In the first part of my preview, I looked at the changes to how the draft works and how this would affect the Jays strategy that the Anthopoulos-led Jays have employed the last two years. In this second part, we'll look at some players the Jays could be looking at. Since other sites have profiled the bigger names (of interest: Giolito, Dahl, Cecchini, Eflin, Weickel, Smoral, Hensley, Trahan, Virant, Seager) extensively, let's look at some somewhat lesser known players that could fit the Jays' strategy.
Rio Ruiz, 6'2 3B (CA HS), LHB: Ruiz is out this year because of surgery to remove a blood clot in the neck area, but he's got a lot of potential both offensively and defensively. If he drops heavily, the Jays are one of the teams that could pounce on a guy who has the potential to become a star if he's healthy, as he was moving into mid-first round conversation before the operation in April. Baseball America: #98, Minor League Ball: #24, MLB Draft Guide: #42
Shane Watson, 6'4 RHP (CA HS): Perhaps it's because scouts have so many other talented players to look at in Southern California, but I haven't read a lot about Shane Watson. A 6'4 projectable pitcher who already has solid low-90s velocity should attract some attention from the Jays though. He has a solid breaking ball to go along with the heater as his second best pitch. Baseball America: #30, Minor League Ball: #35, MLB Draft Guide: #74
Alex Bregman, 6'0 2B (NM HS), RHB: While Baseball America lists him as a 2B and Perfect Game as C/SS, there's little doubt Bregman is a highly rated prospect. He lost two months with a broken finger and is firmly committed to Louisiana State University, so Perfect Game thinks teams will be hesitant to pick Bregman. Minor League Ball really likes him, as Bregman is number 29 on Matt Garrioch's board, while Baseball America has the guy at #121, MLB Draft Guide at #88.
Walker Buehler, 6'2 RHP (KY HS): Buehler is a projectable right-hander with a Vanderbilt commitment, who can already sit in the 91-94 mph range and has promising secondary pitches. Perfect Game thinks he'll most likely be signable away from Vandy in the supplemental round, where the Jays have three chances to snap him up, if he's not gone by then. Baseball America: #50, Minor League Ball: #145, MLB Draft Guide: #163
Lewis Brinson, 6'4 OF (FL HS), RHB: Scouting reports are pretty unanimous on Brinson: he's got loads of athleticism and potential, but he's very raw. Should have enough speed to stick in center field. The Jays like these kind of players enough to take a chance on them, although Brinson could easily be off the board by the time the Jays get to pick in the supplemental round. Baseball America: #52, Minor League Ball: #50, MLB Draft Guide: #36
Ty Buttrey, 6'6 RHP (NC HS): Tyler Buttrey is a tall right hander who can already hit (not sit) 94-95 with the possibility for more. There's little mention of the quality of his secondary pitches (though MLB Draft Guide seems to like them), but apparently he's big and strong, so Pat Tabler should be happy if Buttrey lands with the Jays. Baseball America: #38, Minor League Ball: #66, MLB Draft Guide: #63
Fernando Perez, 6'1 3B (JC): A junior college candidate! Fernando Perez has good power potential, arm strength, and the athletic ability to play third or the outfield. He graduated from his high school in december early to play junior college ball, with wooden bats. Baseball America: #113, Minor League Ball: #67, MLB Draft Guide: #184
Kyle Twomey, 6'3 LHP (CA HS): Twomey is a projectable lefty who has recently added velocity and now pitches in the 89-91 mph range, with good command of three pitches. Does that sound like anyone you know? Yes, Justin Nicolino is an indication the Jays like this type of pitcher. Baseball America: #62, Minor League Ball: #122, MLB Draft Guide: #57
Alec Rash, 6'5 RHP (IA HS): At 6'5 and still projectable, Rash's "electric" fastball that can hit 95 mph sounds good enough for a first rounder, especially since he shows potential with slider and changeup. Rash doesn't seem to be rated that highly however, so he could be nice pickup for the Jays in the supplemental or second round. Baseball America: #72, Minor League Ball: #123, MLB Draft Guide: #129
Fernelys Sanchez, 6'4 OF (NY HS), SHB: Sanchez is a very good athlete, he's the kind of high upside position player you expect the Jays to be after. The Northeast of the US is a region the Jays picked a lot of guys from last year, and an injury in March might mean Sanchez slips to a position where the Jays value him more than other teams. Look for this guy's name to appear in later rounds. Baseball America doesn't have him in their top 200, but Minor League Ball has him at #72, and MLB Draft Guide has him 170th.
Rhett Wiseman, 6'1 OF (MA HS), LHB: Another speedy outfielder from the Northeast, Wiseman is a guy who shows power potential but has an unorthodox swing and may struggle to make contact. From the same state as last year's first pick by the Jays: Tyler Beede, he also has the same college commitment: Vanderbilt. Baseball America: #136, Minor League Ball: #74, MLB Draft Guide: #51
Kieran Lovegrove, 6'4 RHP (CA): Another one in the category of projectable pitchers, Lovegrove already has low-90s velocity with suboptimal mechanics. Interestingly, Lovegrove is a native of South Africa and developed his love for baseball because of his father's cricket background. I'm not sure how that is relevant but there you go. Baseball America: #131, Minor League Ball: #116, MLB Draft Guide: #44
Nolan Gannon, 6'5 RHP (CA): I didn't want to leave any obvious picks in the projectable pitchers category out, so Gallon's on the list, too. Throws low-90s with a good curve as his main secondary. Not on Baseball America's top 200, but #104 on Minor League Ball and #165 at MLB Draft Guide.
Teddy Stankiewicz, 6'4 RHP (TX): Polish name, but does he get enough scrabble points to attract interest from the Jays? If not, his projectability and current velocity might, even if his secondaries aren't that good yet. Baseball America: #137, Minor League Ball: #101, MLB Draft Guide: #139.
There are, of course, many many more names that the Jays are taking a good look at, and it's really hard to predict who will fall into their laps. These are guys that fit well with previous Jays picks, but the Jays could show a very different strategy this year if they feel they've underrated certain abilities in the past.
We'll be back with a third preview once more mocks are out, so we can speculate a little more on how the draft will play out. In the meantime, feel free to give your opinions on who you think the Jays will or should select in the upcoming draft.