There's been a lot of speculation leading up to this day, and there's going to be more speculation to come in the next seven hours. However, very few of it will be Blue Jays-related, as the Blue Jays only pick at the 29th spot and there are gazillions of different scenarios that could dictate what ends up happening in that lower portion of the first round. The way teams set up for the draft (with a draft board that ranks all available talent), it's not possible to say that "team X is definitely going to pick player Y". Just because the Blue Jays have a high opinion on a certain player doesn't mean that another team doesn't value that player even more highly. In short, there will be few Jays-related rumours compared to other teams, and the ones we'll hear will be highly speculative.
It is only natural for draft analysts to focus on the top of the draft rather than the bottom half of the first round. Luckily though, their mock drafts have included speculation on the 29th pick, since no-one likes an incomplete mock draft. A name that keeps coming up at the 29th pick is that of Eric Jenkins, the speedy high school outfielder, and that is the case again in MLB.com's latest mock, at least the one done by Jonathan Mayo. Jim Callis, in the same mock, has the Blue Jays taking high school pitcher Donny Everett, a big guy with a big fastball. Callis also feels the Jays could go for hard-hitting outfielder Nick Plummer if all their pitching targets are gone. Baseball America's John Manuel goes for the common theory, which is that the Jays will take Jenkins, but mentions high-school right-hander Brady Singer as another option. Singer is a projectable pitcher who throws in the low-90s but has a worrisome arm slot and delivery.
If it were up to me (it's probably good that it isn't), I would much prefer a guy like Nolan Watson, who also throws fairly hard but with a much better delivery, which allows him to throw strikes more easily. Another pitcher I like is Nick Neidert, another low-90s right-hander who was probably one of the best strikethrowers in this year's HS pitching class before he had his season cut short with elbow tendinitis. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on the name of Mike Soroka as well, one of the many solid Canadian prospects MjwW covered here. 6'5 right-hander Jake Woodford and 6'8 lefty Bryan Hudson fit the Jays mould of "big and projectable", so those are names to watch as well.
More interesting names to watch do include, of course, those of injured pitchers Brady Aiken, Michael Matuella and Nate Kirby. But also Jacob Nix, a victim of the failed Brady Aiken deal and probably a solid option at #29. I'm also interested in seeing where Phil Bickford goes, after it was revealed he tested positive for marijuana. The story of Thomas Eshelman is also one worth following, though for more positive reasons. Eshelman has dominated college ball pitching mostly in the high-80s with his fastball. Long thought to not be much of a prospect, Eshelman has now propelled himself into the conversation of possible surprise first-round picks. Which team will dismiss the usual scouting "wisdom" of drafting hard throwing right-handers and draft the elite command of Thomas Eshelman? It doesn't seem like a very Blue Jays thing to do, unfortunately.
Another interesting one is Division II pitcher Josh Staumont of Azusa Pacific, who features on of the easiest and hardest thrown fastballs, but whose command has been severly lacking. Who gambles on his upside? Speaking of gambles, Kep Brown had one of the most promising bats among high schooler, but barely played this season due to injury, while John Aiello was one of the more highly rated infielders in the class before he needed Tommy John after a rare pitching appearance that he likely regrets right now. Last but not least there's outfielder D.J. Stewart, a left fielder built like a first baseman, but one who has really swung the bat for Florida State the past few seasons, and he seems to have really divided analysts as to how highly rated he should be.
Who is your "player to watch" today?