June 9, 2015
If the name Jon Harris sounds familiar to Blue Jays fans, it should, as the recent Missouri State grad was originally selected by the Blue Jays in the 33rd round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
This year the Florissant, Missouri native was drafted in the first round – with the team’s first pick – with the 29th overall selection.
“I heard my name and I broke down in tears because it’s one of those childhood dreams that every kid has,” Harris said on a conference call with Toronto media.”I look forward to fulfilling that dream in the Toronto organization. It’s a blessing in disguise to be drafted by them again.”
Originally projected by MLBPipeline.com to be drafted with one of the top 10 picks, the Blue Jays appear to have opted for the best player available; one that is ready to bolster their deep farm system of young, talented arms. RHP Jon Harris features four plus pitches including a mid 90’s fastball, a curveball, a slider, and a changeup.
Declining the Blue Jays’ offer in 2012, Harris instead attended Missouri State University. In 2015 he posted an 8-2 record for the Missouri Bears with a 2.45 ERA in 103 innings, striking out 116 batters, and walking 36.
The Blue Jays originally would have possessed the 16th overall selection, but conceded that slot with the signing of catcher Russell Martin. The rejected qualifying offer to Melky Cabrera and his subsequent signing with the Chicago White Sox gave Toronto the 29th overall pick which carries a recommended bonus of $1,944,800.
“I haven’t heard anything about if there’s a deal in place or what I would get,” said Harris. “All I know is I’m the 29th overall pick for the Toronto Blue Jays and that’s about all I know.”
Jim Callis, executive editor for Baseball America, describes the Blue Jays selection as being one of his favorite pitchers in this Draft, proclaiming, “I thought he was the fourth-best college pitcher available and has a higher floor as a starter than the three guys we had ranked ahead of him in Fulmer, Jay and Tate. Missouri State has produced nine big league pitchers in the last 10 seasons and here’s another one on the way.”
Callis is not alone with the thinking. As Blue Jays Scouting Director Brian Parker said they had rated Harris higher than 29th. Shi Davidi tweets that they feel confident about his signability.
This, of course, is great news for the Blue Jays, who failed to sign their top selections in both 2012 and 2013 with both Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford declining to sign. Coincidentally, both have now signed with the San Francisco Giants in back-to-back years.
“Toronto’s going to be a great fit for me. It’s going to be a new home for me,” Harris concluded. “I’m going to do what I can to wear that Toronto blue proudly.”