FanPost

Nailing Down Jays Draft Targets and Related Draft Info

Reese McGuire of United States look on in the eighth inning during the U18 Baseball World Championship match between Japan and the United States at Mokdong stadium on September 7, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. - Chung Sung-Jun

With the draft less than three weeks away I've spent an... alarming(?) amount of time reading up on draft stuff, and wanting to get something productive out of it, I thought I'd put this together for those who haven't. In the first part, I'll go over what the group for the Jays looks like right now. In the second, I'll organize various links from the more credentialed sources for anyone wanting to do their own reading. The first part is essentially the cliff notes version of all the links in the second part as it relates to the Jays.

Part 1: Jays Targets

First, let's get some names out of the way. Barring something catastrophic, Appel, Gray, and Bryant are off the board before the Jays pick. Kohl Stewart and Colin Moran seem to have worked their way into that category and it sounds like Braden Shipley is on the fringes. That leaves an interesting group that might be available for the Jays at #10.

Group One:
Austin Meadows
Trey Ball
Reese McGuire

Group Two:
Clint Frazier
Sean Manaea
Ryne Stanek

The first three are the prospects the Jays have been linked to the most in the early going (and almost exclusively). Shockingly enough, they all happen to be high-upside prep players. Yeah, I can't believe it either.

Austin Meadows, OF (L/L), H.S., (6'3", 200)

Big, athletic, potential five tool player who is probably going to induce Patgasms regardless of who drafts him. He was seen as a possible first overall candidate coming into the year, but a not-so-great performance this spring, along with concerns over his effort and energy on the field, are causing him to slide. On tools alone he might be the highest upside prep player in the draft, and I think most fans would love it if the Jays got him. Especially Pat.

Trey Ball, LHP, H.S., (6'6", 180)

Tall, athletic, left hander with tons of projection left. He's already hitting 94 (sat high 80s/low 90s in his last start where he struck out 12, sat low 90s most of the year) and shows a feel for his secondaries. He's also a highly rated outfield prospect, but right now it sounds like most teams are looking at him as a starter.

Reese McGuire, C (L/R), H.S., (6'1", 190)

Plus arm strength and a great transfer add up to an 80 grade arm; Keith Law called him the best catch-and-throw prospect he's seen in years. His receiving behind the plate lags behind, but it sounds like he's shown improvement. The biggest question mark is what he's going to do with the bat. That profile might remind you of Austin Hedges coming into the 2011 draft, but it sounds like McGuire isn't the all-around defender Hedges was. That can hardly be considered criticism though.

The next three are essentially the top names not mentioned in the opening. College lefty Sean Manaea was a 1:1 candidate coming into the spring after he tore up the Cape Cod League and showed a plus-plus heater. Between injuries and a loss of stuff (the two obviously at least somewhat related) he's seen his stock fall considerably, culminating in an outing a couple weeks ago where he sat in the mid-80s. If Manaea convinces teams the guy they saw in the Cape last year was real, he's probably not around for the Jays at 10 with all the pitching starved teams ahead of them. If not, then the Jays probably aren't considering him too seriously. It's obviously a lot more complicated than that; the Jays could see it while other teams don't, but things don't sound great for Manaea right now.

Ryne Stanek is in a similar boat, except the concern with him is consistency and his delivery. It sounds like he has a better chance than Manaea at going in the top 10 right now because there seem to be less questions about his stuff, but again, that means there's a good chance he isn't available for the Jays at 10.

Then there's high school outfielder Clint Frazier. Going back to the KLaw well again, he called it the best batspeed he's ever seen on an amateur. You're swooning too, right? It sounds like the issue with Frazier is that he doesn't bring a ton of physicality to the table; a stark contrast to cross-town rival Austin Meadows. He's listed at 6'1, but Callis called him 5'9 on the Marginal Prospects podcast this week (which I would recommend checking out and will link to at the bottom). Still, along with the elite batspeed, he brings other tools in a solid throwing arm and good speed, but perhaps not good enough to stick in center. There seems to be a divide among evaluators on that last point.

One other name to watch

Prep outfielder Ryan Boldt was seen as a sure-fire first rounder and has been compared to the 10th overall pick in last year's draft, David Dahl, in some aspects. After suffering a minor knee injury in early April though, things look a little more murky. If the Jays are thinking about punting their picks in the middle rounds and taking overslot guys early again, he comes into play with their second selection. The issue here is that they don't pick again until 47, and with Houston (and other teams with larger bonus pools coveting high ceiling talent) ahead of them, there's a good chance he doesn't get to the Jays. He's still worth watching, though, as his (or another high-upside/overslot prospect's) availability might dictate what the Jays do in those middle rounds. It's hard to see them punting rounds 4-10 completely without all the extra picks they had last year in any case.

Part two: Draft Reading

Jim Callis/Baseball America (www.baseballamerica.com) – twitter.com/jimcallisba

Mock Draft (May 9)

Jim Callis Chat (May 9)

Top 100 Draft Prospects (May 10)

Jim Callis Chat (May 15)

There are certainly other writers at BA with great insight and there's a lot more on their website beyond this.

Kiley McDaniel (http://sbb.scout.com/) - twitter.com/kileymcd

Mock Draft (May 7)

Kiley McDaniel Chat (May 8)

Top 111 Draft Prospects (May 13)

Marginal Prospects Chat w/ Jim Callis (May 15)

Kiley McDaniel Chat (May 16)

Mark Anderson (www.baseballprospectnation.com) – twitter.com/prospectmark

Scouting Reports on Top Draft Prospects

Mark Anderson churned out a ton of draft reports last year, but this year he's been slowed with his new gig at BP and his own Tigers site. Still worth checking out for background info on the top players

Speaking of Baseball Prospectus, they've also made scouting reports for some players available to everyone.

Mark Appel

Jonathan Gray

Clint Frazier

Trey Ball

I imagine they'll keep doing this as the draft approaches, so it's worth checking out the site every few days.

And then there's obviously Keith Law. Unfortunately, most of his stuff is paywalled, but there's still a lot that can be gleaned via twitter (@keithlaw) and his chats (link to chat archive). From what I've read, he had the Jays taking Reese McGuire in his first mock.

Three weeks is almost an eternity in draft time and many things are bound to change between now and June 6th. The group for the Jays could look very different come draft week, but what's being written and said so far falls in line with their general draft philosophy. Hopefully people find this valuable and this gets some discussion going.

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