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A Look at the Draft

This year's installment of the amateur entry draft is set to take place today. The Blue Jays hold the 14th overall pick, which is not a particularly great position in which to draft but one that could yield a supreme talent, to be sure. The organization's last three first round picks were left-handed pitchers out of college - Ricky Romero, David Purcey, and Zack Jackson. Though oddly enough, in a draft mostly composed of pitching talent, the Blue Jays are projected to draft a hitter. The farm system boasts very few well-regarded hitting prospects, and only Adam Lind has received much recognition in the past. If the team were to draft based on need -- not an unlikely scenario considering their mid-round draft position -- a middle-infield position player or an outfielder would make the most sense. Let's see what certain experts projected...

Jim Callis from Baseball America projected the first fifteen picks of the draft:

  1. Royals: Andrew Miller, lhp, North Carolina
  2. Rockies: Evan Longoria, 3b, Long Beach State
  3. Devil Rays: Brad Lincoln, rhp, Houston
  4. Pirates: Greg Reynolds, rhp, Stanford
  5. Mariners: Brandon Morrow, rhp, California
  6. Tigers: Luke Hochevar, rhp, Fort Worth Cats
  7. Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, lhp, HS/Dallas
  8. Reds: Drew Stubbs, of, Texas
  9. Orioles: Billy Rowell, 3b, HS/Sewell, N.J
  10. Giants: Chris Parmelee, of/1b, HS/Chino Hills, California
  11. Diamondbacks: Max Scherzer, rhp, Missouri
  12. Rangers: Kyle Drabek, rhp/ss, HS/The Woodlands, Texas
  13. Cubs: Chris Marrero, 3b, HS/Miami
  14. Blue Jays: Travis Snider, of/1b, Everett, Washington
  15. Washington: Tim Lincecum, rhp, Washington
What immediately leaps off the computer screen is that Lincecum lasted until the 15th pick. Despite his odd delivery and his small size and stature, he possesses a great fastball and perhaps the best curveball in the draft. Moreover, if he lasted until the 14th pick, it's highly unlikely that the Blue Jays would pass up on him. In fact, he could probably join the team's bullpen right now and pitch better than everyone save B.J. Ryan and Justin Speier.

The draft on the whole is difficult to project. Although Miller will probably be the first player chosen, Lincoln and Hochevar have also been linked to the Royals.

If Drabek were to fall to the Blue Jays, as has been suggested by some sources, he should be certainly be considered by the Blue Jays. His problem has mostly been related to makeup rather. He grew up in a rich family, the son of former Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, and some have branded him as spoiled and wreckless. Keith Law, in his first article since joining's writing staff, wrote the following about Drabek:

But the knocks on Drabek are substantial, from reports calling him "spoiled" to a history of off-field incidents, including a public intoxication charge that was dismissed and a one-car accident in which he rammed his SUV into a tree. Were it not for makeup concerns that have the names Jeff Allison and Josh Hamilton on some people's lips, Drabek would probably go in the top five picks, perhaps as the top pick overall, but one scouting director with whom I spoke called Drabek "the wild card" -- no one knows where he'll go.

Pistol from Batter's Box partook in John Sickels' minor league mock draft. He, like Callis, took Snider with the 14th pick. Snider's defense has been called into question, and it's entirely possible that he'll play in left field or at first base upon joining the majors. Both of those positions, of course, are at the lower end of the defensive spectrum, so he'd have to provide most of his value with his hitting. As of now, he's projected as the best high school hitter in the draft, while possessing enough power to hit home runs at a high rate.

John Sickels posted his personal draft board, which features Snider at 18 and Matt Antonelli, who's also been linked to the Blue Jays, at 19. Sickels has been posting a bunch of draft-related material in the past week, having averaged several posts a day. It's a must read for anyone interested in the draft.

After the first round, the Blue Jays will have to wait and wait...and wait. Due to all their free agent signings this past offseason, the they lost their some of their picks as compensation to other teams. As a result, after they select at 14, their next selection will take place in the fourth round, 120th overall. It's anyone's call as to who will be chosen in that slot, since the selection will be highly influenced by which players will still be available at the time.

It will be very interesting to see the organization's approach to this draft. Of course, J.P. Ricciardi has been a long-time advocate of drafting college players, but it's not unlikely that he'll go the high school route this time around. In fact, depending on who's available, it could very well be the best course of action.

Update [2006-6-6 8:20:29 by Alpheus Chan]:

Andrew Miller was the consensus #1 pick and was projected to go to the Royals even late last evening. Some late developments have shifted the nature of the drafts and the experts have changed their draft prediction. Apparently, Luke Hochevar has agreed on a deal with the Royals and will be drafted 1st overall. Here are Jim Callis' revised first 15 picks

  1. Royals: Luke Hochevar, rhp, Fort Worth Cats
  2. Rockies: Greg Reynolds, rhp, Stanford
  3. Devil Rays: Brad Lincoln, rhp, Houston
  4. Pirates: Evan Longoria, 3b/2b, Long Beach State
  5. Mariners: Brandon Morrow, rhp, California
  6. Tigers: Clayton Kershaw, lhp, HS/Dallas
  7. Dodgers: Kyle Drabek, rhp, HS/The Woodlands, Texas
  8. Reds: Drew Stubbs, of, Texas
  9. Orioles: Billy Rowell, 3b, HS/Sewell, N.J
  10. Giants: Daniel Bard, rhp, North Carolina
  11. Diamondbacks: Andrew Miller, lhp, North Carolina
  12. Rangers: Tim Lincecum, rhp, Washington
  13. Cubs: Stephen King, ss, HS/Orlando
  14. Blue Jays: Travis Snider, of/1b, Everett, Washington
  15. Washington: Chris Parmelee, of/1b, HS/Chino Hills, California

The most notable change is Andrew Miller sliding all the way from #1 to #11, mainly due to signability issue. Miller is said to demand in the neighbourhood of 7-8 million dollars in signing bonus.

From the looks of the draft shaping up, the Jays, if they were to choose a position player, will likely draft Travis Snider. But if one of the top-tier College Pitchers like Andrew Miller, Tim Lincecum or Greg Reynolds fall as far as #14, J.P. may be more inclined to draft one of them instead. Personally, I agree with Mark that if Tim Lincecum falls to #14, the Jays should jump on him like a fat kid on a donut. Despite the durability concerns (what pitcher drafted do not have durability concerns), Lincecum has great stuff (maybe the best in the draft) and can make an impact as early as this summer.

For now, I will impatiently await the start of the draft. I hope many of you will do the same. There will be live video coverage of the draft at