The talking is almost all but over. With the MLB draft just hours away, soon everyone will be opining about players they’ve never seen before.
While this draft will be historic because of Covid-19 implications, it may also turn out to be one of the best crops of amateur talent in some time. With the Blue Jays having the fifth over all pick, their highest in over two decades, it seems likely that they have a chance to land at least a future first division player.
From past drafts, we’ve seen the Blue Jays show some definite preferences for college arms, up-the-middle guys, players with bloodlines, and guys whose draft stock fell for one reason or another. Several sources have said that if everything lines up, Toronto will select the top prep player in the pool, Florida HS OF Zac Veen, if he’s still there when time comes for the fifth pick. The next best bet appears to be Minnesota RHP Max Meyer.
What if neither Veen nor Meyer are gone when it’s time for the Blue Jays to make their first pick? A rumour making the rounds yesterday is that a team with a top 10 pick is willing to punt that pick in order to use the savings to go over slot in the following rounds. That team won’t be Toronto. This is Shane Farrell’s first draft, and he’ll be looking to make an impact with his first selection. Plus, there’s just too much talent in that top 10 to do such a thing.
What will the Blue Jays do in the remaining rounds of what promises to be a college heavy draft? They likely will follow the trend, taking mostly college players with several of their remaining four choices, if past history is any indication. Athleticism and upside will be the order of the day – risk will be there, but in manageable doses. The graduation of a number of top players from its system over the last 18 months has dropped it in terms of ranking somewhat, but this draft represents a real chance to restock in a hurry.
The real fun may come after the draft, when teams make a flurry of $20K offers (the most allowed under this year’s rules) to players not selected. The Blue Jays figure to be right in the thick of things, and it may be as interesting to watch developments in the days after the draft than the actual draft days will be. Many college juniors and high schoolers will reject those offers, hoping to improve their bonus prospects next year, in what may be another deep class.