By Mason McRae
With fifteen Blue Jays games remaining, it’s safe to say that the Jays will be selecting fifth overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. They currently sit two games behind the Royals for the fourth overall pick and three and a half games ahead of the Mariners, who sit with the sixth overall pick. It’s definitely possible to see a jump to the fourth overall pick – which would be glorious, but it’s almost a guarantee that the Jays will have the fifth pick. So let’s pretend that the draft was today, and take a look at what a potential blueprint would look like for the Blue Jays 2020 draft.
Now, I think everybody in the draft world can agree that you should take the best player on your board in the first round. Why? Compared to most drafts, the MLB is one that takes the longest development to nurture prospects into big leaguers, so reaching for a player on your board because it’s a need is foolish given that in four years when he’s ready – you have zero clue what positions will be needed. Take the best player available and move on. In this scenario though, we’ll factor in system needs because of the volume of the fifth overall pick.
The hope is for the Jays to have Dylan Crews slide to them at five, and to be frank – there’s a shot. Crews is my No. 3 player in the class, but Mick Abel, Austin Hendrick, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and Cole Wilcox could all go before the Jays’ pick. Now like I said, Crews would be a slam dunk selection – the problem is if he slips through the cracks, those cracks being KC and Miami’s picks.
If Crews isn’t there, which is more likely to be the case than not, the next man has got to be Mick Abel, the best prep arm in the class. Now that title is up for debate, some will take Jared Kelley. But I’m taking Abel, a dream build for a top of the rotation arm standing at 6’6 and weighing 185. He’s got some muscle to grow, which means he has a really good shot at even more velocity added. As if he needs any velo added to his fastball sitting in the 94-96 range. The best part, his fastball might not even be his best pitch. Abel has a borderline plus CB with some advanced spin and command. His arm is fluent and whippy and he’s exactly what the Jays need in their system, a high upside arm that projects as a top of the rotation starter.
Abel and Crews being taken at three and four is still a strong possibility, now that would hurt badly. But luckily the difference between the best OF in the class and the second best isn’t significant. If Crews is gone, you take your choice of Pete Crow-Armstrong or Austin Hendrick. They’re black and white when it comes to gamestyles, Hendrick is a COF with raw power, and swing and miss concerns – while Pete is an elite CF with plus speed and an advanced hit tool. Who gets the edge? If you’ve seen Hendricks take BP, you probably want him. But if you want a five-tool player that changes the game at every facet. You take Pete, if it’s my call. You take Pete Crow-Armstrong and watch your centre fielder of the future for the next decade – develop and nurture into a Kevin Kiermaier defender with an Adam Jones bat.
Now if you want to look outside the box, consider Drew Romo, an elite defender at catcher with 50 everything hitting wise could be an interesting selection because of his value at the most important position (not including Pitchers). A player some Jays fans will want is Blaze Jordan, who has the second-best power tool in the class and arguably the best bat this year from the HS Ranks. The problem: He’s a R/R 1B with a fringe shot at playing third, he’s young for the class and has gotten plenty of social media attention. Yes he’s a scary good bat, but he lacks flexibility on defense and that doesn’t warrant a spot in the top-five.
Now with all of these names being brought up, who would you want at Pick Five if the draft was today? Me personally, obviously Dylan Crews. But realistically – Drew Romo is the guy I want.