Amateur scouts representing all MLB teams have been involved in meetings for the past few weeks in preparation for the June draft, and the Blue Jays are no exception.
With the 12th overall pick, the Blue Jays have a chance to land a player who could have an impact on the team in three to five years.
There is a Blue Jays connection with the player ranked the top draft prospect in RHP
Brady Singer, who the team took in the 2nd round of 2015. The Florida high schooler opted to go the collegiate route, and as a consolation prize, they landed Bo Bichette with the comp pick the following year.
RHP Ethan Hankins had a strong showing with Team USA in the World U18s at Thunder Bay last year, and is a solid #2 – he may even become the first prep righty ever taken first overall.
Between now and June, of course, players will move up and down the Blue Jays draft board, but here are some names that are ranked in the neighbourhood of Toronto’s first round pick:
- OF Tristan Pompey Kentucky
The younger brother of the Blue Jays’ own Dalton has seen his stock rise considerably since first suiting up for the Wildcats three seasons ago. The Mississauga native is currently ranked 21st by Baseball America. And a report by veteran scout Ted Lekas of 2080baseball. com offered a glowing, toolsy assessment after watching Pompey in the Cape Cod League last summer:
Well-proportioned, athletic body with width to his shoulder and hips; five-tool player; open stance that closes at contact; quick bat; plus bat speed with a good trigger, gets bat through the hitting zone with quick hands and wrists; feel for the barrel; strength, loft and leverage to his swing; plus power potential; above-average runner out of the box and double-plus runner underway with good running stride; plus defensive actions seen in right field with good routes, jumps, and reads; plus range, glides to the ball; above-average arm with good carry; potential first-round tools for the 2018 MLB Draft who should hold down center field for the Wildcats; should be one of the top players in the SEC.
Given his current ranking, it would be a bit of a reach for the Blue Jays take him, but he does fit the profile of a high makeup, athletic, polished college player that they have shown a preference for in the early rounds. A pre-season All -American, a good spring could raise his profile considerably.
2. LHP Ryan Rolison Mississippi
If Pompey fits the Blue Jays’ bill for a first round pick, Rolison matches up with it even better. A draft-eligible sophomore, Rollison was ranked the 3rd-best prospect in the Cape League last summer (Pompey was 6th). Teddy Cahill of BA gave this evaluation:
Rolison combines good size–a listed 6-foot-3, 200 pounds–with premium stuff from the left side. His fastball sits 91-94 mph, and he pairs it with a wipeout curveball. Both pitches generate swings and misses, and he also mixes in a useful changeup and slider. He fills up the strike zone and had success pitching inside to righthanded batters. Rolison will be a draft-eligible sophomore in next year’s draft and is on track to be the first first-rounder from Ole Miss since Drew Pomeranz was picked fifth overall in 2010.
3. RHP Logan Gilbert, Stetson
Gilbert was the Cape’s 4th best prospect, who features premium velocity from a loose, easy delivery. At 6’5″/195, he gets good downward movement on his pitches, and has considerable projection remaining. MLB Pipeline’s report:
Gilbert is coming into his own, with room to grow into his prototypical pitcher’s body. He’ll throw his fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s, touching 97 mph. He has the chance to have at least three above-average to plus pitches, as his newer slider and changeup both have the chance to be outstanding offerings, while the curve might be a touch behind. A position player in high school, Gilbert is a solid athlete who fields his position and repeats his delivery well, which should lead to solid command.
There are several high school players ranked around the 12 spot – Wisconsin high school OF Jarred Kelenic gets the nod on MLB Pipeline, while BA has Florida prep SS Nander De Sedas. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the Blue Jays could select one of these two, but recent history (a total of 3 prep picks in the first 10 rounds over the past two years) suggests a college player is more likely.