2011 MLB Draft: Toronto Blue Jays
Here's another American League East team with multiple early picks and an open checkbook.
1) Tyler Beede, RHP, Massachusetts HS: Some signability issues with a Vanderbilt scholarship, but they wouldn't take him this high if the deal couldn't get done. Low-90s fastball, already has good curve and changeup, good makeup, throws strikes.
1S) Jacob Anderson, OF, California HS: Pepperdine commitment might have scared some people away but Jays are betting on his excellent power potential though hitting skills are raw.
1S) Joe Musgrove, RHP, California HS: Already signed away from San Diego State. Big, throws power sinker in low-90s, breaking ball and changeup inconsistent.
1S) Dwight Smith, OF, Georgia HS: Son of Dwight and a similar player, pure hitter with average tools but strong knowledge of the strike zone and some power. Georgia Tech commit but signable here.
1S) Kevin Comer, RHP, New Jersey HS: Another Vanderbilt arm. Inexperienced, throws low-90s, good curveball, will need plenty of refinement but high ceiling.
2) Daniel Norris, LHP, Tennessee HS: Best high school lefty in draft, 92-94 fastball, strong curve and changeup, improved command. Fell out of first day due to Clemson commitment and large bonus demands. Can they sign him?
2) Jeremy Gabryszwski, RHP, Texas HS: Power arm from Texas prep ranks, low 90s, good slider and changeup, but stuff inconsistent. History of elbow trouble. Lamar commitment.
3) John Stilson, RHP, Texas A&M: Great arm, certain first rounder until late-season labrum injury, will try rehab with no surgery. Status will depend on summer health reports. 1.68 ERA with 92/29 K/BB in 91 innings before injury.
4) Tom Robson, RHP, British Columbia HS: Best Canadian available, and a fine sleeper, 88-92 fastball, good secondary pitches, throws strikes, experienced against international competition, good makeup.
5) Andrew Chin, LHP, Massachusetts HS: Had Tommy John surgery in April, would have gone in fifth round area if healthy and still did. Boston College commitment. Will he rehab in the pros, or head to college and gamble on a bigger payday in three years?
6) Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, Florida: Can hit 95 MPH, slider has potential. 4.36 ERA, 38/6 K/BB in 43 innings, 48 hits.
7) Christian Lopes, SS, California HS: Rated a possible first rounder two years ago, but was overexposed and scouts started nitpicking him. Excellent plate discipline and should hit for average with decent power. Southern Cal commitment.
8) Mark Biggs, RHP, Kentucky HS: 90+ fastball but missed most of spring with fractured vertebra. University of Louisville commitment. Will he sign or go to school and try to increase stock for '14?
9) Andrew Suarez, LHP, Florida HS: Pitching version of Lopes: scouts used to love him but he got overexposed and his stock dropped, probably more than it should have. Average velocity, good breaking stuff, clean mechanics. Miami commitment.
10) Aaron Garza, RHP, Texas HS: Does not throw hard right now, projectable, good makeup, strong college commitment to University of Houston. Like Suarez, Biggs, and Chin, he could rank higher in subsequent drafts if he goes to school and develops.
OTHERS OF NOTE: 3B Matt Dean (13th round, Texas HS) has strong power potential and a very strong desire to play for the University of Texas. RHP Cole Wiper (14th round, Washington HS) plans on college at Oregon but has good secondary stuff and might throw harder as he matures. RHP Aaron Nola (22nd round, Louisiana HS) and SS Austin Nola (31st round, LSU) will probably be playing college ball for the Tigers next year, but it isn't impossible that the Jays could open up the checkbook and convince the brothers to get into pro ball together. LHP Jake Eliopoulos (43rd round, no school) illustrates the risk players take when they turn down big money. He didn't sign as a second rounder in 2009, but his junior college career was a disaster, he's lost 5 MPH off his fastball, and cost himself at least a million dollars as a result.
SUMMARY: Very much a high risk/high reward strategy here. With few exceptions, the focus here is on talented high school players with large bonus demand and strong college commitments. Stilson, Biggs and Chin are all interesting choices due to their spring injuries. They could be bargains, or blowouts; I'm assuming the Jays really trust their medical staff. I like Canadian Robson as a strong value selection; he could be a real surprise.