The day of the draft deadline has come, promising many presents for Jays fans in the form of new prospects. But it could also be a day of some disappointments, if the prospects fans wanted go to college and not into the Jays' system. A good number of exciting prospects has already been signed, with Joe Musgrove (1st round supplemental) even signing first out of all picks in the draft. Joe, a big right-handed pitcher, is already pitching for the Gulf Coast League team, starting off slowly but getting the hang of professional baseball in his last few outings. Also playing are these college picks: 11th round pick Andrew Burns (shortstop/third baseman for Vancouver), 18th round pick Jonathon Berti (second baseman for Vancouver) and 21st round pick Peter Mooney (shortstop for Bluefield). From the lower rounds, 25th round pick Eric Arce is mashing the ball: he's hitting .273/.446/.633. A 1B/DH type, he's not going to provide defensive value, but he may not need to. Also impressing is Jorge Vega-Rosado, who is hitting .303/.371/.445 as a middle infielder who was supposedly drafted for his defense.
Picks who have signed, but haven't started playing include supplemental first rounder Jacob Anderson (outfielder with big power potential), second rounder Jeremy Gabryszwski (RHP, under the radar) and 4th rounder Thomas Robson (RHP, young and from Canada). Very recently the Jays also signed supplemental first rounder Dwight Smith Jr. (outfielder, nice swing), third rounder John Stilson (first round talent with injury problems), sixth rounder Anthony DeSclafani (RHP with good stuff but unimpressive results for the University of Florida) and eighth rounder Mark Biggs (RHP who was injured for a good chunk of 2011). Patting myself on the back a bit, I find it pretty cool that in this article, I listed fifteen pitchers as hard to sign, and only one (Biggs) has signed so far. I listed 11 as reasonably signable, and 9 of them have already signed!
After the break, I'll repost my descriptions of the draft picks we've yet to sign, with updated info in italics. The Jays need to wrap up the signings before midnight (EST, as far as I know) if they want to get these players into their farm system.
Tyler Beede (21) - Our first round pick, Beede's story was that he'd sent out a letter asking not to be drafted and that he was going to Vanderbilt. There have been rumours that Beede and the Jays had a pre-draft agreement (those are illegal), with some suggesting they're now trying to make it look like negotiatons are tough to keep away a possible investigation by the MLB. Beede didn't attend the summer classes he signed up for, and I've hear Vanderbilt is pretty strict, so that's a good sign. Beede was ranked lower than his draft position by Baseball America (BA) and by DiamondScape Scouting (DSS) at 35 and 31 respectively. Beede was probably picked so high because he has three pitches with good potential, a good pitcher's build which could give him some added velocity as he matures, and his command. In short, he's pitching (almost?) like a college pitcher, but at a much younger age.
Kevin Comer (57) - Comer, another RHP, is a bit of a strange pick, as Perfect Game reports he missed most of the season and scouts were thinking Comer was definitely going to Vanderbilt. The Jays probably don't think so, since they picked him early. Still, Vanderbilt recruits are notoriously tough signs and all indicators point to Comer being no different. On twitter, however, Comer seems excited about the approaching deadline, which would not make sense if he wanted to go to Vanderbilt. Like Beede, Comer has easy velocity coming from a smooth delivery, with good command and good potential on his offspeed stuff, most of all his curveball. Comer was ranked #102 by BA, but #40 by DSS.
Daniel Norris (74) - After the Jays called a timeout in the second round, they selected Daniel Norris. Norris was ranked #16 by BA and #7 by DSS, so he's quite a steal here talentwise. Moneywise, not so much, as Norris was asking for almost $4 million. He's a lefty who already throws hard and commands his offspeed pitches, but some have reservations about his mechanics. If Norris does sign, Jays fans will be delighted with the investment. Norris had a physical in Florida, leading some to believe he will definitely sign, but it was more likely done ahead of negotiations, to save time on deadline day.
Andrew Chin (168) - One of the biggest surprise picks, and that's saying a lot, is Andrew Chin, who needs Tommy John surgery and is unlikely to pitch for the next 10-12 months. BA reported that Chin was a tough sign before the injury, so I listed him here. It's possible that the Jays can convince him to sign by giving him expert medical treatment. The Jays must have liked him a lot to take him here. DSS has Chin ranked at 283, and he's apparently a lefty who throws 86-90, touching 92, with decent offspeed offerings and good command. He's apparently friends with Tyler Beede! Keith Law said here that Chin wanted "an insane number" to forgo school. There have been no rumours regarding Chin.
Christian Lopes (228) - Lopes, projected to be a second baseman, is one who was formerly very highly ranked but didn't develop as much as expected. His best asset is his bat, he uses the whole field and projects to have average or a bit below average power. As someone who was in first-round discussion last year, the high school shortstop might come a bit pricey. Lopes was ranked 180th by BA and 160th by DSS. No rumours, but according to a tweet from Beede's father, Tyler Beede and Christian Lopes were watching the Area Code Games together.
Andrew Suarez (288) - Suarez (LHP, high school) is definitely a tough sign, as he was projected to go much higher than this. BA has him ranked #155, with DSS having him 169th. He's a lefty that easily hit 92 mph in 2009, but didn't live up to his projectability and is still pitching 88-92 mph. He does have good offspeed stuff that he can throw for strikes, so he's definitely got some real upside. Suarez is from a well scouted region in Florida. On twitter, Suarez seemed to be leaning towards going to college, though this might, of course, be posturing.
Aaron Garza (319) - Described as "ultraprojectable" by BA, the high school RHP does not have good stuff at the moment. BA also thinks he would be hard to sign away from the University of Houston, but this article indicates he'll probably sign. Garza is 6'4 but just 160 pounds, so it's easy to see why he's projected to add velocity as he matures. I've not seen any rumours flying around.
John Norwood (378) - Another Vanderbilt recruit to pair with Beede and Comer, Norwood is a center fielder whose best asset is his speed. He's expected to make decent contact but with below average power. As a Vanderbilt recruit there should be no hopes he comes cheap. I've got nothing on the chances of signing him.
Matt Dean (408) - Matt Dean can quite comfortably called the Jays' most exciting later round pick. Dean was ranked number 54 by BA and 56 by DSS, so the reason he has dropped so far has to be his money demands. He has a strong commitment to Texas University, which means the Jays will have to either spend big or consider this a lost pick. Dean is a shortstop now but projects as third baseman as he fills out, and he will probably have good power and decent contact abilities. Marc Hulet said on battersbox.ca that there's a rumour that Dean's already been signed. He's certainly been vocal on twitter and I would think there's a good chance he signs. He recently congratulated Mark Biggs with signing for the Jays.
Cole Wiper (438) - Wiper might not have quite match Dean in terms of draft rankings, but as BA's #192 and DSS' #110 he's obviously more expensive than your normal 14th round pick. Wiper, a right handed pitcher, has good offspeed stuff that he uses a lot, while his fastball is just 88-90 mph and pretty straight. I can't find anything on a commitment, but he's sure to have one and he's bound to be expensive. Is no news good news, or bad?
Cody Glenn (468) - Glenn doesn't have a BA writeup, but DSS ranked him 207th, and Perfect Game also has him in the 4th-10th round category as #39 prospect from Texas. He's both a LHP and a 1B, but seems to have been drafted as a pitcher. He has a 88-91 fastball and a "sweeping curveball". He seems to be committed to LSU, going by tweets from a LSU guy. Don't think he'll be signed easily. There's a headline on scout.com that indicated Glenn's expecting to pitch for LSU, but that could be "classical" posturing.
Richard Prigatano (499) - The Jays really weren't cheaping out in these rounds. Prigatano was ranked #196 by BA, although he wasn't on DSS' top 300. He was apparently generating some buzz this spring, with BA claiming he might have shot too far up draft boards to go to college. He has a Long Beach State commitment and plays first base, though he's seen as athletic enough to play the outfield. It should be no surprise that as a (current) 1st baseman, Prigatano's value comes with the stick. No news.
Luke Weaver (589) - Weaver is a projectable righty from Florida who pitches 88-92 mph, and throws strikes with both his changeup and breaking ball. As a good student committed to Florida State University, he may take some money to sign, but he's also somewhat of an under the radar guy, it seems (BA didn't have a writeup). No news.
Joel Seddon (619) - Seddon is a RHP rated top prospect in Michigan with a commitment to South Carolina, so he probably won't come too cheap. He's projectable, athletic, has a good curve and "has a good feel for pitching". He could also get a chance to hit at South Carolina, if he goes there, but BA thinks his future is on the mound. Seddon is on twitter. He's definitely not coming, he's only tweeting about USC.
Aaron Nola (679) - The Jays drafted another top 250 talent in Nola pretty late in the draft. BA notes he has a good changeup and throws strikes, but he's not overly tall at 6'0 and has had some injury problems. He'd love to join his brother Austin at LSU, but he's a player the Jays have now also drafted. Will the Jays sign both, or perhaps neither? In any case it'll take money to sign young Aaron away from LSU, as he has himself said in the linked article. The younger Nola is listed #163 by BA and number 224 by DSS. Aaron Nola seems to be going back to LSU along with his brother, according to this article.
K'Shawn Smith (709) - Hard to find anything about him, so I'll list him under unknown signability. He plays for the same JC as Cory Spangenberg. The reason I'm not assuming he's cheap just yet, like Vega-Rosado, is that he was called a "standout" and is mentioned on a lot more sites. There's just no details except for his meaningless rate stats. Couldn't find anything.
Jerrick Suiter (1069) - Suiter is seen as almost unsignable away from Texas Christian, and he plays multiple sports well. He's 6'4 and has reached 94 mph before, but hasn't been sharp this season. EDIT: here's a link to an article about him, explainig he'll be a "draft-and-follow" for the Jays. He was ranked 128th overall by DSS, but unranked by BA. Suiter's already at TCU, he's not signing.
Who do you think we'll sign? Let's share incoming rumours and news right here in this thread!