Grading each day of the MLB Draft for the Blue Jays
Photo credit:Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images
6 months ago
With the draft out of the way, let’s recap how the Jays did.
In this article, I’ll be going by each of the three days and how the Jays by giving a letter grade (with context, of course). Essentially, they got two first rounders and two second rounds on day one. On day two, they added a bunch of high upside relievers for less than the slot value, something they need.
On day three, the Jays shocked me by picking five prep players. Usually, teams will pick a high school player or two in the late rounds as a “hedge” pick. Essentially this means that if they fail to sign someone in the first few rounds, that bonus pool money could be used for the hedge pick.
I’ll take you back to Sunday, where the draft finally ended at 1:00 AM.
On Sunday, the Blue Jays had four picks, the 23rd overall, the 60th overall, the 77th overall and the 78th overall. Let’s go through each of the picks one by one (which I won’t do for day 2 and 3).
23rd overall, LHP Brandon Barriera:
They shocked me by picking a high school pitcher with their first round pick, something the team hasn’t done since 2013. The last time a high school pitcher was drafted in the first round and signed with the Blue Jays was Roy Halladay in 1995, three years before I was born.
Barriera was ranked as the 15th best draft prospect available, with a fastball touching 95 mph that has run and sink on it. His slider clocks in at 86 mph and it’s quite impressive in its own right.
There have been comparisons to Ricky Tiedemann due to his build, and it’s likely that Barriera will do what Tiedemann did last season, where he’ll spend the rest of the season at the Complex.
It’s very likely the Jays will sign him.
60th overall, SS Josh Kasevich:
The Jays don’t have a lot of solid glove guys at shortstop, especially in the upper minors. Kasevich was the best defender in his conference, so that’s what the Jays are getting.
Kasevich is hit over power, as he slashed .310/.383/.445 with seven homers in 277 plate appearances. He only struckout 5.78% of the time while walking 8.66% of the time, meaning that the 21-year-old is a pretty solid contact hitter.
Not just that, but a few prospects sites believe he has the potential to add more power as he fills out his 6’2, 200 lb frame. I could end up seeing him as a utility player for the Jays. depending on how he does in the minors.
They could’ve picked Toman here, but it’s possible they didn’t think Kasevich would be available with the 77th pick.
I think the Jays will sign him.
77th overall, 3B Tucker Toman:
There’s a lot to like about the 18-year-old Toman. He has pop from both sides of the plate and could very well hit for a solid average. Toman swings better from the left side as his bat is faster, but the Jays will likely run him out there as a switch hitter for the foreseeable future.
Defensively, there could be many positions that he plays in his career. He’s a third baseman at the moment with an average arm and he could end up eventually playing a corner infield, but he was one of the best prep hitters in the class.
The Jays will have to over slot him, meaning that picks from round 3-10 will be under slotted (we’ll get into that).
Overall, he was the second first rounder the team had in this draft. Not bad at all.
I’d say there’s a high possibility that he signs.
78th overall, 2B Cade Doughty:
Cade Doughty is an interesting pick. For his collegiate career, he slashed .301/.378/.541 in 603 plate appearances. Although he mainly played as a second baseman for Louisiana State University, he is plenty capable of playing third base.
He doesn’t have elite bat speed, but he does time the ball quite well and as he’s filled in his frame more, Doughty has added power (while striking out a bit more).
So what to make of day one?:
There are a few reasons why this isn’t the perfect first day. Firstly, not all four guys have officially signed the contract yet. I think it’s all but certain that Barriera and Toman will sign, but I’m left wondering if they can lock up both Doughty and Kasevich. If they can, this day gets a bump up in the grade.
The second reason that the grade is hindered is due to the fact that the team didn’t really fill their needs for outfield prospects. While Toman may eventually move there (which would be a worst case scenario), the outfield position remains barren of Top 10 prospects. The only outfielder that has a shout is Gabriel Martinez, but he’s at least three years away.
The Jays essentially got two first round players and two second round players, an absolutely fantastic haul.
Day one grade: A
Unlike day one, I won’t be focusing on each individual prospect they drafted, instead I’ll be focusing on what they did overall. If you want to read more about each individual prospect, check out my day two article here.
Since Toman and possibly Barriera need to be over slotted, the Jays have to save bonus pool money somewhere, which is essentially what they did here. Note, it’s likely that all eight of these draftees will sign, this was noted on the draft day broadcast.
They drafted a need, picking a left-handed hitting corner outfielder who makes contact (Alan Roden). They also drafted a 5-year outfielder who Prospects Live loves.
The Jays drafted a senior starter who could become a power reliever in Ryan Jennings.
The rest of the draft picks on day two consisted of high K/9 relievers with velocity (T.J Brock), nasty stuff (Mason Fluharty), or funky delivery that messed with hitters (Deveraux Harrison).
My personal favourite pick was their 7th rounder, Peyton Williams. The 6’5, 255 lb first baseman put up insane exit velocity numbers and added 13 homers for the University of Iowa. Despite his size, Williams slashed .317/.455/.693 and nearly walked as much as he struck out (77 walks, 83 strikeouts).
So what to make of day two?:
When you look at this day without context, it doesn’t look great. The team drafted a bunch of college relievers and small school position players that need testing at the next level.
However, once you consider that they needed to save money for their first four picks and they drafted for the need of high strikeout relievers, this was a fantastic day for the Jays.
I’m incredibly high on both Alan Roden and Peyton Williams as I believe they are the exact prospects the Jays need at the moment.
Day two grade: A+
This was the most surprising day for me, but I think the Jays handled it well. As you may know, the slot value for each of these ten picks is $125,000. Anything above this digs into your bonus pool money. I believe the Jays took advantage of that
With their first three picks on day three, they drafted two college players and one prep arm. Both Pat Gallagher (11) and Bo Bonds (13) are relievers that Prospects Live is high on. Each of them are pretty solid.
Nolan Perry was the high school arm drafted and the righty won the 2021-22 Gatorade New Mexico Player of the year. He currently sits in the low nineties and is committed to Texas tech. He’s unranked, so perhaps the Jays have a little more bonus pool money to sign him?
With their fourth pick of the day, the Jays drafted catcher Sammy Hernandez, who has apparently already signed. Like Perry, he is another high schooler.
Things returned back to what was expected of the team, as they drafted Michael Turconi, a college senior shortstop who apparently rarely hits a ground ball. Next up were two relievers, Kale Davis a junior, and Ryan Chasse, a senior. Par for the course.
Then the Jays went off the rails, selecting three prep players with their last three picks of the draft.
The first of which was a 16-year-old lefty from Quebec. Jeremy Pilon was eligible because he’s completed high school and he’ll be turning 17-years-old in less from when drafted players must sign (August 1st). PIlon will turn 17-years-old four days before the cutoff date.
The next player the Jays drafted is right handed pitcher, Gage Stanifer. Despite only being 18-years-old, the prep arm has already hit 95.2 mph, and sits between 90-95 mph on average. If they can sign him, this could be the steal of the draft.
Lastly, the team drafted Gregory Pace Jr with their final pick. Out of any of the prep players chosen on day three, this is the only pick I believe is a hedge pick if Toman or Barriera don’t sign. Regardless, the outfielder is a very toolsy player who has 70+ grade speed and could develop into a huge power bat. It’s unlikely they will sign him.
What to make of day three:
Let’s give you a little bit of context here. On day three last season, the Jays only drafted two high school players, both of whom were hedge picks. Neither Micah Bucknam (now an LSU commit) and Luke Holman signed with the team.
The Jays drafted five prep players in 2022. In fact, Sammy Hernandez has apparently already signed.
Day three could either be incredibly good, or they could’ve wasted four picks. I’m under the assumption that at least two more of these guys will sign. This is because of the high slot money that all 11-20 round draft picks get, as well as potentially having more money than we think.
Not just that, but it just doesn’t seem logical to waste this many picks without knowing that a few of those players will sign.
Day three grade: A+ if three out of five draftees sign, C if only one of the five players sign
What to make of the draft as a whole:
On day one, the Jays drafted four players that were ranked 67th or above according to MLB Pipeline. Expect Barriera, Kasevich, Toman and Doughty to all be ranked 20th or higher in the updated prospect list.
On day two with a constraint on bonus pool money, the team was able to draft for need (college relievers with swing and miss). Not just that, but they added two darn good position players who could make top prospects lists.
Day three was the most surprising day, as they went with five high school players, something you don’t often see. If they can sign all of them except Gregory Pace Jr, I think we may look back at day three of the draft as the most impressive draft, and that’s saying a lot.
In my opinion (which may come with a tad bit of recency bias), this has the possibility to be the best draft under Mark Shapiro.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. Except for news articles about who signs, this all but wraps up the draft content! Hope you enjoyed it!
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