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2017 MLB Draft Preview: reviewing the 2016 Blue Jays draft

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

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The 2016 draft was the first under the Mark Shapiro / Ross Atkins regime, albeit with a holdover scouting director in Brian Parker who was in charge of his fourth draft (2013-16). As I noted at the time (first link below), the 2016 draft was quite a different blueprint, and it will be interesting to see what influence new scouting director Steve Sanders brings over from Boston.

With 2016 draftees less than one year into their pro careers, it's really too early to be doing much in the way of evaluating the draft class. For further detail, below are links to two posts I've written on the 2016 draft:

Since many of the draftees are still in extended spring, there's nothing more to add. I've included a summary table below as for the other drafts reviewed (2012-13 and 2014-15); after that is a summary of how 2017 has changed draftees' prospect stock since the end of 2016 where applicable.

2016 draft summary

Stock way up in 2017
  • Bo Bichette. Torched the GCL, now torching the Midwest League as 19 year old, which is of much stronger inferential value. Hammering line drives all over the field, with good plate discipline and power.
Stock up in 2017
  • T.J. Zeuch. I thought he might be back in Lansing after making just a couple starts at the end of 2016, but he went to Dunedin and has been good. The strikeouts are a little underwhelming (32 in 42 innings), but he's suppressing contact and getting a lot of ground balls. One thing to keep an eye on is that a umber of his starts have gone downhill the third time through the order.
  • Zach Jackson. In 2015, he was electric as a fireman for Arkansas; 2016 was a rough year between struggling in his junior year, tumbling down draft boards, and then a very ordinary pro debut. He's had a stronger start to 2017, and his stuff seems to have ticked back up a notch if not back to 2015 levels.
  • Cavan Biggio. Biggio had a somewhat underwhelming debut in 2016 for a college hitter, with a .273/.371/.349 line in 280 PA between Vancouver and Lansing, with some choppy defence at second base. Promoted to high-A, he's put up a 120 wRC+, and that's despite a pretty slow first couple weeks.
Stock down
  • J.B. Woodman. Woodman produced in his 2016 pro debut, with a combined .297/.391/.445 line in 271 PA between Vancouver and Lansing. He didn't show the power he showed in the SEC, with a .400 BABIP covering up a strikeout rate over 30% which was a red flag. In 2016, he still has a great BABIP, but the strikeout rate has ballooned to 40% with little power. Despite his tools, this is a really, really bad prognosis.
  • Andy Ravel. Struggling pretty badly for a 7th round college pick in low-A, though he's coming on a bit stronger in May and missing a few more bats. Maybe his stuff would tick up in the bullpen

In the next entry, we'll drill down a little into tendencies, to the extent it's possible given the changes in the front office.