.

Draft Part One | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 08 2013 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#271770) #
Just for fun I thought I'd check how the first round has gone in the respect of which player has the most bWAR (since it is easy to find out) so far.
2012: none have reached the majors yet
2011: Jose Fernandez (14th pick) of the Marlins 0.6, 3 others have reached, 2 with negative WAR's.
2010: Chris Sale White Sox 10.6 (13th overall pick), then Bryce Harper (#1) at 6.8.  Jays at #11 took Deck McGuire.  Sigh.
2009: Mike Trout Angels 12.3, 25th overall pick.  Jays took Chad Jenkins with the 20th instead.  Sigh.
2008: Buster Posey Giants 13.5, 5th overall pick.

2007 and earlier have multiple guys over 10 WAR, while 2008 and beyond have one at most.  2009/2010 were the 'oh (#&@' years as the Jays had a much better player close on the board but took the wrong guy, unless you wouldn't trade Jenkins for Trout or McGuire for Sale.
sam - Wednesday, May 08 2013 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#271772) #

My next post of the subject was going to start with just this observation.  The Jays have been poor first pick drafters.  Where they have excelled is in their evaluation of the next tier or round of talent.

hypobole - Wednesday, May 08 2013 @ 07:16 PM EDT (#271773) #
This is the 1st sensible mock draft I've seen, at least to my limited knowledge. It has us taking exactly the type of player Sam describes - Austin Meadows, a highly touted HS CF.

One quibble, not with you Sam, but with the Jays philosophy. In 2010, they drafted Kris Bryant and Dickie Thon jr. Thon was the athlete. Bryant could slug. Thon got the big over slot bonus, Bryant went unsigned. Athletes are great, but you also need a few big bat types. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone in our system who's shown they have even a reasonable chance of Adam Lind potential.
sam - Wednesday, May 08 2013 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#271774) #

Completely agree with you. Bryant was a big miss and looks every part a cornerstone middle of the order bat for whoever drafts him this year. If there has been one thing I've had issue with these past few years, is the lack of loud tools (power). I think they've overlooked the first base prospect with power potential too much in recent years.
Thomas - Wednesday, May 08 2013 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#271789) #
I'm not a huge fan of that mock draft. I don't see Meadows lasting until 10th and I'd be surprised if either Shipley or Peterson went that high. Although I guess the mock drafter has his contacts and everything.

He's in the tier of guys who will probably be gone by the 10th pick, as opposed to the guys who will definitely be gone like Appel, Gray, Frazier and Bryant, but I'm quite high on Jonathan Denney, who seems to have a chance to stick at catcher (as opposed to McGuire, who seems like he certainly will) and has a bat which will apparently play at a corner outfield position. He doesn't fit the profile of toolsy athletes that Anthopolous seems to favour though.
TamRa - Wednesday, May 08 2013 @ 11:58 PM EDT (#271808) #
Assuming Bryant doesn't fall (and why would he) and Frazier is gone, I still want Austin Wilson. I wouldn't be unhappy with Medows (or DJ Peterson, or Rich McGuire, or some others but I have a fetish for Wilson and Bryant.

Gerry - Thursday, May 09 2013 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#271820) #
There could be some game theory at work in this years draft. Last year only a few teams punted the 5-10 round picks. That meant only those few teams had extra dollars in the 11+ rounds.

What will happen if more teams punt picks 5-10? How many extra guys will be around in rounds 11+. Could teams be left with too much money in those rounds?

If this is a weak draft, what if teams start punting picks in the fourth round?

I wouldn't assume that this years draft will be a replay of last years, it's a fluid situation.
Lylemcr - Thursday, May 09 2013 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#271852) #

To me, it is meaningless to talk about players that the Jays could have drafted instead of the player they did draft.  (ie. Troy T. vs Ricky R.)

We assume player development is all about the player.  If Troy T. was here in the Jays, who was to say that he would developed properly. 

I think of KC Royals.  How many can't miss prospects have missed for them?  Instead of "sighing" about the players the Jays didn't get, I think we should sigh about thier ability to develop players....  They have had a lot of picks in the last couple years, and they have swung and missed alot.  I think that with as many picks as they have had, they would have a one or two hits. 

So...  Is it the development system that is wrong or the drafting?  (or both) 

TamRa - Thursday, May 09 2013 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#271855) #
Meh. We know virtually nothing about the  2012 class (success/failure wise) and not all that much about the 2011 class Stilson and Lopes are encouraging, Norris seems to be a disappointment so far. I don't concern myself with those traded because we cashed that check already.
2010 gave us Sanchez and Nolin, but if we hadn't made the trades you'd be looking at potentially 4 quality major league pitchers in one draft which is really unheard of.
2009 produced three guys who have pitched in the majors, one of whom may yet be a special starter.
The only real complaint I have about the efficency of AA's drafts is that the sacrificial spending turned out, in some cases, to go to the wrong guy (i.e. what if we'd given the Thon money to Bryant?)

If Bryant, Paxton, and Beede were in the system right now we might all be a lot happier.
(not second guessing here, just alternate-universe speculation)

ramone - Thursday, May 09 2013 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#271862) #
BA's mock draft today they have the Jays selecting LHP and OF Trey Ball with this note on other potential choices:

"If Stewart and Frazier are off the board, that means Ball or Meadows"
John Northey - Thursday, May 09 2013 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#271866) #
Good question Lylemcr. 
2010 draft only Sam Dyson has had a cup of coffee.
2009 we have Loup, Hutchison, Jenkins and Gomes.  None have done anything of note yet (1.1 WAR total between them). 
2008 is worse, 5 guys reaching but the best WAR is 0.0 for David Cooper while Eric Thames has played the most (181 games). 
2007 a bit better with Brett Cecil (3.4), JPA (3.3), Rzep (2.0) and Mastroianni (0.7) plus 3 guys with negative WAR's. 
2006 has Travis Snider (2.7), Graham Godfrey (negative) and Brad Mills (also negative). 
2005 Ricky Romero at 9.8 and dropping, Rob Ray 0.1, Brett Wallace (did not sign) -0.8. 
2004 Janssen 6.9, Lind 4.4, Litsch 3.9 and 4 negatives. 
2003 Hill 23.9 (solid), Marcum 14.1, Ryan Roberts 6.1 then a batch between 0.2 and -0.8 (4 guys)
2002 David Bush 3.5, Erik Kratz 0.7 rest at 0 or less with Drew Butera at -1.1 (did not sign, Mets drafted later on)
2001 Gabe Gross 4.7, Brandon League 2.9, Jeff Fiorentino(did not sign, Baltimore ultimately got him) 0.7,rest at 0 or less.
2000 Vinnie Chulk 1.4, McGowan 1.2, 2 more at -0.5.

Ick.  The 2000 drafts really sucked.  Hill, Marcum, and Romero the only ones to make an impact.  Seems JPR's drafts and the final ones of Gord Ash were disasters which explains why AA had to do the draft pick gathering.
TamRa - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 03:49 AM EDT (#271889) #
the thing is, look at every draft for every team from, say, 2000 through 2010 and total each teams WAR and  that's a surpsrisingly strong result there. I once (apparently about 2 years ago)  did that math on all the JP drafts combined (2002-2007), and the Jays landed 14th in all of baseball by that measure. 3 more WAR would have made them 8th.

As has been often noted here, if you get a real impact player - even just one - n any given draft you've done very well indeed.

I surly don't have time to repeat that calculation for the whole league tonight, but for reference:
(totals do not include players in negative territory)

Boston was #1 last time (2002-2007) - they now total 209.8 for the years 2000-2010 (26 players)
Tampa was #7 last time - their total is 149.8 (24 players)
Toronto was #14 - new total 97.2 (24 players)

My guess is that if the whole league were ranked none of these wold change position much
The difference?

Boston landed five guys over that span who have at least 15 WAR,  the Rays had four (two of them Top 5 picks)- Toronto only 1

So the drafts have, over that decade(ish), probably been about middle of the pack (I'm sure some smart cookie could not only total it but figure out a way to weight it according to average draft position) - with the caveatthat none of AA'sdrafts are really ready to affect that total.

hypobole - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 04:10 AM EDT (#271890) #
In response to some comments above I thought it would be interesting to compare the McDaniel and BA mocks.

Bryant: McD #3, BA #3
Shipley: McD #7, BA #5
Peterson: McD #8, BA #11
McGuire McD #9, BA #6
Meadows: McD #10(Jays), BA #12
Wilson: McD #14, BA #17
Ball: McD #16, BA #10(Jays)
Denney: McD #21, BA #33

Not a lot of differences, although with a month to go there will be quite a few rising and falling.
John Northey - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 06:35 AM EDT (#271891) #
I think the key to 'winning' drafts isn't just total WAR but guys with high totals.  Anyone can grab a few AAAA guys and get 1 or 2 WAR from a bunch of them - AA said as much (in other words) when he came in, which is why he hired so many pro-scouts.  He wants to find as many of those 1-2 WAR guys and stash them in AAA (thus the massive waiver wire claims) so the Jays have that tiny bench edge and perhaps find the diamond in the rough like Boston did with Ortiz years ago.

So if you are getting the 'small WAR' elsewhere then what do you want from the draft?  I say 10+ WAR guys - the impact players who might make an ASG in their peak years and will be solid regulars otherwise.  Ideally 20+ as then you are getting into true star territory and those are hard to acquire via any fashion.  So as TamRa said, the Jays over a decade had one impact player (Hill) and one near (Marcum) while Tampa Bay had 4 and Boston 5.  That is a massive difference.

Thomas - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#271898) #

My optimism about Denney isn't shared by all, evidently. I guess his spring has hurt his draft stock more than I thought.

I will return quitely to the corner of the room.

Mike Green - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#271901) #
John's chart (and the high standing of Boston and Tampa in the drafting game over the last decade) is a worthwhile reminder that many of the best players were considered at the time of the draft as low-upside collegians by many scouts.  That would include Hill, Marcum, Pedroia, and Youkilis.  A balanced approach is probably best.
hypobole - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#271907) #
Boston and Tampa had some very good scouting it seems. Tampa did have numerous high picks (Price, Upton, Longoria) but also some lower round gems like James Shields and Matt Moore. Boston was also smart enough to spend a lot on the draft before that became popular.

AA did hire a bunch more scouts, but when you hire a bunch of out-of-work scouts, results will be mixed at least for a while.

The new CBA and IFA spending limits really help teams who tank. With Rogers allencompasing ownership, will they ever let the Jays properly tank (i.e. not picking 10th, but top 3 for at least a couple of years)?
CeeBee - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#271909) #
Starting next year there's a chance of drafting top 5.
Mike Green - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#271912) #
So, are you suggesting that regular rotation spots be given to Ramon Ortiz and Edgar Gonzalez for the rest of the season, ceebee?  "We're not throwing in the towel, it's just all those gosh-darned injuries.  We're feeling snakebit right now".  Can Gibbons do hick at the pressers?
John Northey - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#271917) #
Boy, wonder what this would've looked like in the late 80's here. 
1986: May 9th 12-17 7th place, 7 games back.  On Sept 1st they were in 2nd just 3 1/2 back...then ugh.
1987: April 19th 5th place 6 games back, May 9th up to 2nd and 2 1/2 back...sadly most here remember that (#&@ final week from hell
1988: after the crash of '87 final week the Jays were 2-0 to start then... ugh.. May 9th they were 13-17 and in 6th place 6 1/2 back.  In the end they were 87-75 and just 2 games out.
1989: May 9th 11-21 6th place 5 1/2 back with up to 4 left handers in the rotation at once (viewed as very odd)...went on to win the division

Slow starts in the Williams era plus a couple of bad endings.  Still, a very competitive team each year.  The killer those years was the misuse of Cecil Fielder (pure DH who was actually used at 2B and 3B at times...imagine the reaction here if Adam Lind was put at 2B in a game after adding about 50 lbs) and weird choices otherwise (imagine the net when Bell refused to DH for example).

I'm as frustrated with this season as the rest, but it is good to look back and know that the Jays have been here before and have recovered and even thrived afterwards.
hypobole - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#271925) #
We have one healthy starter, Buehrle, who has the 2nd worst ERA among 108 qualifiers in MLB. The farm does not have one MLB near-ready stating prospect to come up, the AAA staff is composed of MLB failures.

However, you are permitted to remain optimistic
CeeBee - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#271930) #
In response to Mike. What ^hypobole said^ I'm almost to the point of hoping we are sellers at the deadline. The cupboard is pretty much bare at AAA and AA, especially in the pitching department so we can't even look forward to seeing many interesting mid-season callups. My cup is definitely half something or other.
Mike Green - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#271931) #
Sorry for the sarcasm, ceebee.  I just don't think that this is a bottom 5 club for a season unless the team makes conscientious efforts to dump.  Which might not be good for ticket sales.
timpinder - Friday, May 10 2013 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#271944) #
I don't think things are quite so dire. There are some guys that are close that can help beyond just the popular names like Thole, Negrych and Pillar. I'm looking forward to seeing what Nolin can do (6'4" 240lb lefty with great minor league numbers and a favorite of Sickels). I also want to see what this team looks like in August with Reyes back, the aforementioned players up, and Nolin, Hutchison and maybe Stroman in the rotation.

I agree though that they should "sell" if things don't turn around in a big way, but they're not likely to get much for Davis, Lind and Bonifacio. If Stroman goes to the pen and Carreno gets the call, Janssen and Oliver could net a nice return. I think that the Jays biggest need is a lefty bat, such as Morales or Matt Adams.
bpoz - Saturday, May 11 2013 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#271977) #
Thanks Sam. I can have some fun now because if this topic.

As far as the Jays go... I am crushed. I feel the pain.

However there are some nice individual performances...JP, EE, Janssen, Delabar, Cecil & Loup.
Draft Part One | 25 comments | Create New Account
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