Friday, May 20, 2016

June Draft Update

   It's been a few weeks, so maybe now is a good time to take a look at the upcoming MLB June entry draft from a Blue Jays perspective.
   The consensus seems to be that this is a deep draft, especially in terms of high school arms.  The Blue Jays will be out of the running for potential impact pitchers like Florida's A.J. Puk, and high schoolers Jason Groome and Riley Pint.  There should be a decent field to choose from when Toronto's turn rolls around.

  With the 21st pick, I've tried to focus on players who have been ranked in or around that range in the draft.
   First, to update past players I've targeted:

Cal Quantrill RHP Stanford
   The Port Hope, ON native, and son of the former Major Leaguer and current Blue Jays minor league instructor would be a natural fit, and not just for his birthplace.
   Tall, lean, and athletic, he fits the profile of the type of pitcher the organization has made a habit of drafting over the past half dozen years.
   He also is 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery, of course, which has dropped him out of the top of the draft.  Quantrill has started throwing bullpen sessions, but has not faced live hitters yet, and may have to throw privately for teams prior to the draft if there's not enough time to get him into some game action, which is looking more and more like the case.  Just the same, Baseball America has suggested that he would be a good fit for the Jays.
   Quantrill comes with a huge risk factor, as well has potentially huge upside.

Kyle Funkhouser RHP Louisville
   Has dropped off the radar this year, and should no longer be viewed as a potential first round pick.

Forrest Whitley RHP Texas HS
   Whitley broke the thumb on his non-throwing hand early in the season, but that hasn't stopped him from climbing the rankings, likely into the teens.  There are signability concerns, but Whitley likely will not last until the Blue Jays turn.

William Benson, Georgia HS OF
   A so-so spring has dropped Benson's stock.  There have been more than a few Jason Heyward comps made, but despite his size and athleticism, questions have arisen about his bat.  Perfect Game had this to say about him:
Benson's lefthanded swing is almost unnaturally short and has a severe cutoff out front. That lack of extension will create issues with Benson in the future with both his power potential and his plate coverage if it can't be corrected. The bat speed and strength at contact are unmistakable, however.

  BA observed:
 Benson showed plus-plus raw power throughout the summer, though his ability to get to his power is still a question due to concerns that some scouts have about his hitting ability. Benson does not consistently use his lower half, forcing him to commit to swinging at pitches early. His bat path can be a bit steep, leading to a tendency to roll over pitches and hit them on the ground with topspin. 

And now some who have crept into the picture:

Joey Wentz, LHP Kansas HS
   Wentz played 1B on the travel team circuit last summer in order to rest his arm, but will likely be drafted as a pitcher.  The Jays have taken 8 high school pitchers with first or supplemental picks since 2010, so they have proven they are not afraid to gamble on a prep arm.  Wentz may be a tough sign, so the Jays may have to decide if their $2.3 million slot money will be enough to seal the deal with him. There is a ton of projection involved with Wentz.

   T.J Zuech, RHP Pittsburgh
   Zeuch missed the first month of the season, but built upon his successful Cape Cod League showing from the previous summer when he returned.  The Blue Jays were reportedly in attendance at a number of his games this spring.  He doesn't have as much projection as Wentz, but at 6'7" he checks a number of boxes Blue Jays scouts look for.

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