Draft Needs

Friday, May 25 2007 @ 09:30 AM EDT

Contributed by: Pistol

While most organizations will take the 'best player available' in the draft, it can't hurt to see what are the positions of need down the line.

Halladay and Burnett seem to be locked in for the forseeable future. The rest of the rotation is a toss up and it doesn't look like there's a #1 or #2 starter types in the minors at the moment.

In the bullpen it's BJ Ryan (assuming he recovers) and the kids. Like starters, relivers are always needed. These pitchers generally are failed starters and not drafted as relievers. With the exception of Street and Cordero there aren't a lot of success stories with fast track relievers so far.

Draft Need?: Always

Zaun and Phillips are manning the job in Toronto. Neither would appear to be in the Jays plans a few years down the line. Thigpen is currently a solid prospect in Syracuse and it's expected that he'll work his way into the lineup in 2008. But catching prospects are always hard to get a feel for - many look promising only to fizzle out (for instance, Quiroz). At this point no other catcher in the Jays system looks to be a good bet to make the majors, although the Jays put Robinzon Diaz on the 40 man roster this offseason.

Draft Need?: Moderate

First Base:
The Jays signed Lyle Overbay for 4 years this offseason. That will take him the 2010 season, assuming he isn't traded. That will take him through his age 33 season which is likely the time the Jays will be looking for a replacement (if not sooner). First base is a good spot to move OFs that can't make it in the OF or 3B that grow too old for the position so that's probably more likely than a 1B in the minors filling the spot. In the minors Chip Cannon is the Jays best prospect at 1B, but doesn't look to be any more than a role player.

Draft Needs?: A need exists for a 1B in a few years, but it's more likely to come from somewhere else than a drafted 1B (who generally don't work out that well in the draft).

Second Base:
Barring a switch back to SS the Jays should be set at second base with Aaron Hill for the forseeable future.

Draft Needs? Not really, especially in light of how cheaply 2b free agents were this past year.

Unless Aaron Hill shifts back to SS there's a big need there. Olmedo might be a stop gap solution, but there's not much in the minors to rely on.

Draft Needs?: Yes, and then some.

Third Base:
I'll be surprised if Troy Glaus is still the 3B for the Jays in a few years. I imagine that injuries will force him to shift to DH or 1B eventually. The pickings are pretty slim in the minors behind him. Balbino Fuenmayor is promising but he's just 17 (in the draft he'd likely be eligible next year) and still hasn't played in rookie ball yet so you can't count on him right now.

Draft Needs?: You bet

This is more like it. Wells and Rios should remain in the OF for at least the next 5 years, Lind is up now and should eventually hit, and Snider will probably be ready in 2010 at the latest. By far and away the organization's strength right now.

Draft Needs?: No

Big needs:
Third Base

Modest needs:
First Base

Little to no needs:
Second Base

So how does this look in comparison to what's available?

There's about 7 HS pitchers in the 10-20 range of most draft lists out there which would be right in with where the Jays pick in the first two rounds. However, since Ricciardi took over as GM they've been allergic to HS pitching. There doesn't appear to be any college pitchers worth taking in the first round (at least starting pitchers).

At the top of the draft there's several HS third basemen that the Jays could consider with their first two picks. Baseball America projected Matt Dominguez for the Jays at #16 in their latest mock draft. Kevin Ahrens and Will Middlebrooks would be other possibilities. In the sandwich round Matt Mangini and Todd Frazier are college players that'd likely be available.

The pickings are slim at SS. In the BA mock draft they had the Jays taking Peter Kozma, a HS SS from Oklahoma, at pick 21.

There's several possibilities with catchers among the college players - Canham, Arencibia, and Donaldson. I originally thought the first two would be possibilities at #21, but they appear to be sandwich picks now if BA's rankings are reflective of where they might go. Devin Mesoraco is a possibility if the Jays wanted to take a chance on a HS catcher in the first round.

Beau Mills and Matt Laporta are two college hitters that could be possibilites for 1B. Mills is currently a 3B, but it sounds like he'll have to move across the diamond. Both have big power.

It'd be nice if there were more SSs available in the draft, but overall the Jays needs and the draft seem to line up fairly well. The big question is whether the Jays would take a HS pitcher with one of their seven top 100 picks.  Apparently, Ricciardi said on the FAN that he had no plans to.