Our survey of mock drafts continues. After profiling five (college) players yesterday, there's another six today that also skew to the college ranks but are a little more balanced (which may or may not reflect the Blue Jay braintrust thinking). As usual, keep in mind that the earlier it was published, the less it's usually a mock draft and more of a ranking based on tendencies and maybe a little intel.
MLB Pipeline (Jim Callis, May 12th)
22nd Pick: Keston Hiura, 2B/DH, UC Irvine
Comment: If he's not the best pure hitter in the draft, he's second only to Pavin Smith. Against quality west coast pitching, he hit .330 and .358 his first two years, taking it to another level this year with an absurd .442/.567/.693 batting line. There's also some emerging power, though mostly of the gap variety.
So why could be still be around? He hasn't played defensively in games for almost two years. He was an infielder in high school, moving to the outfield to fit into the lineup as a freshman. He hurt his arm on a throw midway through his sophomore year and DHed the rest of the year. He rehabbed it back to full strength, but re-injured it last fall and once again was a DH in 2017. He says he won't need surgery, but some think he will need Tommy John. The thinking is he could handle second base professionally, which would be a pretty attractive profile. If he's around when the Jays pick, I'd be very interested.
28th Pick: Nate Pearson, RHP, Central Florida JC
Comment: A 6'6", 240 pound righty, Pearson has some of the best velocity in the draft. His secondaries lag behind, so similar to Tanner Houck, one has to project a fair bit of development to get a viable starting pitcher (which must be the goal in the first round) which is not usually the case when picking college players in the first round. Picking him here is essentially betting on the ability to develop and refine his substantial ability.
MLB Pipeline (Jonathan Mayo, May 18th)
22nd Pick: Keston Hiura
28th Pick: Bubba Thompson, OF, Alabama HS
Comment: A familiar profile. Phenomenal athlete, football star at quarterback, scholarship offers to play both sports. Great speed, great arm, should stick in CF, some power potential. Apparently he's not as raw as most premium dual athletes. The rub - will those tools convert to skills, will he hit? If so, you get a star; if not, D.J. Davis. Frankly, I'm not a fan of this profile in the first round. The failure rate is just so high. He's also an the older side, as he'll be 19 before he signs.
MLB Pipeline (Callis, May 26th)
22nd Pick: Logan Warmoth, SS, University of North Carolina
Comment: Warmoth has flown up draft boards this spring as the quintessential "safe" college position player. On the plus side, he's got a track record of production at the highest level of college baseball, and is solid defensively. But he doesn't have any standout tools have project as above average, and may not stick at shortstop. The risk here, and the obvious/lazy comp, is you get another Russ Adams. This pick would be right out of the Riccardi/GM Shapiro playbook.
28th Pick: Hans Crouse, RHP, California HS
Comment: If the name looks familiar, it's may be because the Jays drafted his older brother Marrick in the 11th round of the 2015 draft, so there is a connection though he ended up at USC. Hans has been one of the top ranked 2017 high school players for a long time, thanks to an electric arm that can touch upper 90s velocity. He's no longer among the very top high school arms, as he hasn't shown the ability for a premium secondary pitch. His arm angle and mechanics have also shifted over the years, and there's some concerns about injury risk. I've watched him pitch in televised games a couple times, and come away underwhelmed given the expectations.
Perfect Game 1.0 (May 10th)
22nd Pick: Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA
Comment: Canning is a polished college performer, with a 2.34 ERA in 111.1 innings in 2017 with a 134/30 K/BB. He has four pitches that should be usable in the pro ranks, a strikethrower with good command, so most project him as a mid rotation type starter. It might bring to mind the Deck McGuire/Jon Harris profile. But I think that probably undersells him, since while he lacks a truly elite pitch, each of his pitches could project as an average or better pitch. He's be really compelling to me if he's still on the board when the Jays pick, especially if they're going to go the college route.
There is some concern about his workload, as at times he's been pushed to the 120 pitch range in starts (and beyond in some cases, 135 in March 2016 and 178 over a week in 2015). Fun fact: the last player drafted out of UCLA by the Blue Jays was Casey Janssen.
28th Pick: Evan White