In the past few days, a couple new mock drafts have come out with a new 'sexy' pick emerging for the Blue Jays. North Carolina State shortstop Trea Turner has been mocked to Toronto at #9 in both the latest Baseball America and MLB.com drafts. A college middle infielder isn't exactly a prototypical Blue Jays draft pick, but it seems like the front office is quite interested in Turner:
Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos was on hand for Trea Turner’s fine Tuesday effort against North Carolina that included a long triple and a potential steal of home, when the Wolfpack shortstop was ruled out by a home-plate umpire who was finishing a showy called third-strike call and did not get a good look at the play.-Baseball America
The New York Mets (picking #10) are also rumoured to have some interest in the NC State shortstop so if the Blue Jays were to pick him, it would be with the #9 pick. In many other drafts, including the most recent one released by Keith Law, he's been picked by teams such as the Padres who pick at #13 just a few picks after the Blue Jays so he should be available when Toronto is on the clock.
The Florida native was picked in the 20th round coming out of high school and was offered a fair bit of cash by the Pirates, which he turned down to attend college. The 20-year-old is a right-handed hitting and throwing shortstop who stands only 6'1" and 170 lbs. Turner has speed to burn, which resulted in a crazy 57 stolen bases in his freshman year. ESPN already rates his running speed at an '80' on the '20-80' scale and is something that will always be in the 'plus' column for him.
His defence is also considered one of his main strengths as there's very little doubt that he will stick at shortstop in pro ball. His massive speed allows him to get to all sorts of balls hit his way and he has the arm to finish the plays off.
In the video below you can see Turner show off both his speed and arm for NC State:
His hitting is probably considered the part of his game that currently lags behind, but it's far from being a weakness. His swing can get a little sketchy at times, as ESPN notes:
...he does have a considerable amount of drift in his swing and his hands can fall behind as well.
His approach at the plate is quite good and he rarely gets fooled, backed up by his 11.6 K% this season for NC State. The problem is that the swing doesn't feature a lot of power and he's a pretty small guy so there probably won't be a ton of home runs in his future, although he hit eight this past season. Most people seem to think he'll have good gap power, which will be even more punishing thanks to his blazing speed. You can see how his swing looks (for better of for worse) in the next couple videos:
It seems that Trea Turner has an okay chance of going to the Blue Jays at #9 if the team think that he will hit enough in pro ball to be able to support his great defensive play. Fellow Phillies SBN blog The Good Phight thinks Turner reminds them of Jose Reyes, which is probably fair, although I was thinking maybe Alcides Escobar. Personally, I'd be pretty surprised with the team taking Turner as he'd be the highest position player taken by the team in decades and the first college shortstop taken since the legend that is Aaron Hill was taken #13 in 2003 (those would be some big shoes to fill). I'll leave with you a reminder of what Trea Turner will bring to the team that drafts him: