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MLB Draft 2015 Preview: High School Edition

The MLB Draft is coming close, with only one night’s sleep standing between us and draft day. Today we look at a Blue Jays’ favourite: high school draft prospects.

The podium will have significantly less Selig this year.
The podium will have significantly less Selig this year.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Predicting which high school players are most likely to be picked up by the Blue Jays is a difficult affair. Not only are there tons of high school players who show the kind of ability the Blue Jays would be interested in, the Blue Jays are also one of the teams most likely to pick players that seem to come out of nowhere (Noah Syndergaard, for example). But they also sometimes pick up players that were highly rated, yet dropped for some reason (Marcus Stroman, Sean Reid-Foley). The best way to inform you on the potential Blue Jays picks seems to be to cover a lot of them, without going too much into detail.

I've taken the rankings of MLB.com, Perfect Game and Baseball America and sorted the high school players by average rank. Since Brendan Rodgers, Kyle Tucker and Dazmon Cameron are very unlikely to make it out of the top 10, we'll skip them and start with the other highly ranked high schoolers, starting with the position players:

---Hitters---

Name: Trenton Clark, OF
Average rank: 13
Pros: makes solid contact, speedy and has power in his body
Cons: some think he might not be a center fielder, some think he may not hit for much power due to wacky/slappy swing

Name: Garrett Whitley, OF
Average rank: 14
Pros: speedy centerfielder with power and patience
Cons: there are questions about his ability to make contact

Name: Tyler Stephenson, C
Average rank: 16
Pros: good defensive catcher, massive power potential
Cons: like Whitley, the main issue will be his ability to make contact

Name: Nick Plummer, OF
Average rank: 21
Pros: offers possibly the best combination of contact skills, power and patience at the plate
Cons: might not have the speed for center, nor the arm for right field, faced mostly weak competition

Name: Cornelius Randolph, 3B
Average rank: 23
Pros: combines power and contact ability at the plate with arm strength in the field
Cons:almost definitely not a shortstop, so his defensive value could become a question mark as he matures

Name: Chris Betts, C
Average rank: 24
Pros: powerful left-handed bat, good arm strength behind the plate
Cons: big guy, maybe not athletic enough to stay at catcher long-term

Name: Eric Jenkins, OF
Average rank: 41
Pros: very quick, should stick in center field, has some bat speed as well
Cons: below-average arm, might never hit for power

---Pitchers---

Name: Kolby Allard, LHP
Average rank: 14
Pros: hard fastball that can get into the mid-nineties combined with a sharp curveball
Cons: hasn't thrown much due to a back injury

Name: Mike Nikorak, RHP
Average rank: 15
Pros: easy velocity (up to 97) with some projection left, very promising curve
Cons: will need to become more pitcher than thrower

Name: Ashe Russell, RHP
Average rank: 17
Pros: hard fastball (93-95 mph) combined with big slider
Cons: low arm slot, not the best delivery

Name: Donny Everett, RHP
Average rank: 24
Pros: probably has the hardest fastball among prep pitchers this class
Cons: hasn't shown the greatest secondary pitches, no projection left

Name: Beau Burrows, RHP
Average rank: 32
Pros: another hard fastball, commands it better than similar hard throwers
Cons: ugly arm action, small frame, inconsistent secondary pitches

Name: Justin Hooper, LHP
Average rank: 35
Pros: 6'7 lefty with big time velocity, promising changeup and slider
Cons: very ugly delivery, command issues, reported to have very high bonus demands

Name: Dakota Chalmers, RHP
Average rank: 36
Pros: two good breaking balls, decent low-90s fastball with potential for more
Cons: ugly (high back elbow) delivery

---Thoughts---

Personally, I would hope Nick Plummer, or even Mike Nikorak (unlikely), falls to number 29. Jim Callis of MLB.com has Plummer going to the Jays in his latest mock draft. If that doesn't happen, perhaps it'll be outfielder Eric Jenkins, who keeps getting linked to the Blue Jays by various analysts (but especially Keith Law). Don't count out Dakota Chalmers, though, as he seems pretty similar to Reid-Foley, although 29 may be too high for him and 56 perhaps too low to snap him up.

These are of course but a fraction of the total amount of high school talent available in the draft, so I will do my best to bring you an even wider selection of high school players tomorrow, on draft day. Are you excited yet?