Yes, the last thing many of you are probably thinking about is next June’s draft.
For Blue Jays fans, there was considerable excitement at Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin landing in Toronto’s lap with the 5th overall pick, but many are hopeful that it will be some time before the team selects in such a lofty position again. Nothing is official yet regarding next year’s draft order.
But with the Blue Jays set to play the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays 30 times, and then play 20 interleague games against the NL East, home of the Braves and World Series champs Nationals, finishing at .500 would be a massive accomplishment. Certainly, there is plenty of optimism about the team’s future, but there are just as many questions about its present. The Blue Jays have one of the best farm systems in the game, as evidenced by the talent it’s produced over the past two seasons, and while the team was likely going to take a huge step forward this year, a top 10 pick again next year is probably in the cards.
Baseball America and Fangraphs appear to agree, which is why BA has based its most recent 2021 1st round mock on Fangraphs’ projected 2021 standings. The Jays are projected to finish at 27-33, and while they won’t be picking as high as 5th in BA’s mock, they are still selecting 8th.
MLB has been allowed to send a limited number of scouts to showcase events since mid-June. It’s expected that fall college practices will have a heavier scouting presence than usual. The consensus top two picks are Vandy RHPs Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. When we get down to the 8th, BA has the Blue Jays selecting Sam Houston State OF Colton Cowser, described as a “pure hitter with a loose left-handed swing.” At 6’3″/185, Cowser has quick hands, gets the barrel out quickly, and uses the whole field, but his power is still developing. After a strong freshman season, Cowser played well for Team USA last summer.
Ordinarily, a strong summer league showing would help a prospect like Cowser solidify his draft, but such will not be the case this year. With his athleticism and up-the-middle profile, he fits Toronto’s past draft history.