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The draft is on June 6th and 7th. The Jays select 14th and it looks like it'll be another first round pitcher.

Here's a list of Baseball America's top 20 from about a month ago. Twelve of that top 20 are made of college pitchers, 4 college hitters, 3 high school pitchers, and one high school hitter. So as you can probably deduct the top of the draft will likely be full of college players. The Jays are probably the most college oriented team in baseball right now and Tony LaCava stated in a Batter's Box interview that the Jays wouldn't be likely to select high school pitchers so don't expect that to change this year.

As you're probably aware the Jays lost two draft picks this year because of signing AJ Burnett and BJ Ryan. Because of that they'll pick 14th in the frst round and then wait until the 4th round to pick again. The good part about the baseball draft (if you're following live) is that a pick is made just about every minute so it'll be about 90 minutes between the first and second Jays pick (#120).

Starting Pitchers (stats through games of 5/14):

Andrew Miller, LHP, North Carolina, 6'6", 210

Brad Lincoln, RHP, Houston, 6'0", 200

Tim Lincecum, RHP, Washington, 6'0", 185

Luke Hochevar, RHP, Tennessee

Brandon Morrow
, RHP, Cal, 6'3", 185

These are likely the top 5 pitchers in the draft, and the Jays won't likely get a shot at any of them. As mentioned, Miller is considered the best of the bunch.

Lincoln and Lincecum are similar - both having great years with big strikeout numbers and both are on the shorter side. There's some thought that Lincecum is better suited as a reliever.

You might remember Luke Hochevar from last year's draft. Going into that draft he, Ricky Romero and Mike Pelfrey were considered the top 3 pitchers. Hochevar lasted until the sandwich round (due to his bonus demands) where the Dodgers selected him, but he never officially signed with the team. He's pitching with an independent team at the moment and barring an upset will be drafted again. Coincidentally, Hochevar is on the same team as Matt Harrington who turned down several million many years ago, went back into the draft and turned down about a million, and then never got serious offer again.

Brandon Morrow is the high riser in the group. He went from an erratic reliever to a top flight starter. These type of players make me nervous.

After the top 5 pitchers you run into several pitchers that have some sort of question surrounding them.

Joba Chamberlain, RHP, Nebraska, 6'3", 225

Max Scherzer, RHP, Missouri, 6'2", 198

Ian Kennedy, RHP, USC, 6'1", 195

Chamerlain had a problem with tricep tendonitis early this year so he hasn't pitched as much as other pitchers. However, when he has been out there he's been flashing a high K rate. He also has a cool name and a built-in nickname.

Scherzer has also had problems with tendonitis this year. If he overcomes that in the next month he'll shoot up into that first group, unless the Boras factor comes into play.

Ian Kennedy is a personal favorite of mine. Also, a Boras client, Kennedy dominated at USC as a freshman and sophmore and had a lot of success with team USA in the offseasons. He reportedly has lost some velocity this year, and it shows up in his stat line. His 'stuff' isn't highly regarded, but his competitiveness is. He could go in the top 10 or the end of the first round.

After that you get many similar pitchers who look alike:

Daniel Bard, RHP, North Carolina, 6'4", 202

Wade LeBlanc, LHP, Alabama, 6'3", 193

Brett Sinkbeil, RHP, Missouri St, 6'4", 185

Dallas Buck, RHP, Oregon St, 6'3", 210

David Huff, LHP, UCLA 6'2" 210

Justin Masterson, RHP, San Diego St, 6'6", 245

Kyle McCoulloch, RHP, Texas, 6'3", 178

Greg Reynolds, RHP, Stanford, 6'7", 225


There's several pitchers that currently relieving that could be a consideration in the first round. I'm not sure if any of these pitchers would be considered as starters.

Mark Melancon, RHP, Arizona, 6'2" 210

Chris Perez, RHP, Miami, 6'4", 225

Blair Erickson, RHP, UC Irvine, 6'1", 210

Pitchers that pitched for team USA this past summer, which generally would be the better players, include: Kennedy, Scherzer, McCulloch, Melancon, and Perez.

As we've seen in past years the Jays have selected a lot of players that have played in the Cape Cod list. At least Miller, Lincoln, Lincecum, Bard, LeBlanc, Sinkbeil, Buck and Huff pitched in the Cape League last summer, all with a lot of success.


Evan Longoria, 3B, Long Beach St, 6'2", 185

Drew Stubbs, OF, Texas, 6'4", 190

Matt LaPorta, 1B, Florida, 6'0", 210

Wes Hodges, 3B, Georgia Tech, 6'2", 185

Matt Antonelli, 3B, Wake Forest, 6'0", 185

Chad Tracy, C, Pepperdine, 6'3", 175

The college hitting class is considered extremely weak. Longoria is considered the best hitter of the bunch, but is more of a 'solid guy' to quote BA.
Stubbs is a defensive whiz and I believe I read somewhere that he'd be gold glove caliber player right now. The question with him is hitting - those K rates are on the high side.

The power in the draft belongs to Matt LaPorta. He had an oblique strain earlier in the year, but is starting to play more now. As with Stubbs his K rate is too high for my liking (for what it's worth, Chip Cannon had a 16% K rate in his final college year and is at 30% in AA). He's also a Boras client.

Hodges and Antonelli are the next hitters and while Hodges is rated better I'm a bit intrigued by Antonelli ability to make contact. Sickels wrote that Hodges would generally be a 3rd round pick in a normal draft.

Chady Tracy is Jim Tracy's son. He's big for a catcher and it's possible that he'll be moved to a different position.

Draft outlook:

Given the weak nature of the draft it's still very unclear how things will play out and it wouldn't shock me to see a few players not listed here go in the top 15.

There doesn't appear to be more than 3 HS players selected prior to the Jays pick at #14. For position players it sounds like Longoria, Stubbs and LaPorta will be selected prior to the Jays picking, and barring players dropping for 'signability' the top 7-8 position players should also be off the board.

That leaves the Jays with a starting pitcher, perhaps one of Kennedy, Bard, LeBlanc, or Sinkbeil.

As the draft approaches I'll take a look at some players the Jays might be interested in when they start selecting again in round 4.
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Pistol - Monday, May 15 2006 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#146971) #
Team links for each Div I school

All hitters listed above are right handed at the plate.

mendocino - Wednesday, May 17 2006 @ 03:49 AM EDT (#147030) #

Perfect Game has Chamberlain rated at #14 in their top 250. And they have this pitcher as a potential 4th rounder for the Jays.


The top bat around #14 is Antonelli saying he might need to shift to 2nd base to take advantage of his tools. States Antonelli would not be a 1st round pick in a normal year.

Pistol - Wednesday, May 17 2006 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#147069) #
Here's a mock draft from  Apparently the Jays have interest in Antonelli, the 3B from Wake Forest.
Jim - Wednesday, May 17 2006 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#147074) #

I hope this player is available for the Jays in the 4th round:  Probably won't be, wish they had a third round pick.


mendocino - Thursday, May 18 2006 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#147090) #

Perfect Game does not have him rated in their top 250 (8 rounds + 2 supplemental rounds)

Top canadian is Kyle Orr from BC at #241. Projects as a LF/1B with some power.

Craig B - Thursday, May 18 2006 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#147092) #

Jim, there's no particular reason why Ambriz wouldn't be available in the fourth round.  The consensus seems to be that he's a 4th-to-5th round choice.  I like Ambriz too, a bit, but with the significant caveat that he's not Casey Janssen, Mark Two, as many people seem to think.  Ambriz is shorter and stockier than Casey, has a better fastball but doesn't have the secondary pitches that Janssen does.

Unlike Janssen, who was a position player convert and hadn't pitched much, Ambriz has been a two-way player his whole career in HS and college, meaning he's got more miles on his arm.  Also, and most importantly, his control is unimpressive, unlike Janssen's.  Ambriuz has already had shoulder surgery for an apparently misdiagnosed labrum injury - I'd be a bit uneasy about the diagnostic problem but not at all fussed about the surgery.

His biggest advantages are his size and his fastball, his biggest drawbacks are those 35 walks and 12 wild pitches in 90.1 innings this season, and the questionable breaking stuff.

Craig B - Thursday, May 18 2006 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#147094) #

On another note, there is a UCLA pitcher that I *really* like, who is Dave Huff, one of the pitchers on Pistol's list.  Huff is a prototypical lefty - a legit 6-2 and 210, occasionally touches 90 but is generally in the 87-88 range, has a plus change, knows how to pitch and has good control.  The question marks seem to be on Huff's coachability and desire, but he seems like a smart kid (by all accounts) who's just a bit of a lefthander.

At this point, I'd rather have Bard, but if I can't have Bard, I might say "go with Huff!"  At 14 he might be an overdraft, but I'd rather overdraft a guy who projects as a #2 rather than a hitter with a bigger question mark.

I don't like this draft.

Pistol - Thursday, May 18 2006 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#147101) #

After the top 6-8 players it seems like the next 20 players or so could go in any order.  Unless the Jays take someone not projected in the top 30 I'm not sure anyone would be an overdraft. 

Huff seems like one that's been climbing recently.  BA compared him to Barry Zito last week in their draft chat and pegged him in the 15-25 range of the first round. Huff's numbers don't stand out at UCLA, but he pitched well in the Cape League last summer, leading the league in K/BB.

Jim - Thursday, May 18 2006 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#147125) #

Usually the draft is one of my favorite days of the year.  It might be a combination of the Jays' lack of picks and the scarcity of impact talent, but this one has been tough to follow.  I guess JP picked the right draft year to lose some picks on free agents.

Jim, there's no particular reason why Ambriz wouldn't be available in the fourth round. 

I can't find it now, but I thought I ran across some notes on Baseball America that had him going in the third/fourth round.  I don't have any real rational reason for liking him other then the UCLA connection.  It seems that he has rebounded pretty well from the shoulder stuff that shut him down earlier in his college career.  It's not like a fourth round pick has any sort of expectations anyway.  The average 4th rounder probably doesn't even reach AAA.

mendocino - Thursday, May 18 2006 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#147135) #
Q: JB from Lancaster, PA asks:
John, Where do most scouts profile Hector Ambriz (UCLA)? Which round will he go in?

John Manuel: I love Ambriz, he's a harder thrower than Casey Janssen, but like Janssen, he's a two-way guy who will have more velo and feel for pitching as he focuses on pitching. Also like his former UCLA teammate, Ambriz is a bulldog, he's pitching Fridays, he holds his velo (91 in the ninth against Cal) . . . Imagine my Tom Heinson voice saying, "I . . . love . . . Hector!" He's got a bad body and an injury history, those are the things that cloud his status . . . I'm saying 3rd to 5th.
Pistol - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#147181) #

Draft chat going on at BA right now.  Alan Matthews agreed that Antonelli might be the choice, but also suggested the Jays have an interest in "Travis Snider, a lefthanded slugger from Jackson High in Washington".

Snider's a big guy, especially for a HS player: 6-0 and 230 lbs. has decent (and free) player profiles on the top picks.  Snider doesn't look 230 in the picture to me.

Craig B - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#147187) #
Sure, the name on his birth certificate is "Travis Snider", but I think I'm going to call him "Garrett Grand".
Maldoff - Sunday, May 21 2006 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#147317) #
Do the Jays have any Draft-and-Follows from last year's draft? I know Jesse Litsch was one from the previous draft, and he's worked out well thus far.
mendocino - Sunday, May 21 2006 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#147323) #

I have included teams that they played for this season.



15 Draft & Follows From the 2005 draft:

18 Rob Hogue LHP St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC
23 Manuel Garcia RHP Cochise JC (AZ)
27 Bobby Nicoll RHP U. of Conn-Avery Point (CT)
29 John Roberts OF Coffeyville CC (Kan.)
31 Jason Riley C Bakersfield JC (CA)
34 Mace Thurman LHP McLennan CC (Tex)
35 Derek Tarapacki RHP Yavapai (Ariz.) JC
38 Adam Demichaele RHP Okaloosa-Walton (Fla.) CC
41 Eric Oxio OF Clarendon JC (Tex)
45 Michael Barbara RHP St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC
46 Corey Weglin RHP Sacramento CC (CA)
47 Kyle Thornton RHP Odessa (Texas) JC
48 Kevin Denis-Fortier 1B Crowder JC (MO)
49 Nicholas Nordgren OF Indian Hills CC (Iowa)
50 Brian Mooney LHP Manatee CC (Fla)

Pistol - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#147617) #

From what I read one of the HS players the Jays are reportedly interested in, Billy Rowell, is unlikely to make it past #10.

Also, it sounds like there's several teams early in the draft is going to take Hochevar.

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