A deep dive on the 2022 draft, and how the picks the Blue Jays received for Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien are doing
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3 months ago
The loss of Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray gave the Blue Jays two extra draft picks in the 2022 draft.
So yeah, this is going to be a pretty long article (the 2021 draft article is about 3,400 words).
This was a fantastic draft class. On the first day (picks 23, 60, 77, and 78), they over-slotted two high school players, and picked up some pretty darn solid college position players. On the second day of the draft (picks 98-308), the Jays picked up college seniors and some relievers who may become elite. On the third day of the draft, they picked up some interesting high school players.
I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s start with the Jays first-rounder.
23rd overall pick: Brandon Barriera (LHP)
Remember when the Blue Jays drafted then 18-year-old Ricky Tiedemann, and then he became a Top 100 prospect? Well, the same as a solid chance of happening to Brandon Barriera.
The 19-year-old made his professional debut in May, and has a 5.40 ERA and a 3.34 FIP in 13.1 innings pitched with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays. He has had no issues striking out batters, as he has an impressive 33.3 K%. His BB% is a little bit elevated at 11.1%, but he has a good 1.05 WHIP and a has a low.184 batting average against.
I haven’t been able to watch Brandon Barriera in action, but he has a three-pitch mix, a fastball, a slider, and a changeup according to MLB Pipeline. The fastball can reach up to 98 mph and has a ton of movement, so you can see why he went in the first round.
60th overall pick: Josh Kasevich (SS/3B)
Josh Kasevich has yet to hit a professional homer, but man oh man does he know how to get on base.
This season with the High-A Vancouver Canadians, the 22-year-old shortstop is slashing .321/.401/.343 in 157 plate appearances. While he isn’t hitting for any power (three extra-base hits), he has done a tremendous job of getting on base with singles. Not just that, but he has a 10.2 BB% and an 11.5 K%, meaning he makes contact more often than not.
It’s not just hitting that makes him an impressive prospect, but he is also a great defender that will stick at shortstop. He has great footwork, quick transitions between glove and hand, and he has the range to play the position. His arm is also above average.
He’ll rise up the minor league level pretty quickly.
77th overall pick: Tucker Toman (SS/3B)
Toman was projected to be drafted around the 40th or 50th pick, but the Jays over-slotted the high schooler and were able to pick him 77th.
The Jays were relatively aggressive with the 19-year-old shortstop, starting him with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays. He has a .225/.346/.338 slash line with two homers in 191 plate appearances. His strikeout rate of 29.8% is on the high side, but he’s shown a good eye at the professional level with a 13.6 BB%.
Toman has some serious raw power though. This season, Toman has an average exit velocity of 88.7 mph, which ranks as the 10th highest out of any player 20 or younger (with Baseball Savant Data available). What’s more impressive is that he’s only going to fill out his frame, which means even more raw power.
There was only one Dunedin Blue Jay with a higher average exit velocity, but we’ll get to him.
78th overall pick: Cade Doughty (2B/3B)
The 22-year-old has had a slow start to his High-A career, as he’s slashing .237/.327/.417 with five homers in 159 plate appearances with the Vancouver Canadians. Furthermore, he’s struggled to avoid strikeouts, as he has a 30.8 K% (contrasted to a 10.1 BB%).
This is a rather surprising development, as Doughty was fantastic in his brief stint with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays in 2022. He slashed .272/.370/.495 with six homers in just 119 plate appearances (and an additional homer in a playoff game).
It’s to be seen if he can regain that form, but the 22-year-old infielder has been better since May 11th, slashing .296/.390/.479 with two homers in 82 plate appearances for a 132 wRC+.
He has loads of power and may be able to stick at third base, so keep an eye on Doughty.
98th overall pick: Alan Roden (OF)
The first pick of Day 2, the Jays selected the Creighton Blue Jay in the third round, and he has been great in High-A this season. With Vancouver, he’s slashing .301/.418/.444 with two homers in 184 plate appearances.
What’s more impressive is his 13 BB% contrasted to a 12 K%. This isn’t a rare occurrence either, as he had a 14.8 BB% and 11.3 K% in 115 plate appearances with the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2022. In his last year of college, he only struck out eight times in 242 plate appearances for a 3.3 K%, which is absolutely insane.
Roden is similar to Kasevich in that he does a great job of getting on base. The 23-year-old has some more pop, and plays the corner outfield, where he already has four assists on the season.
A pretty darn good pick, if you ask me.
128th overall pick: Ryan Jennings (RHP)
Like Barriera, I haven’t seen a lot of the 23-year-old pitcher who has pitched with the Single-A Blue Jays.
Last season with Dunedin, Jennings had a 2.16 ERA and a 6.04 FIP in 8.1 innings pitched, all as a reliever. This season, he had a 4.36 ERA and a 3.46 FIP in 33 innings pitched, along with a 31.7 K% and a 10.1 BB%.
What’s more interesting is the fact he has started seven of the nine games he’s appeared in. It’s not too surprising, as he started 30 of the 38 games he appeared in playing for Louisiana Tech, so perhaps the Jays’ plan is to use him as a bulk reliever in the future.
As for his pitch mix, Jennings features a curveball, a cutter, a slider, a four-seam fastball, and a sinker according to Baseball Savant. His fastball averages a tick under 94 mph, while the cutter sits at 86.8 mph. You usually don’t see a reliever with a five-pitch mix, so it’ll be fun to see what the Jays do with him as he continues up the minor leagues.
158th overall pick: Mason Fluharty (LHP)
The 21-year-old lefty was one of the first players from the draft class to make it to Double-A, and the first pitcher to do so.
He absolutely dominated High-A Vancouver to start the 2023 season, owning a 0.59 ERA and a 2.97 FIP in 15.1 innings pitched. This was due in large part to a fantastic 36.2 BB%, and a high 27.6 K-BB%.
Fluharty earned a promotion to Double-A, where he has a 1.93 ERA and a 1.80 FIP in 4.2 innings pitched. His K% has dropped quite a bit to 26.3%, but his BB% has as well, as it stands at 5.3%.
According to this CsPlusBaseball article, Fluharty has a cutter, slider, and two-seamer mix. The latter he picked up early in his Blue Jays career at the development complex. His cutter sits in the low-90s, and his sweeping slider is absolutely disgusting, especially against left-handed batters.
188th overall pick: T.J. Brock (RHP)
You got to love relievers that throw in the upper-90s, but also have devastating off-speed stuff.
Like Fluharty, Brock was swiftly promoted to High-A in 2022, where he had a 5.56 ERA and a 3.13 FIP in 11.1 innings pitched. He also had a pretty fantastic 37.7 K%, albeit the walk rate was a bit high (11.4%).
Brock started the 2023 season with Vancouver, posting a 1.77 ERA and a 3.09 FIP in 20.1 innings pitched. Somehow, the 23-year-old right-handed pitcher added even more strikeouts, as he had a 39.2 K% before his promotion to Double-A Vancouver.
Brock has a three pitch-mix, a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, and a slider. That slider, a gyro slider, was an honourable mention in a Prospects Live article, that you can read here.
218th overall pick: Peyton Williams (1B)
Peyton Williams is one big man that absolutely smacks the ball.
He started his 2023 season with Dunedin, slashing .273/.362/.480 with seven homers in 174 plate appearances. Despite some of the best raw power in the Blue Jays organization (like literally the best except for Vladimir Guerrero Jr.), the big man can avoid strikeouts as he only had a 20.7 K%.
He earned a promotion to High-A, where he has slashed .188/.278/.375 with a homer in 18 plate appearances. It’s an incredibly small sample size, but his K% increased to 38.9%.
His raw power is fantastic, as he had an average exit velocity of 90.6 mph with the Jays. Out of any player between the ages of 18 and 23 with 37 batted balls in play, he ranks 21st, one spot behind Addison Barger.
I can’t mention Williams without mentioning his track record in college. Williams stands at 6’5”, 255 lb, but slashed .317/.455/.593 in his 492 plate appearances with the University of Iowa. Furthermore, he had 15.7 BB% and a 16.9 K% in college.
He’s just a fun player to keep an eye on.
248th overall pick: Dylan Rock (OF)
Dylan Rock was a fifth-year college player drafted by the Jays in 2022. He was also the only Blue Jay player from this class born in 1998 (four days before me).
Last season with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays, he slashed .213/.337/.437 with a homer in 89 plate appearances. He did a solid job drawing walks with an 11.2 BB%, but struck out quite a bit with a 24.7 K%.
He must’ve shown great improvement in the off-season, as he skipped High-A entirely, and for good reason. With the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, he’s slashing .293/.357/.507 with four homers in 84 plate appearances. The BB% has dropped to 8.3%, while the K% has increased to 26.2%, but his 132 wRC+ is fantastic.
Rock evidently has some pop in his game, but is also quick on the bases, as he’s stolen six bases in six attempts in 2022. Due to his age, he may rise up to the minor leagues quickly.
278th overall pick: Devereaux Harrison (RHP)
Another college reliever drafted by the Jays on the second day of the draft, the 22-year-old has had an interesting start to his career.
Harrison started with Dunedin after the draft, posting a 2.57 ERA and a 2.66 FIP in seven innings pitched. He had a good 29 K%, but his 12.9 BB% was on the high side. Despite that, he earned a promotion to Vancouver where he posted a 6.23 ERA and a 6.66 FIP in 4.1 innings pitched.
To start the 2023 season, Harrison repeated the level. In his first nine games out of the bullpen, he posted a 3.38 ERa and a 5.68 FIP in 13.1 innings pitched. His K% jumped up to 27.1% (up from 13.6% in 2022), while his walk rate was at an elevated 16.9%.
And then, he started a game and had a line of 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. I thought this may have been a spot start, but nope, his next appearance was also a start. And then he had another start, finishing with a line of 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
What’s odd about this is that in his 42 college appearances, he only started two games with Long Beach State.
Harrison has a three-pitch mix, a four-seam fastball that sits 94-96 mph, a slider, and a changeup.
308th overall pick: Ian Churchill (LHP)
Churchill is a left-handed reliever in Single-A that probably won’t be there for much longer.
The 24-year-old has a 1.47 ERA and a 3.36 FIP in 18.1 innings pitched with the Baby Jays in 2023. He has an impressive 32.9 K%, but has struggled with the BB% as it sits at 17.1%.
Interestingly, he had a better 2022 season, where he posted a 0.75 ERA and a 2.02 FIP in 12 innings pitched. His K% sat at 37.5%, while his BB% was a much lower 10.4%.
Churchill sits in the low-90s with his sinker, while also throwing a changeup and a slider. His sinker gets a ton of swing and miss, as he had a 44.2 whiff% on 204 pitches this season in Dunedin.
338th overall pick: Pat Gallagher (RHP)
Pat Gallagher was the first pick on the third day of the 2022 draft, and made his professional debut in May 2023.
Pitching with the Dunedin Blue Jays, he has a 6.35 ERA and a 4.32 FIP in 11.1 innings pitched. In the three games he’s appeared in, one of them has been a start, which was his last game on June 1st.
The right-handed pitcher is more of a finesse pitcher than a power pitcher. Not only is this reflected in his 4.3 BB% (and 27.7 K%!), but he only sits in the high-80s with his four-seam and two-seam fastballs.
Despite this, he has an impressive 41.7 whiff% on his four-seam fastball (69 pitches). Moreover, his curveball has a 32.4 whiff%, while his changeup has a 32 whiff%.
He may rise up quickly through the minors.
368th overall pick: Nolan Perry (RHP)
Sadly, Nolan Perry doesn’t have any statistics as he’s yet to make his professional debut as I write this. However, that is soon to change as the Florida Complex League has just started.
Perry was one of three high schoolers that signed with the Jays on the third day of the draft, and sits in the low-90s with his fastball. The Jays really like the projectability that Perry has, and he ranked 34th on Scott Mitchell’s Top 50 list.
It’ll be interesting to see how his professional debut goes.
398th overall pick: Bo Bonds (RHP)
Bo Bonds has yet to make his professional debut. Unlike Nolan Perry and Gage Stanifer, it’s due to Tommy John surgery.
The college-drafted reliever had the surgery prior to being drafted, but the upside is certainly there. According to Prospects Live’s Top 400 draft prospects for 2022, they considered him to have one of the best fastballs in college ball due to his shape and movement.
With Louisiana-Lafayette University in 2022, he had a 3.11 ERA in 55 innings pitched as a reliever in a bulk role. He also had a 37.2 K%, but a rather high 13 BB%.
It won’t be until 2024 that we see Bonds pitch, but he could be a reliever that jumps up the minor league levels quickly.
428th overall pick: Sammy Hernandez (C)
The Blue Jays have a great track record of developing catchers, and Sammy Hernandez may be the next one they have success with.
His .200/.240/.344 with two homers in 96 plate appearances hasn’t been great, but it’s important to keep in mind he’s one of the youngest players in Single-A.
Although the bat hasn’t been there quite yet, he has shown off his impressive arm throwing out 14 of 41 would-be base stealers, a 34% success rate.
Hernandez has an average exit velocity of 84.9 mph, but has reached 102.2 mph. There’s still a lot of developing to do, but Hernandez is a very intriguing prospect.
458th overall pick: Michael Turconi (IF)
Michael Turconi was another fourth-year college prospect selected by the Jays in the 2022 draft.
He started the 2022 season with Dunedin, slashing .278/.397/.370 with a homer in 68 plate appearances. Moreover, he had a 13.2 BB% and an 11.8 K%. Towards the end of the year, he earned a promotion to Vancouver, where he slashed .281/.410/.281 in 39 plate appearances and a 17.9 BB% and 15.4 K%.
To start the 2023 season, Turconi was placed in High-A again. Similar to last season, he’s getting on base a ton as he owns a .326/.412/.516 slash line with three homers in 114 plate appearances.
Turconi has some pop, but his calling card is being able to hit for average and providing plus defence in the middle of the infield.
518th overall pick: Ryan Chasse (RHP)
The 23-year-old has had a weird start to his 2023 season with the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Despite the high 17.3 BB% and low 16.3 K%, Chasse has a 2.63 ERA in 24 innings pitched. That type of split isn’t great for the FIP, as it sits at 6.71.
Yet, he is able to navigate the high walk rate and low strike rate as he’s held batters to a .156 batting average, and owns a WHIP of 1.21, which isn’t all that bad for a high BB%.
According to Baseball Savant, he has a five-pitch mix, a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a changeup, a curveball, and a slider. His changeup is his best pitch as it has plenty of arm-side fade with some late drop, while his fastball sits in the low-90s.
To progress to the next level, Chasse will have to do a better job of commanding his pitches. However, he has shown an ability to avoid being hit hard.
578th overall pick: Gage Stanifer (RHP)
Like Perry, Stanifer is yet to make his professional debut depending on when you read this article.
The 19-year-old was drafted out of high school by the Jays, and is on the Florida Complex League roster.
Stanifer throws a fastball, slider, and splitter mix (although I’ve seen some people/publications call it a changeup.) He’s already up to 97 mph with the fastball with some projection remaining. Furthermore, the splitter is going to be a disgusting out-pitch as he makes his way up the minor league level.
What to think about the 2022 class:
It’s still very early, but the Jays drafted a lot of high upside high school players, while also picking up some intriguing college players.
Due to Toman and Barriera’s over-slot, they were forced to draft college seniors and relievers, and they did a great job doing so.
It may be some recency bias, but out of the three drafts I’ve covered in this series, this has been the most balanced and potentially the best.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D. Thanks for reading the series. Additional thanks to Prospects Live and CsPlusBaseball. Prospects Live has a wonderful tool for Single-A and Triple-A, which you can view here. If I ever need to find a pitcher’s pix mitch, I always look to CsPlusBaseball to find the mix if they’ve pitched for the Canadians.
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