“At the end of the day, it always comes back to best available player. You hate to try and force a shortstop and look past a potential top rotation starter and you end up with a shortstop who’s marginal. I think these players are so far away from what they might ultimately become that I think you really have to trust your scouts, trust your evaluations, and take the players that you believe bring the most value to the table.”
— Jon Lalonde, Blue Jays director of scouting
The Jays have five picks among the first 104 selections in tonight’s First-Year Player Draft, two being compensatory picks for losing pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Yankees in free agency. As Lalonde noted this week, Toronto’s philosophy is to go with who they deem the best available player on the board with the club’s first selection.
Toronto has the 20th overall pick in the first round, as well as pick Nos. 37 (first-round sandwich round), 68 (second round), 99 and 104 (third round). This year, it’s not really clear who the Jays are targeting for pick No. 2. A few names being tossed around have been LSU OF Jared Mitchell, Sacramento State OF Tim Wheeler, Notre Dame OF A.J. Pollock, Stanford RHP Drew Storen, H.S. LHP Chad James and Kennesaw State RHP Chad Jenkins.
This year’s Draft is heavy on college arms and that could be the way the Jays lean. Taking James would stray from the organizational trend of picking high school pitchers early, but Toronto selected his brother, Justin James, in the 2003 Draft, so there is a history there. Jays Scouting Advisor Smoke Laval — formerly the LSU head coach from 2002-06 — also has ties to Mitchell.
Be sure to follow my updates throughout the Draft on twitter (@MLBastian) and check back here on the blog. I’ll update this post with each of Toronto’s picks throughout the evening. The Draft opens at 6 p.m. ET.
Round 1 (20th overall): Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw State
Comp. Round A (37th): James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky
Round 2 (68th overall): Jake Eliopoulos, LHP, Sacred Heart Catholic HS
Round 3 (99th overall): Jake Barrett, RHP, Desert Ridge HS
Round 3 (104th overall): Jacob Marisnick, OF, Riverside Poly HS