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You Don’t Need to Know Much About the Blue Jays and Tonight’s Draft, And Here It Is

The Rule Four draft! The amateur draft! The draft! The interminable slog where we pretend we know anything about anything and then get mad when our team selects one player we’ve barely heard of over another player we’ve barely heard of!

Call it what you will, today is the first day of MLB’s annual draft, which means that we get to watch the Blue Jays make two picks, live in real time on TV, some three or four hours after the beginning of MLB Network’s coverage. WE CERTAINLY CAN’T SAY WE DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THAT!

How much you want to give a shit is up to you, of course. You can crack open a cold one with the boys, decked out in your matching J.B. Woodman jerseys, if you really want to. It makes no difference to me. And surely there will be reason, in a few days (or however long it takes for the whole damn thing to be over), to have a big picture look at the Jays’ strategy in terms of the types of players selected, money allocation, and what interesting late choices they may have made. But as for what we actually need to know right now? There’s not a whole lot.

  • TV coverage of the “event” starts tonight at 6 PM ET. You’ll be able to watch a stream of it on MLB.com.
  • Actual picks will begin at 7 PM, with the Twins on the clock. Officially there are four minutes between each pick, meaning that the Jays should be on the clock with the 22nd pick just before 8:30 PM ET. Personally, I’d be surprised if the thing ran on such a tight schedule, but to be safe, you’re going to want to tune in at least by 8:25.
  • The Jays will pick three times in total tonight: 22nd overall, 28th overall, and 61st. There is just one minute between picks in the Competitive Balance rounds and Round Two, so here are the times you can expect that the clock for each of their picks will start (again, assuming the league is running a tight ship on this): 8:24 PM ET for the 22nd pick; 8:48 PM ET for the 28th pick; 9:30 PM ET for the 61st pick.

Of course, if you only tune in for the Jays’ picks, you’ll miss all the “excitement” of getting mad about players you barely know being snapped up by other teams. Sometimes, years down the line, it even turns out that you were right for being mad! Sort of. Like in 2012, when it looked like Lucas Giolito might fall to the Jays, only to have him be snapped up by the Nationals (he was eventually traded to the White Sox as the centrepiece of the Adam Eaton trade) one pick before we got our chance. The Jays then took D.J. Davis (ugh), and literally the next two picks after him were Corey Seager and Michael Wacha (ughhhhhh).

What a disaster! It… y’know… eventually came to look like. That is, save for the fact that two picks after Wacha the Jays took Marcus Stroman, which is a hell of a prize to have come out of any pick in any draft.

And also save for the fact that the baseball draft is kinda dumb, the players being selected are far from finished products, player development is a long and very involved process, and so getting worked up about anything here is, more than anything, just an excuse for insufferable blame-desperate clods to get all worked up and insufferable about something. In 2010 many puzzled over the Jays’ “off the board” selection of a high school right-hander in what was then known as the “sandwich” round. Keith Law said this in an ESPN.com chat soon after that one was complete: “Syndegaard pick was crazy – I can’t believe he went on day one, nice body, some arm strength, arm works well, no polish, no second pitch.” And Keith is an expert! [Cue KLaw-hating dipshits — hello fellas!].

Also, there’s all this:

Anywho, so… yeah. Maybe relax. And keep in mind that there probably isn’t a whole lot of value in deeply researching this stuff anyway. Teams, scouts, GMs, people whose literal livelihood depends on getting this stuff right miss all the damn time. Go ahead and get into the event and have your guys you’d prefer to see the Jays grab, if you really want to, but my advice would be to wait until it’s over and see what they got, rather than agonizing about anything. We’ll have coverage and copy-and-pasted scouting information and such!

Speaking of which…

Examining the latest Mock Drafts

Just about everything out there seems to have the Jays on college bats. Hey, it worked for Ben Cherington when he was GM of the Red Sox and they picked Andrew Benentendi in the first round of 2015!

Interestingly, and perhaps disappointingly to casual observers (which, let’s be honest, we all are), a number of first baseman have been thrown around as possible Jays selection. Some of that could be overstated, though. In the latest MLB Pipeline mock draft, Jonathan Mayo has the Jays taking University of Kentucky first baseman Evan White with the 22nd pick, but explains it thusly: “There’s been nothing but college talk with this pick. Warmoth, Burger and Hiura all have been mentioned at various times. But they’d be pleased if White, who has the athleticism to play center field, was available.”

Sometimes a first baseman isn’t a first baseman? Maybe?

Warmoth is a name you should get ready to hear a lot, because he’s been linked often to the Jays at this pick. Mayo’s mock draft co-author, Jim Callis, has him going to the Jays here, as does John Manuel of Baseball America in his latest mock.

The Jays are “heavily tied to the Carolinas” says Manuel, and that sure seems to be the case. Warmoth (first name, Logan) is a shortstop at UNC (and in an earlier BA mock was noted as the best college shortstop in the draft), while Gavin Sheets (son of Larry!) is a first baseman at Wake Forest whose name has also come up a lot. Mayo and Manuel both have Sheets going to the Jays at 28, and Mayo notes that such a possibility “fits the aforementioned Blue Jays affinity for college bats.”

In his final mock at ESPN.com, Keith Law also notes that the Jays are all over college bats. This is just my speculation, but perhaps the club is edging toward more advanced hitters to better create a cohort of position players on a similar timeline to guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Anthony Alford, and Bo Bichette. Or perhaps it’s simply that they feel the bust rates for pitchers and high school bats are too high to use the best of the best picks on them.

Or perhaps it’s all just a ruse! KLaw has the Jays taking Central Florida right-hander Nate Pearson, and explains that “a lot of folks think Pearson already has a deal with a team picking somewhere in the 20s — he declined to work out for a team below this spot — and Toronto is the most common suspect.”

It’s not totally crazy that they could go this way. Callis has the Jays taking an arm at 28 (though it’s a high-schooler, someone named Sam Carlson, who is a right-hander somewhere in Minnesota), and though KLaw’s latest mock for some reason stops after pick 27, he doesn’t have Sheets being selected before then, so maybe the Jays have their deal in place with Pearson and will simply take the best bat available at whichever pick they don’t use on him.

DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? I DON’T KNOW, WHO EVEN ARE THESE PEOPLE???

I guess we’ll find out later tonight!

  • The Humungus

    Remember when the Jays took Deck McGuire 2 picks before the White Sox took Chris Sale in 2010?

    Hindsight takes on drafts are hilarious (and depressing).

    The Jays drafted 4 pitchers in the first round in 2010: McGuire, Sanchez, Syndergaard and Wojciechowski. Funny enough, the college guys sucked and the high school guys were studs.

    • Right? And the thing about taking McGuire there was that he was the “safe” pick that allowed the Jays to feel comfortable betting big on upside with Sanchez and Syndergaard. I’d guess that Sale (who many at the time thought wouldn’t be able to last as a starter because of his body type — which was obviously wrong, but far from crazy) would have been too risky for them (if the money would have even worked). So many moving parts and so much projection involved in this draft. Bound to get so much wrong.

      • The Humungus

        Exactly. The Jays actually drafted 25% of the first round guys who have been all-stars to this point. Which is even better when you look at their 2011 first round (aka The one where AA and Friedman blew up the rules on compensation picks). They drafted 5 (including Young Beedah), and the only one who’s hit the bigs is Dwight Smith Jr.

        That draft was a joke. The comp round had 26 picks, 4 by the Jays, 7 by the Rays. That was the year they were trading for type B guys just for the picks, right before that system disappeared because teams were doing exactly that.

        • awhite

          Yes, but those players were all turned into Happ 1.0. who turned into Saunders, and then kind of Happ 2.0. AA exploited the type B free agent rules and then sold the potential to the Astros for Happ.

          • The Humungus

            My point was not what they turned into. My point was that it’s a crapshoot and even a team with 5 first round picks can have zero of them pan out, regardless of the organization.

  • Barry

    I don’t find the draft itself very entertaining. I derive my enjoyment from reading the Twitter comments of people who think they have a clue what they’re talking about shitting on their teams for drafting a player who ranked lower on someone’s guesswork draft projection.

  • Petersversion

    I think you’re right that observation of the overall draft strategy once the picks are made is what’s important here. I’m really untested to get a sense of that from the new scouting director. Also: it’s a lot different when your team is drafting in the bottom than the top. At 22, basically anything can happen. It’s much reasonable to hope for guys “falling”, etc. in the top ten. (Like the Jeff Hoffman pick.) I very much remember thinking “who the fuck is Noah Syndergaard”?