The Blue Jays own the No. 5 overall pick in the draft this year, giving them their highest pick since all the way back in 1997 when they selected Vernon Wells with the fifth pick.
Already loaded with one of the better young cores and farm systems in baseball, the Jays will have a chance to add yet another gem to their system in a few weeks. Let’s look at some of the big names headlining this summer’s draft.
Spencer Torkelson – 1B/RF
Despite not getting drafted as a high schooler back in 2017, Spencer Torkelson now seems to be the No. 1 guy heading into this year’s draft. It isn’t very often that a first baseman goes first overall, but Torkelson has such an elite bat the Detroit Tigers will make him their pick.
In 17 games for Arizona State this year before everything got cancelled due to COVID-19, Torkelson put up video game numbers, slashing a .340/.509/.780 line with six homers. There’s no way he’s slipping to Toronto at No. 5.
Austin Martin – 3B/OF
The guy most likely to challenge Torkelson to become the No. 1 overall draft pick is Austin Martin of Vanderbilt. Though he spent the 2019 season in centre field, Martin made the switch to third base this year. Before the season was cancelled, Martin slashed a .377/.507/.660 line in 16 games, walking 10 times and striking out just twice.
Again, like with Torkelson, there’s no way Martin is slipping all the way down to No. 5, unfortunately. If only the 2019 Blue Jays had been just a little worse!
Nick Gonzales – 2B/SS
I know we shouldn’t put much stock into college stats because of the quality of competition, but these numbers that Nick Gonzales put up playing for New Mexico State this year are hilarious. He slashed a .448/.610/.1.155 line in 16 games, launching 12 dingers in the process. He also hit five homers in one game.
Of course, there’s a bit of an asterisk next to his numbers because he’s played in hitter-friendly environments (high school in Arizona and college in New Mexico), but still, Gonzales has a hell of a bat for a middle infielder. He likely won’t stick as a shortstop and probably profiles as a bat-first second baseman long-term.
Asa Lacy – LHP
Though he isn’t in the same category as Torkelson and Martin as the top two names in the draft, it looks like Asa Lacy of Texas A&M is the top pitcher in the draft. Back in 2017, Lacy was viewed as a top-five-round talent out of high school, but he demanded $1 million to forgo his commitment to Texas A&M and didn’t get taken until the 37th round. Now, he’s likely going to be a top-five pick.
Lacy throws a fastball that reaches 97 miles-per-hour on the gun and he also features two distinct breaking balls, including a downer curveball and a hard slider, the latter of which is the stronger of the two. He also has a solid change-up, but it could use work, along with his command.
This season, in 24 innings, Lacy allowed just two earned runs and struck out 46 batters while walking eight.
Emerson Hancock – RHP
Heading into the 2020 season, Hancock was right up there with Torkelson as a possible No. 1 overall pick, but an injury and a so-so showing this year in his Junior season has slowed down his hype train. Hancock posted a 1.99 ERA for Georgia in 2019, but, this year, allowed 10 earned runs over the course of 24 innings.
I mean, he also struck out 34 batters and walked just three, so he’s still obviously a top prospect heading into the draft. His fastball sits between 94 and 97 miles-per-hour and can reach 99 and his go-to breaking ball is a slider. He’s known for pounding the zone, featuring excellent command with his fastball.
Max Meyer – RHP
A really interesting case, Meyer is a starting pitcher under six-feet tall, but throws as hard as 101 miles-per-hour with a slider that can also hit 93. His slider is his biggest weapon and has been described by scouts as the best in the class.
In his freshman season for Minnesota, he was used as a reliever, but the Golden Gophers converted him to starter midway through his sophomore year. This year, over four starts, Meyer tossed 27 2/3 innings, allowing just six runs while striking out a whopping 46.
He’s got a great delivery, electric stuff, and strong command, the only question mark for Meyer is his physicality as he doesn’t have the body of your standard fireball starter.
Garrett Mitchell – OF
An outfielder with all of the tools, Mitchell finally broke out in 2019 as a sophomore for UCLA. He had been drafted as a high schooler in the 17th round by the Oakland A’s in 2017, but didn’t have top prospect status at that point. Slashing a .349/.418/.566 line for the Bruins with a much-improved swing in 2019 brought his status up from a toolsy guy to a legit prospect.
He plays well in centre, has a plus arm, good speed, has improved his contact skills, but doesn’t hit for much power. Also, another thing to consider with Mitchell is that he plays with Type 1 diabetes.
Zac Veen – OF
The best high schooler in the draft, Zac Veen might have the best hitting tools of anybody available. A big, lefty hitter with a smooth swing, Veen has shades of Cody Bellinger when he comes to the plate. There’s a tremendous amount of upside here, especially in the bat.