After years of focusing on college players, the Toronto Blue Jays draft efforts began focusing on higher-ceiling prep players in the last four years and put an emphasis on high school players in 2010. As a result a number of interesting names went unsigned due to college commitments and budget limitations. With many of the players now sophomores in college, let's see how these almost-Jays are doing.
Top Prospects that Got Away
1. Kris Bryant, 3B/1B, 2013 draft eligible
2. Logan Ehlers, LHP, 2012 draft eligible
3. Tyler Painton, LHP, 2012 draft eligible
4. Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, 2013 draft eligible
5. Mott Hyde, 2B, 2013 draft eligible
Logan Ehlers, LHP, Nebraska HS
Draft Round: 8th
School: Howard junior college
The top pick in the state of Nebraska in 2010, Ehlers headed off to the University of Nebraska with a bright future ahead of him. Things did not go as planned, though, and he left Nebraska after one year. He's now pitching very well at Howard junior college. Perfect Game has Ehlers ranked as one of the top draft-eligible junior college players in the 2012 draft.
Tyler Shreve, RHP, California HS
Draft Round: 10th
School: U of Utah
A top football recruit, Shreve had some... issues... and his scholarship to play quarterback at the University of Utah was revoked. As a result he was supposed to be headed to Riverside Community College for the 2012 baseball season but is not currently listed on the roster.
Omar Cotto, OF, Puerto Rico HS
Draft Round: 12th
School: U of Southern California
Cotto had a rough freshman season at USC by hitting just .073 in 36 games. Now a little-used bench player, the outfielder has received just 22 at-bats in 2012 and he may want to look for a junior college to play at and increase his value for the '13 season - when he'll again be eligible for the draft.
Tyler Painton, LHP, California HS
Draft Round: 13th
School: Bakersfield community college
Painton turned down a strong offer by the Jays, preferring to pitch at the University of San Diego. Unfortunately he suffered an injury in his freshman season and had a disagreement with the school over the rehab process. He is now pitching at Bakersfield CC where his father is the head coach. Perfect Game has him ranked 76th on the Top 100 junior college draft-eligible players for 2012.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Nevada HS
Draft Round: 18th
School: U San Diego
Bryant was another player that Toronto tried to keep away from a commitment to the University of San Diego but he was undeterred in his collegiate pursuit. He's developed his game even further by closing some of the holes in his swing and projects as a possible first round pick in the 2013 amateur draft. He's currently leading the club in batting average, home runs, RBIs, runs scored and walks.
Brando Tessar, RHP, California HS
Draft Round: 25th
School: U Oregon
Tessar had a solid freshman campaign for Oregon while pitching out of the bullpen. He's moved into the starting rotation as a sophomore and has made eight starts with decent results.
Luis Benitez, RHP, Puerto Rico
Draft Round: 31st
School: State College of Florida
Drafted as a pitcher, the organization had difficulties coming to terms with Benitez in part because he wanted to play everyday. Almost every scout, though, felt his future was on the mound thanks to his solid arm strength. He played both ways for his school in 2011 but hit just .232. So far in 2012 he's stuck to the mound but has an ERA over 7.00 and significant control issues.
David Whitehead, RHP, Ohio HS
Draft Round: 36th
Whitehead has been a swing man for Elon in 2012, pitching out of both the starting rotation and the bullpen. He's thrown a lot of innings for the club but he has more walks allowed than strikeouts.
Chad Green, RHP, Illinois HS
Draft Round: 37th
School: U Louisville
A two-sport standout in high school (baseball, basketball), Green showed a promising fastball but was considered quite raw. He's now pitching out of the Louisville bullpen and has 23 strikeouts in 16.2 innings of work. Unfortunately his control has a ways to go.
Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, California HS
Draft Round: 39th
Vander Tuig, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery when Toronto drafted him out of high school, has made eight starts for UCLA this season but he has an ERA of more than 5.00 and has given up a lot of hits.
Ronald Schreurs, LHP, Florida HS
Draft Round: 43rd
School: Broward CC
Pitching out of the starting rotation for Broward, Schreurs has more walks than strikeouts and an ERA of more than 6.00.
Mott Hyde, 2B, Georgia HS
Draft Round: 44th
School: Georgia Tech
Hyde is playing everyday for Georgia Tech but he's hitting right around .230 and has 30 strikeouts in 33 games played.
Phil Diedrick, OF, Ontario HS
Draft Round: 45th
School: Bossier Parish CC
Diedrick's decision to play at Bossier did not work out and he's now at Conners State community college.
Connor Smith, RHP, Ontario HS
Draft Round: 46th
School: Wagner University
Smith spent his freshman season in community college but transferred to division I Wagner for the 2012 season. Things have not gone as hoped, though, and his ERA sits above 13.00 in his first seven appearances.
Gabriel Romero, RHP, California HS
Draft Round: 47th
School: Golden West CC
Ricky's younger brother, an under-sized right-hander, is currently pitching at Golden West community college in California.
Nick Studer, C, Ontario HS
Draft Round: 48th
School: Skagit Valley JC
After spending 2011 at Western Texas junior college, Studer is now playing ball at Skagit Valley Junior College.
Kelly Norris-Jones, C, British Columbia HS
Draft Round: 50th
School: U Illinois
A red-shirt freshman at Illinois, Norris-Jones is struggling with the bat in 2012, hitting under .250.