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The Blue Jays select RHP Gunnar Hoglund with first-round pick

With the 19th overall pick, the Toronto Blue Jays select… “Machine” Gunnar Hoglund of Ole’ Miss university. While I was hoping for Benny Montgomery or Sal Frelick, Gunnar Hoglund isn’t a bad choice.

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If not for an unfortunate circumstance, Gunnar Hoglund would have been picked in the top 10. What circumstance am I speaking of? Hoglund’s UCL decided to yeet itself on May 7th resulting in Tommy John surgery. This means that he won’t make his pro debut until the middle of the 2022 season.

So why am I happy about this selection even though Hoglund won’t be ready for over two years? Well as I mentioned earlier, he would be a top 10 pick. Not just that, but due to the injury he may cost cheaper than other picks available at the 19th spot. Furthermore, Hoglund is a starting pitcher who will have success in the MLB.

A few days ago, I bought Baseball America. Hoglund’s grades on a 20-80 scale are: 55 fastball, 55 slider, 55 changeup and 70 control. His overall grade according to Baseball America is 55. MLB Pipeline has him with a 55-grade fastball, 55-grade slider, 50 curveball, 55 changeup and 60 control for an overall of 50. His fastball reaches 92-95, his slider at 84-86 and his changeup is in the low 80s. 

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Taking a player who is getting constructive surgery is always risky, but it potentially makes him cheaper to sign. Every pick is assigned a certain amount of money. If they go over, there could be a penalty. If they go under, the player may not sign. Without a second-round pick in this draft, the Jays have less money to sign players… however, since Hoglund is down with an injury, he might not sign for as much as other players that the Jays could have drafted.

The play for the Blue Jays here is likely that Hoglund signs for less than slot value, which would allow the team to go above slot on some later picks. That was the strategy back in 2018 when they went under slot on Jordan Groshans to then go above slot with Adam Kloffenstein in the third round.