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MLB Draft 2015: Previous Anthopoulos Drafts

The yearly MLB First Year Player Draft is getting close very quickly. To start previewing it, we'll go over the previous drafts during Anthopoulos' reign as General Manager.

Noah Syndergaard was drafted in 2010, Anthopoulos' first draft as GM
Noah Syndergaard was drafted in 2010, Anthopoulos' first draft as GM
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays drafting before 2010

The Blue Jays' drafts pre-Anthopoulos can be described quite succinctly: they were terrible. The only noteworthy names from the four drafts in the 2006-2009 period are Brett Cecil, Drew Hutchison, Jake Marisnick, Travis Snider and Ricky Romero. I guess you can count J.P. Arencibia as well, if you go with playing time over quality of play. The last draft from the Ricciardi era would go even worse, at least in the eyes of the public, than previous drafts as three of his picks in the first three rounds would fail to sign. This did, however, give new general manager Alex Anthopoulos plenty of extra compensation picks to make a real impact in his first MLB Draft.

MLB Draft 2010

The first draft pick of the Anthopoulos-led Blue Jays was Deck McGuire, a supposedly "safe" college arm who would be decent but not great. As it turns out, the "not great" part was much more true than the "decent" part, unless you're looking for a decent double-A pitcher with the 11th overall pick of the draft. As it turns out, the Jays did draft some intriguing players in Aaron Sanchez (34th overall), Noah Syndergaard (38th), Justin Nicolino (2nd round), Sam Dyson (4th round) and Dalton Pompey (16th round). Alex Anthopoulos and his staff showed a strong preference for high school pitchers, a preference that would continue to show up in later drafts.

MLB Draft 2011

"To heck with safe picks, I'm going full YOLO" is something Alex Antopoulos might as well have said on the eve of the 2011 draft. Many players, mostly pitchers, of the "hard to sign" variety were picked. One of the was Tyler Beede, who did not sign, another was Daniel Norris (of whom you all know the story) and a third was Kevin Comer, who did sign but was quickly shipped off to Houston when it turned out he wasn't as good as the Jays had thought. Dwight Smith Jr. (supplemental first round) and Anthony deSclafani (6th round) would be seen as the value picks in this draft, if it weren't for living legend Kevin Pillar, who was drafted as a 32nd round afterthought.

MLB Draft 2012

In the last year of drafts with lots of extra picks, Anthopoulos once again took a lot of risks on injured players, and a player who wanted to play football more than baseball. I am of course talking about Anthony Alford, who recently committed to playing baseball full time. Ironically, the one college player the Jays targeted, Marcus Stroman, ended up as the big success story from this draft (all other picks have struggled either with performance or health issues). If they can stay healthy, left-handed Ryan Borucki and Matt Smoral could end up as very good picks, but that's a big if. 2012 was also the year the Jays baffled analysts by picking unknown college players and giving them cheese doodles for signing bonuses in rounds 4-10.

MLB Draft 2013

Once again the rare college draftee, 6th rounder Matt Boyd in this case, has been one of the most promising players to come out of the 2013 draft. Of course the bigger headline of the 2013 draft was that the Blue Jays failed to sign Phil Bickford, who will give the draft another shot this year after switching to a junior college from Cal State Fullerton. With 2nd rounder Clinton Hollon missing all of 2014 after Tommy John surgery, the future of the 2013 draft class looks kind of bleak. Perhaps Rowdy Tellez (30th round bonus baby) can save this draft class, as it is mostly an uninspiring one so far.

MLB Draft 2014

The most recent draft came with two very high selections, and in a surprise turn of events, neither of the two picks turned out to be a high school player. Jeff Hoffman did of course fit the Blue Jays strategy perfectly, as he had dropped out of the discussion for first overall pick because of Tommy John surgery. Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost was a much more radical departure from previous years, as the Jays almost never picked up highly rated college hitters. Sean Reid-Foley was surprisingly still available in the second round, in a perfect spot to satisfy AA's cravings for high school hurlers. Unlike in previous drafts, no high schoolers were signed in the later rounds, leaving the Jays with a much more college-focused draft class.

Overall results

It's difficult to judge baseball drafts as the players take so long to reach their potential, especially those of the high school variety that the Blue Jays seem to love. With the success of Marcus Stroman, Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis (college player, even if he wasn't drafted by the Jays), perhaps the Jays will look less to extremely risky high school players with great upside and more to valuable college performers. The strategy of drafting injured high school pitchers does not seem to have worked out well so far. Nevertheless, the Jays have gotten some intriguing players into their system and the increased scouting staff does seem to have been beneficial in increasing the quality of drafting after the disappointing Ricciardi-era drafts.