A Blog of Toronto Blue Jays Prospects Interviews, Evaluations and News

Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Draft Preview

The 2011 MLB Amateur Draft is coming up quickly, starting on Monday June 6 and concluding Wednesday June 8. For the Toronto Blue Jays the draft currently is the key to the future of this rebuilding team. Since Alex Anthopolous(AA), General Manager(GM) of the Toronto Blue Jays, took over in October of 2009 the draft has become a key component for the team’s future. His plan is to build a contender for years to come and this all starts from a good rebuilding team drafting well and grooming home-grown talent. AA in his first season as the GM nearly tripled the scouting staff. He increased the number of regional scouts as well as many other departments, in hope of knowing everything about the player before drafting, or signing them. Since AA took over as the GM he sent the Blue Jays farm system soaring up the boards from 28th overall to 4th in less than one year of being on the job.

One way of doing this is creatively signing guys that fall under the Type A or B mould and letting them go after the season. We have seen this in recent years under AA with Kevin Gregg and John Buck. The most interesting pick is the compensation pick for Type B free agent Miguel Olivo. On November 4, 2010 AA acquired catcher Miguel Olivo from the Colorado Rockies for future considerations. Within a day exercised the US$500,000 buyout on the catcher’s option year, making him a free agent. The Jays then offered arbitration to Olivo, setting themselves up to receive a compensatory draft pick in result of him signing with another team. That is exactly what he did on January 3, 2011 with the Seattle Mariners, to a two-year deal worth $7-millionUS.

The Blue Jays currently sit with seven picks in the top 78 in this year’s draft. With the plethora of picks early look for the Jays draft often and fork out a ton of money to ensure sure they get the players they want. According to Baseball America, the Jays tossed out US$11.6 million in signing bonuses in 2010, the third highest total in draft history. Andrew Tinnish, Scouting Director for the Toronto Blue Jays , is likely to have a similar bankroll to draw upon this summer, allowing him to choose who he feels is the best available player, rather than the best available affordable player. Here are Tinnish’s thoughts on the draft: “The draft is very difficult,” says Blue Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish. “We’ve done studies where if you get one solid everyday big-leaguer out of a draft and a handful of extra guys, you’ve done a good job. So having extra picks up high is extremely valuable. I know there are teams that aren’t fans of the comp pick, but we certainly are.” Via Roger’s Sportsnet. Signing players in the draft is a tricky process as you have some players that are committed to schools or some multi-sport athletes’ that are usually harder to sign and usually get over-slot bonuses.

Draft Synopsis
This year’s draft has been said to be one of the deepest drafts in recent years. While it may not have that clear cut number 1 overall pick there is a ton of talent up for grabs. There are many people in the draft this year that are committed to schools or that they are multi-sport athlete’s and could get passed on because of sign ability issues. The college pitchers have to be the most intriguing position in the draft not too far behind the many number of polished hitters.

Recent Picks (2006-present)

Player Name Year Overall
Ricky Romero 2005 5th overall
Travis Snider 2006 14th overall
J.P. Arencibia 2007 21st overall
David Cooper 2008 17th overall
Chad Jenkins 2009 20th overall
Deck McGuire 2010 11th overall

In the past 6 years of the draft for the Blue Jays have take 3 position players as well as 3 pitchers with their first pick. The key to the picks though is 5 of the past 6 first-round picks are college players. The Blue Jays have had a history of going with college players in the first-round, which is the safer choice over a high-schooler. AA draft philosophy has been drafting the best available as well or high-ceiling players. High-ceiling players are less polished players that are of the high-risk, high-reward mould that usually fall later in the draft.

Positions of interest
With the Jays drafting the best available player at their pick it’s hard to gauge what positions that they would be looking for. I believe that the Jays should be looking for depth in the infield as well as always pitching depth. In an organization you can NEVER have enough pitching depth and the Jays have TONS of it. With the draft being so deep with pitching, look for the Jays to add to the depth this year.

To sum everything up look for the Jays to be busy on draft day with their plethora of picks early in the draft. They will be spending tons of cash at the draft to make sure that they have their guys locked up. Look for some of those harder to sign players to fall into the Jays hands and don’t be surprised if AA drafts them and gets them signed.