Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight begins MLB’s annual Rule 4 draft — aka the amateur draft, aka the draft — and if you’re anything like me, you’ve paid little attention to its intricacies so far. The Jays are going to do something at some point, but “what” we have no idea, and “when” we only know will be at pick number 21 (as well as at number 57 and 66).
Likely it’s going to be an agonizing hour-and-a-half from the start of the telecast until it actually gets around to being the Jays’ turn, and even though they are (mercifully) playing in Baltimore, a lot of us will likely be using that time to read the various draft primers that have popped up on the ol’ interweb this week. So let’s get jazzed about it!
Here’s all you need to know about reading up on the draft from a Jays perspective!
Matt W of Bluebird Banter has done a whole bunch of work on specific players leading up to the draft. You can read these and start dreaming on a guy, only to get pipped by the Washington Nationals or some fucking team at the last second (Lucas Giolito nevar ferget), or you can do the sensible thing and rush to them after the Jays make their selection. He’s got capsules on potential first round college pitchers, college hitters, high school pitchers, high school hitters, and the same thing for the second round (college pitchers, college hitters, high school pitchers, high school hitters).
Another piece Matt’s draft coverage is his analysis of Cleveland’s draft history during the Mark Shapiro era. I’m not sure about the stuff trying to assess Shatkins’ input in the draft room, but it’s a nice look at tendencies and trends in how those teams operated, and will get you pondering what tonight’s selection will reveal about how the new regime thinks — which, let’s be honest, is why following the draft is more important than the particulars of the far away prospects they’ll be selecting (at least at this point).
At BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm has handy primer that touches on all kinds of stuff — the Jays’ history, current buzz, the financial picture, etc. — but is especially good for its handling of philosophy. Some great quotes from Ross Atkins in here, especially in the way he contrasts himself from Alex Anthopoulos. For example, in the first round he’d want the “best baseball player available, not necessarily best athlete” (though he later notes that he isn’t disparage athleticism, and that in the first round (where the GM has more input, as opposed to later rounds, generally handled by the scouting director), you’re typically getting an elite athlete anyway.
Shi Davidi gets at the philosophy stuff, too. In writing about the draft for Sportsnet he talks to Brian Parker — said scouting director — and gets him to bite on a question about whether risk tolerance has changed under his new bosses. Alex Anthopoulos was (famously?) not averse to taking boom or bust prospects with extremely high ceilings, and Atkins and Shapiro… um… we’re not entirely sure just yet. But — shock of shocks! — Parker says they’ve certainly considered risk levels and factors when building their draft board.
Speaking of Parker, he is the focus of another piece from Gregor at BlueJays.com, which follows the same theme — it’s title: New regime not affecting Parker’s draft process. He notes, as Shi did, that for the first time (or at least the first time since before Anthopoulos) the club went through a mock draft to help prepare themselves for the proceedings. If every mock draft I’ve ever done to get me ready for fantasy football season is any indication, I’m sure it was a pointless waste of time.
Speaking of pointless wastes of time, we go back to Sportsnet where Mike Johnston gives us a stark reminder that spending a gorgeous Thursday evening indoors following draft coverage (you could be watching Kenny Chesney at the Amphitheatre — just sayin’) on a team that’s picking in the late first round is indeed that. He lists some notable former 21st overall picks and… well… with due respect to Todd Worrell and Gorman Thomas (a pair of mustachioed baseball card favourites of mine), it’s a bit of a shitter fire. (Hall of Fame types have gone at 20 and 22, though, and I do recall something about Mike Trout being passed over a lot, so maybe I’m not being entirely serious about this).
Another list comes our way from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, who zeroes in on just five names the Jays might be considering tonight. Or, really, actually four, because one of them Paul Quantrill’s son Cal (*waves maple dick flag*), and he’ll almost certainly be off the board by 21… or will he??? And just who are the other names? I’m sure you’re now primed to find out!
Baseball Essential lists seven names that the Jays might end up with, and they’re totally different ones than some of the other names suggested! But also sometimes the same! None of them, however, is Bo Bichette, son of Dante, who Keith Law had the Jays taking in a recent mock and who teen sensation Chris Cotillo spoke to for MLB Daily Dish.
Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun also has a piece on Parker, which… totally uses the same quotes as are found in Davidi and Chisholm’s Parker pieces. He must have had a scrum or something. This one’s notable, though, for giving us not just the one notable Canadian prospect (Quantrill, obvs), but a whole list of them! They’re just names, but hey, some of these are top talent kids who’ve been playing right under our noses, so that’s cool.
And… uh… is that it? Oh, there’s probably more than just that, but I’ll stop there. You can get into the mocks and the deep coverage of the countless guys whose names (let alone their vitals, scouting reports, and the name of their school) you’ll have already discarded from your mind before you slump in your chair at the realization there will be no new Archer this week because the new season is already over. So I’ll just let you Google those for yourself if you really need them so badly.
Now enjoy the draft (primers)! And try not to lose your shit and make dumb jokes about “Cleveland North” like a fucking meat clown when the American-run Jays pass on Quantrill. OK??? U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!