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Who Are Ya: Phil Bickford (#10 pick)

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All the draft pictures to choose from include Selig. Sigh.
All the draft pictures to choose from include Selig. Sigh.
Mike Stobe

So the Blue Jays passed on Nevada right hander Braden Shipley and catcher Reese McGuire to take high upside high school arm Phil Bickford with their first pick, #10 overall, in the 2013 MLB draft. Bickford is a 17-year-old right handed pitcher from California who is graduating from Oaks Christian High School. He stands 6'4" and weighs in at 200 pounds with a fairly projectable frame who is committed to Cal State Fullerton.

Phil Bickford has one quality pitch at this point, which is his lightning-quick fastball that sits mid to high-90's and can be consistently thrown for strikes. Unfortunately, right now Bickford doesn't have anything that resembles a solid secondary pitch. His slider is likely his second best pitch because of the ESPN Scouts Inc. has this to say about his off-speed offerings:

...his curveball is well below-average, lacking depth and easily visible out of his hand, while his slider is flat thanks to his low three-quarters arm slot"

On a conference call with media, Blue Jays director of amateur scouting Brian Parker said:

We lined up our board and when it came to our 10th pick he was our top guy. We thought he would be there and this is one of the guys we targeted. When our pick rolled around this was the top guy so we were very excited he was still sitting there.

Here's a couple videos of the newest Blue Jay (hopefully). In this one he throws his fastball essentially exclusively showing great movement and arm side fade:

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YA3ulXC8MjI?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The Blue Jays were in love with his arm and favoured the high ceiling over the more refined Braden Shipley:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Brian Parker on Bickford: "We feel has has one of the best fastballs, high school or college, in the draft. ... It's a high ceiling arm."</p>&mdash; Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShiDavidi/status/342798205106393089">June 7, 2013</a></blockquote>

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In this video Bickford throws his slider almost half the time and you can see how his low arm slot definitely robs him of a lot of depth (compared to someone like Marcus Stroman):

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/m0ExxVwl6kY?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Here's one more quick video:

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/P3Jn3i8L-DU?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Plus some more Jays raving:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Parker on Bickford: "he’s tall, he’s athletic, young with a good arm, it’s a high ceiling arm, just the type of guy we’re looking for"</p>&mdash; Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShiDavidi/status/342801252796751872">June 7, 2013</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Parker: "We looked into it, we've checked into this kid's background,we've looked into him and we're confident we can get this guy signed."</p>&mdash; Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) <a href="https://twitter.com/gregorMLB/status/342803891009777664">June 7, 2013</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Parker on taking tall Ps: "I think it's something we look for...athleticism is something we focus on with pitchers, especially HS kids."</p>&mdash; Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) <a href="https://twitter.com/gregorMLB/status/342806134006099969">June 7, 2013</a></blockquote>

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Plus a draft day "Find the Link"!:

Find the link between Phil Bickford and the Blue Jays pitcher who said "It’s my career, man. Enough with the mechanical stuff."

Welcome to the team Phil!