With plenty of high-upside talent, the 2023 MLB draft looks like a win for the Blue Jays

Ryley Delaney
10 months ago
It’s been a few days since the 2023 MLB draft ended.
Things have settled down, so it’s worth taking a look at all three days of the draft and highlighting the most interesting picks of the day.

The first day of the draft:

Unlike last season, the Blue Jays only had one pick on the first night of the draft, unlike the four that they had in the 2022 draft. Still, they hit on their only pick of the night.
Without question, the 17-year-old shortstop was the best player available when the Jays made their pick. Chase Davis, the 21st overall pick, may have been more advanced in his development, but Nimmala’s ceiling is high, especially since he’ll stick at shortstop.
It’s to be seen if the first player of Indian descent will sign, but I’d assume there’s a likelihood of it happening. The Jays have never failed to sign anyone in the top 10 rounds since in the Mark Shapiro era, so I’d expect this to be announced in the next few days. 
There’s also this Tweet from Damon (@Varsh0w on Twitter) that shows that Nimmala actually had the team linked in his bio, but was later removed.
Whenever he signs, there’s a significant chance that he is given an over-slot deal, meaning that his signing bonus will likely be more than that allotted $3,750,000 for the 20th overall pick.

The second day of the draft:

It’s not a crazy take to say that the Blue Jays’ second day of the draft was amongst the best of the 30 teams.
The team north of the border lost their second round pick after signing Chris Bassitt, who was given a qualifying offer by the New York Mets. However, that didn’t stop them from picking up a lot of talent on this day.
First up, they drafted college pitcher Juaron Watts-Brown with the 89th overall pick, despite him ranking as MLB Pipeline’s 67th best draft prospect and Baseball America’s 46th best draft prospect.
With their fourth rounder, they selected Landen Maroudis with the 121st overall pick, despite him being MLB Pipeline’s 72nd best draft prospect and Baseball America’s 82nd best.
This was a trend over their next few picks, as Jace Bohrofen and Nick Goodwin were ranked higher by those two publications relative to where they were picked. Furthermore, Connor O’Halloran was ranked as MLB Pipeline’s 164th best draft prospect and was picked with the 184th overall pick.
Of course, in their last three picks, there were some cost-saving measures, such as drafting Braden Barry, an unranked prospect, and Josh Mollerus, a fifth-year senior at Oregon University.
That didn’t stop them from selecting 18-year-old Sam Shaw, a Canadian prep player who I had a chance to see at the Canadian Futures Showcase in September 2022. If he signs, he may be able to sneak his way into the Blue Jays Top 30 in a few seasons.

The third day of the draft:

I didn’t write a primer for the third day of the draft, but I did Tweet out my thoughts prior to the Jays first selection.
In the 2022 draft, the Blue Jays selected five prep players on the third day of the draft, Nolan Perry, Sammy Hernandez, Jeremy Pilon, Gage Stanifer, and Greg Pace. Now, only Perry, Hernandez, and Stanifer signed, but Pace and Pilon were likely hedge picks (a pick just in case an over-slot deal falls through, in this case, Brandon Barriera and Tucker Toman).
Interestingly, Pilon was drafted one pick before the only high school player the Blue Jays drafted on the third day, Chase Brunson. The 18-year-old outfielder was selected from San Clemente High School and has a commitment to Loyola Marymount University. The way I see it, he may be one of only two players that won’t sign, maybe three including Sam Shaw.
The other was another day three draftee, Sam Kulasingam. The 22-year-old outfielder/first baseman was selected from the United States Air Force Academy. He slashed .426/.465/.517 with six homers in 294 plate appearances with the Mountain West Conference team. His .426 batting average was tied for the third most in the NCAA, tied with Dylan Crews, albeit in a much weaker conference.
With most college guys drafted in the latter rounds, they have a high probability of being drafted, but it appears that Kulasingam is in a different situation, as explained by this Gazette post. Add in the fact that the Jays may be up against the bonus pool cap, and Kulasingam may play out his senior year.
The best pick of the day was likely Brennan Orf, and I’m not just saying that because we share a first name! He had an 8% chase rate (swings on pitches outside the zone) and has excellent strike zone discipline. Mason McRae, who is with the Chicago Cubs now, gave him a 60-grade hit tool and a 55 power tool. This was a great pick.

Where will these players start:

My guess is that 18 of the 19 players will sign, with only Sam Kulasingam declining to sign. Afterwards, the new draftees will have a two-week long introduction camp, before being assigned to their respective affiliate teams.
I’d assume most of the college players will end up going to the Dunedin Blue Jays, similar to when Cade Doughty, Josh Kasevich, and Alan Roden headed to the Single-A team post-draft in 2022. This could also help position the Baby Jays to win the second-half title.
As for the prep players, if Sam Shaw, Arjun Nimmala, and Chase Brunson sign, they’ll probably get a cup of tea in the Florida Complex League, similar to Tucker Toman and Sammy Hernandez in 2022.
As for Landen Maroudis, he may be shut down similar to Barriera in 2022 and Ricky Tiedemann in 2021.
Either way, in my opinion, this was this regime’s best draft class, surpassing the 2022 draft class.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.


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