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Photo Credit: https://www.mlb.com/news/2022-mlb-draft-order

With the 78th overall pick, the Blue Jays could select…

In the fourth edition of this series, we’ll look at who the Jays could pick with their 78th overall.

The Jays received this pick due to Robbie Ray signing with the Seattle Mariners, as they extended a qualifying offer to Ray.

After winning the 2021 AL Cy Young award, Ray has struggled with the Mariners to say the least. In 77.2 innings pitched, he has posted an ERA of 4.52 (up from 2.84), a FIP of 4.59 (up from 3.69), a BB/9 of 3.24 (up from 2.42) and a K/9 of 9.39 (down from 11.54).

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The Blue Jays went out and signed Kevin Gausman, who has produced better numbers, without forfeiting a pick. This is just a masterclass of front officing from Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro.

Let’s look at who they could draft with the compensation pick next month:

Sal Stewart:

Starting off with a high school third baseman, we have 18-year-old Sal Stewart.

Committed to Vanderbilt, the young third baseman has a fantastic bat and is considered one of the best pure high school hitters, according to MLB Pipeline.

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He’s a right handed batter with plenty of raw power, but scouts believe that as he continues to age, the hit tool will come around as well.

His arm and fielding work perfectly at third base, but some wonder if he’ll be able to stick there moving forward, as the 6’3, 215 pound Stewart is a rather slow runner, which may lead to range issues at third base.

Here are his grades according to MLB Pipeline:

Hit: 50

Power: 55

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Run: 30

Arm: 55

Field: 50

Overall: 50

He ranks as MLB Pipeline’s 78th best draft prospect, Baseball America’s 59th best draft prospect and Prospects Live’s 73rd best draft prospect.

Jordan Taylor:

Sticking with high school position players, another player the Jays could draft with the 78th overall pick is outfielder Jordan Taylor.

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It’s been noted by everyone and their mother that the Jays lack prospect depth in their outfield positions. While I don’t believe a team should ever draft for need, if the Blue Jays were to draft Taylor, he has a chance of already being their second best defensive outfielder in the system.

Starting with his defense, Taylor has plus arm strength and can defend centre field quite well. This is helped by fantastic speed, which gives him range at the position.According to MLB Pipeline, there are questions about his bat. While he has great raw power with “elite exit velocities”, there is potential for swing and miss in his game against off-speed pitches.

However, Taylor is just 19-years-old, above the average age of his class, but still young enough to make adjustments. Below are his grades according to MLB Pipeline:

Hit: 45

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Power: 50

Run: 65

Arm: 60

Field: 60

Overall: 50

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MLB Pipeline ranks Taylor as their 79th best draft prospect available, Baseball America ranks him as their 84th best draft prospect available and Prospects Live ranks him as their 270th best draft prospect available.

Cameron Smith:

Another high schooler? You betcha. Cameron Smith is a 6’3, 215 lb third baseman who is committed to Florida State.

He has a projectable frame and could potentially hit for both power and average as he continues to grow. MLB Pipeline notes his long swing, but he’s been able to make hard contact without an issue.

Playing for Palm Beach Central High School, he has been playing shortstop and some evaluators believe he can stick there. He has a good arm and is quick with his hands, but if he grows into his body more, it may move him off the position to third base.

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Here are Smith’s grades:

Hit: 50

Power: 50

Run: 45

Arm: 50

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Field: 50

Overall: 50

MLB Pipeline has him as their 80 best draft prospect, he’s Baseball America’s 81st best draft prospect and Prospects Live’s 68th best draft prospect.

Carson Palmquist:

Moving away from high school position players, we have left handed pitcher Carson Palmquist. The 6’3, 185 lb lefty has a wide variety of possible outcomes.

He pitched as a reliever in his first two seasons with the University of Miami. In his first season, he appeared in just 11.2 innings pitched and had an ERA of 2.31 with a K/9 of 11.6 and a BB/9 of 3.9.

He became one of the best closers in college in 2021 when he posted a 2.22 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched. Notably, he had a BB/9 of 1.6 and a K/9 of 15.1. MLB Pipeline notes his strikeout to walk ratio of 9.38 as “other worldly”, which yeah, that’s insane.

In 2022, he appeared in 16 games, all as a starter. In those 84 innings pitched, he has a 2.89 ERA and a K/9 of 12.6. Palmquist’s BB/9 increased to 3.4, but overall it was a good season for the college junior.

According to Pipeline, Palmquist has a funky delivery with a fastball that has touched 96 mph as a reliever. As a starter, it sits in the low 90s and tops out to about 93 mph. He also has a slider that sits in the high 70s and gets a ton of swing and misses against left handed batters.

He added a changeup as a starter, which Prospects Live’s Joe Doyle notes “is the best changeup in college baseball in my opinion”. Since Palmquist added a third pitch, it’s possible he will stay as a starter once he turns pro. If not, MLB Pipeline notes that he could get to the big leagues in a hurry if he’s a reliever. Below are his grades:

Fastball: 50

Slider: 60

Changeup: 45

Control: 50

Overall: 45

Palmquist ranks as MLB Pipeline’s 82nd best draft prospect, Baseball America’s 89th best draft prospect and Prospects Live’s 90th best draft prospect.

Jacob Misiorowski:

Large adult son time. Jacob Misiorowski stands at 6’7, 185 lb and pitches for Crowder, a junior college.

This season, he has posted a 2.72 ERA in 76 innings pitched and has added 136 strikeouts to his name, which is a K/9 of 16.11. His BB/9 sat at 5.33, but got significantly better as the season continued.

Misiorowski’s fastball reaches 102 mph, but sits in the mid 90s. It has a nasty spin rate and vertical break, but the thing is, he’s only 185 pounds. There’s a chance his velocity will continue to rise as he adds on more muscle. He also features a mid-80s slider that induces chases.

Misiorowski also features a curveball and changeup, but rarely uses them. Perhaps it’s something that the Jays could work on if they are to draft him.  Like with most large adult sons (any pitcher of 6’5), it’s all about keeping his large body in sync, which he’s still learning to do.

Below are his grades:

Fastball: 70

Slider: 55

Control: 40

Overall: 45

MLB Pipeline ranks Misiorowski as their 83rd best draft prospect, Baseball America has him as their 67th best draft prospect and Prospects Live has him as their 98th best draft prospect.

Luke Gold:

The only position player from college on this list, Luke Gold is a 21-year-old second baseman for Boston College.

In his three seasons at the school, he has posted a slash line of .303/.374/.914 with 19 homers in 506 plate appearances. He has a fairly low K% of 15.02% and a BB% of 8.30%.

This season he slashed .309/.401/.557 with nine homers in 242 plate appearances. He dropped his K% to 11.57% and raised his BB% to 9.92. He was also plunked 11 times, which is quite humorous to me and reminds me a lot of Leo Jimenez and Austin Martin.

Gold, a right handed batter, is a spray hitter who uses all parts of the field. MLB Pipeline predicts that he’ll have average power in the future, which will play at second base. They also note he has a good arm and great instincts, so a move around the infield isn’t out of the question.

Below are his grades:

Hit: 55

Power: 50

Run: 45

Arm: 50

Field: 45

Overall: 45

MLB Pipeline ranks him as their 84th best draft prospect, Baseball America ranks him as their 138rd best draft prospect and Prospects Live ranks him as their 88th best draft prospect.

Connor Staine:

Moving back to college pitchers, we have 21-year-old righty Connor Staine. Standing in at 6’5, a large adult son, there’s a lot to like about the Central Florida pitcher.

In his college career, he has posted a 3.77 ERA in 88.1 innings pitched. Furthermore, he has a K/9 of 10.3 and a BB/99 of 4.4 in his three seasons at college.

He recently transferred to Central Florida from Maryland, where he pitched his first full season as a starter. In 2022, he had a 1.87 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched. His BB/9 was on the rather high side of 4.4, but his K/9 sat at 10.6, a rather impressive number.

His fast ball sits at 93 mph, but has touched 97 mph this season. He also features a low 80s slider, a curve and a changeup, the latter he doesn’t throw often. MLB Pipeline notes that “[Staine’s] size and pure stuff provide some projection and a college arm to dream on in the top few rounds.”

Below are his grades:

Fastball: 55

Slider: 50

Curveball: 45

Changeup: 50

Control: 45

Overall: 45

MLB Pipeline ranks him as their 86th best draft prospect, Baseball America ranks him as their 104th best draft prospect and Prospects Live ranks Staine as their 56th best prospect.

Michael Kennedy:

The theme of this article is high schools, and left handed pitcher Michael Kennedy is no different.

The 17-year-old is from upstate New York and has impressed scouts quite a bit. Standing at just 6’1, 205 lb, he has physical projection. 

Kennedy has a three pitch mix, which includes a fastball that reaches 92 mph with movement, an upper 70s slider that induces swing and misses and a changeup in the low 80s.

MLB Pipeline notes his confidence on the mound, which reminds me of the current Blue Jays ace, Alek Manoah. They also note he has excellent command and holds runners on the base well.

He’ll be turning 18-years-old in late November and is committed to Louisiana State, meaning his estimated time of arrival is a ways away. Below are his grades:

Fastball: 55

Slider: 55

Changeup: 50

Control: 55

Overall: 45

MLB Pipeline ranks him as their 87th best draft prospect, Baseball America has him as their 112th best draft prospect and Prospects Live has him as their 139th best draft prospect:

So who will they select:

At this point in the draft, it’s a complete crapshoot. The Jays may end up picking a player who is ranked in the 500s according to these three sites. However, out of the eight players I’ve listed here, I’d want either Jordan Taylor or Carson Palmquist.

Previously in the series…

With the 23rd overall pick, the Blue Jays could select…

With the 60th overall pick, the Blue Jays could select…

With the 77th overall pick, the Blue Jays could select…

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. I do daily minor league tweets on my Twitter, so definitely give me a follow!


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