With the 98th overall pick, the Blue Jays could select…
1 year ago
At this point in the draft, there is barely any consensus on who goes where.
Nearly 100 picks in, and the draft is a complete crapshoot. However, there are still some good players who could really help out the team.
You could essentially call this article: “Which players could the Jays select with the 98th overall if they decide to underslot a higher pick” as many of these players are high school players.
Hell, even dating back to last season, the Jays had the 91st overall pick. They drafted Ricky Tiedemann, who is now the 35th best prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.
Without spending too much time on the intro, let’s get into who the Jays could pick with the 98th overall pick.
Jake Bennett is our first large adult son of the article. Standing at 6’6, 234 lb, the large left hander pitched for Oklahoma University.
The 21-year-old’s stock rose massively this season, as he posted a 3.69 ERA in 117 innings pitched for the Sooners. Furthermore, he limited the walks with a BB/9 of 1.7, while owning a pretty impressive K/9 of 10.2, leading to a strikeout to walk ratio of 6.05.
In his college career, he posted a 4.30 ERA in 184.1 innings pitched with a BB/9 of 1.9 and K/9 of 10.4. Despite the ERA being a little high (due to his sophomore season), there’s a lot of promise with his collegiate SO/W of 5.58.
MLB Pipeline notes that he’s better against righties due to a 60 grade changueup which has a tumbling action and averages 82-85 mph. His four seamer has been up to 98 mph, but averages in the low 90s. His last pitch is a slider and it’s rather inconsistent, but has shown a sweeping action at points.
It’s also noted by MLB Pipeline that: [Bennett] stands out more for his floor than his ceiling with a good chance of becoming a No.4 or 5 starter.” Below are his grades.
He’s ranked as MLB Pipeline’s 68th overall draft prospect, Baseball America’s 41 best draft prospect and Prospects Live’s 50th overall.
The reason he’s included in this list is because he’s an interesting prospect, but he wasn’t this highly rated when I did the last article in this series. He’s likely going to be picked in the second round, so if the Jays grab him, expect it to be with the 60th overall.
Karson Milbrandt is an interesting high school righty.
Standing at 6’2, 190 lb, the 18-year-old spent time between baseball and basketball in his senior season. According to MLB Pipeline, there could be rapid development from the athletic pitcher once Milbrandt focuses solely on baseball.
As it stands, the 18-year-old has had insane spin rates on his fastball, as it sits at 2800 rpm (which again, is utterly insane). The velocity on that pitch sits in the low 90s, but touches 96 mph. Once focusing solely on baseball, I reckon the velocity will increase as he’s still a projectable player.
Furthermore, he has a curveball and slider, both of which need more time to develop, but still look promising. Milbrandt also has a changeup with fade, but he didn’t use it much.
Signing him away from Vanderbilt would be difficult, so if the Jays were to pick him, they’d need to underslot a higher pick to save money for Milbrandt. Below are his grades.
MLB Pipeline ranks Milbrandt as their 90th best draft prospect, Baseball America ranks him as their 101st best draft prospect, and Prospects Live ranks him as their 151st best draft prospect.
Back to back Vanderbilt commits! As always, I try to add one player for the need of a left hitting outfield, and Ryan Clifford fits that need.
While his ETA is probably half a decade away, there’s a lot to like about the 18-year-old. His lefty swing has a “good bat path”, and can hit for both power and average. Despite being young, he has an “advanced approach” at the plate and doesn’t chase out of the zone.
Not just that, but at 6’3, 200 lb, the young outfielder still has room to grow and hit upwards of 20 homers.
His closest comparison is the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 10th best prospect, Seth Beer. However, it’s projected that Clifford will stick in right field once his routes and range improve. Below are his grades:
He ranks as MLB Pipeline’s 92nd best prospect, while ranking as Baseball America’s 76th best available prospect and Prospects Live 76th best draft prospect.
The 20-year-old is an intriguing arm and reminds me of a JuCo they picked last season, Ricky Tiedemann and Nate Pearson.
Originally committed to South Carolina, he needed Tommy John surgery his senior year of 2020. Instead, he decided to attend Northwest Florida State. While there are concerns about a pitcher that had Tommy John in the past, there’s a lot to like about Madden.
There are command issues with Madden, but he throws a consistent 98 mph fastball with alright secondary pitches which include a slider and changeup.
In 47.2 innings pitched for Northwest Florida State, Madden posted a 4.53 ERA as well as an impressive K/9 of 14.35. His BB/9 was on the rather high side of 4.56 though. However, he dealt with a blister issue for a portion of the season, so that’s a reason.
If he can improve his command, he could be a very, very high upside prospect. Below are his grades:
Madden is ranked as MLB Pipeline’s 93rd best draft prospect, Baseball America’s 84th best draft prospect and Prospects Live’s 99th best prospect.
In a world where every team is trying to find the next Shohei Ohtani, Nazier Mule is the most interesting player on this list. Why? Well because the 17-year-old profiles well as both a position player and pitcher.
Starting with pitching as that’s what scouts believe he’s destined to do, Mule sits in the mid 90s (93-96 mph), but has flashed 100 mph while losing command. He also features a slider which has shown to be a plus pitch in the past, as well as a changeup which is rarely used.
While there are many players in high school that are two-way players, even in this class, there isn’t one that has upside in both categories. That is until you read about Mule.
The 17-year-old has power and some impressive exit velos. While he is a solid defender at short, his bat is what intrigues me the most.
He’s committed to Miami, but MLB Pipeline notes that he may get tempted out of his commitment if a team plays him as a position player. Below are his many grades:
Overall (pitching): 45
MLB Pipeline has Mule as their 94th best draft prospect, Baseball America has him as their 97th best draft prospect and Prospects Live has him as their 203rd best draft prospect.
The last non high school prospect on this list, Colby Thomas would help add depth to a farm system that desperately needs more outfielders.
Before season ending surgery on a torn labrum, the 21-year-old righty slashed .325/.451/.734 with 17 homers in just 213 plate appearances. He also walked 15.96% of the time compared to a K% of 15.02%., which you know I love.
For his collegiate career, he slashed .292/.402/.612 with 26 homers in 512 plate appearances. Overall, he struck out 105 times while walking 61 times. He never had an OPS of under .835, so the young outfielder definitely mashed while getting on base.
While his bat path can get uphill, he has raw power due to strength and bat speed. According to MLB Pipeline, he was regarded as one of the better athletes for the college with plus running and good instincts which could lead to Thomas playing centre field. Below are his grades:
MLB Pipeline ranks him as their 95th best draft prospect, while Baseball America ranks him as their 158th best draft prospect, and Prospects Live ranks him as their 81st best prospect.
The 18-year-old Mason Neville reminds some of a young Cody Bellinger, as he’s a toolsy, athletic centre fielder.
Neville has no issues covering centre field, as he’s a plus runner with a plus arm (he was a pitcher at one point). According to Pipeline, he has a “whip” in his swing that leads to power, but there are some concerns about his swing and missing.
However, the 6’3, 176 lb outfielder has plenty of projection left, meaning that he could add even more power as his body develops.
The 18-year-old is committed to Arkansas, but he definitely has some potential. Below are his grades:
He is ranked as MLB Pipeline’s 102nd best draft prospect. He ranks as Baseball America’s 185th best prospect and Prospects Live’s 140th best prospect.
Lastly, we have another high school potential player, Cutter Coffey.
Much like Mule, Coffey has spent time pitching, featuring a 94 mph fastball. However, it’s noted that Coffey will be a third baseman.
Pipeline points out that he has raw power and recognizes spin very well for a young player. Coffey does have issues with velocity at the top of the zone, but this could be fixed once he solely focuses on batting.
They also note that he could be an offensive-minded second baseman with “meh” speed, but it’s likely that his home once drafted will be third base. Below are his grades.
MLB Pipeline ranks Coffey as their 105th best draft prospect, while Baseball America ranks him as their 65 best draft prospect. Prospects Live ranks him as their 74th best draft prospect.
Who will they select:
Out of any of these players, the player that intrigues me the most is Nazier Mule. Call it the Ohtani factor, but I think teams will start to look for the next Ohtani, and Mule may be that candidate. If he doesn’t pan out with the bat, he’s still hit 100 mph and with work at the complex, who knows what the limit is for the 17-year-old.
The Jays also could be into Jake Madden. They’ve drafted two highly touted JuCo’s in the past (Nate Pearson, Ricky Teidemann). Like those two, Madden is a large, projectable pitcher who throws hard. Here’s what I’d do:
With all that being said, I’m excited for next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Previously in the series…
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. As you can imagine, I’ll be incredibly active on draft day, I literally am so excited for this event.
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