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2017 Draft Preview: reviewing the 2014-15 Blue Jays drafts

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For previous entries of BBB's 2017 draft preview, see the 2017 Draft Storystream

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The 2012 and 2013 drafts were reviewed yesterday, next up are the 2014 and 2015 drafts, though with the caveat that with recency comes more uncertainty. For each draft year, I'll list the total spending, as well as information and notes on three groups: signed draftees picked in the top 100; draftees who received signing bonuses over $250,000; and other notables (players still in the organization who are interesting)

2014 Draft

Total spend: approximately $9.3-million

2014 draft summary

This was supposed to be a cornerstone draft for the Blue Jays, with two top picks in the top 11 and a huge bonus pool to play with, allowing strategic flexibility. Jeff Hoffman is no longer in the system, but has made it to the majors and been okay, and projects as a good starter. That said, it doesn't look like he'll be front of rotation arm that was projected based on his Cape Cod league before the surgery. Max Pentecost and his injuries has been discussed plenty, things looked pretty bleak a year ago but that pick looks like it might be salvaged. I questioned him at the time, but two picks later Trea Turner went off the board.

Sean Reid-Foley slipped down the board and the Blue Jays got some nice value, especially signing him at slot. The Jays broke from their form and spent some money on high school position players, but neither looks like a regular. The good news is it looks like some value might come from further down. In particular, Jordan Romano has been electric the last year, and even if he doesn't stick as a starter, could be a significant reliever with a mid-90s FB/slider combo.

Bottom line: As with 2012, the bar for a successful draft is higher with multiple premium picks. Three years later there's still a lot up in the air and while it's not a wipeout, it's unlikely to be a draft class for the ages either.

2015 Draft

Total spend: approximately $4.36-million

2015 draft summary

The Blue Jays gave up their first round pick to sign Russell Martin, but got a supplemental pick for Melky Cabrera that largely offset it. They didn't sign 2nd rounder Brady Singer, who is in the mix at the top of the 2018 draft. So there were only a pair of top 100 picks.

The first of those, Jon Harris, is having trouble at AA. Last year he did well in low-A, but didn't dominate hitters in the manner a top college prospects really should. He got hit harder in Dunedin, and very hard in AA so far. There's some parallels to Deck McGuire - collegian with a four pitch mix, but nothing plus, success at lower levels but trouble moving up against better hitters. Justin Maese has exceeded expectations, developing his slider/changeup, with mid rotation potential.

The other issue is that little value has emerged from lower down, and two years after the draft it should be apparent. Reggie Pruitt remains a wild card, but rounds 3-10 don't look like much value will be produced.

Bottom line: It's still quite early, but things aren't looking particularly great. It's very unlikely this turns out to be a banner class, but it can still work out if Harris can right the ship or Maese makes good, and if some value emerges from the "other" category.