Next up is reviewing the recent draft history of the Blue Jays. 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 with MLB potential).
Total spend: approximately $10.2-million (plus ~300,000 in pool overage penalties)
In 2012, the Blue Jays had a number of extra high picks, and additionally elected to punt rounds 4-10 in order to use the savings to sign higher ceiling players. Their top pick is a bust, even more painful considering the players chosen immediately after (Corey Seager, Michael Wacha), but more than offset by getting Marcus Stroman with their other pick. Unfortunately, they largely whiffed on their other extra picks, especially painful considering the extra money invested in Smoral. On the plus side, going overslot for Anthony Alford and Ryan Borucki appear to have have been worthy investments.
Bottom line: Even with so many high picks, if you get a front line starter and an average or better regular, then it’s a decent draft. Assuming Stroman’s 2018 is just a blip and if Alford and Borucki turn into good MLB players, it could still be a strong draft.
Total spend: approximately $3.5-million
In many ways, 2013 was the opposite of 2012. The Jays didn’t have extra picks, and didn’t sign 11th overall pick Phil Bickford which reduces the expectation of the talent ultimately to come out. The Jays took a lot of risk at the top of this draft, particularly with injuries, that largely didn’t pay off but the draft has been salvaged by some really impressive diamonds in the rough later down, particularly with inexpensive college seniors. Strategically, it was a 180 degree pivot from 2012 as they didn’t punt the day 2 picks (rounds 3-10).
Bottom line: Even without a signed first rounder, this is already a reasonably success draft. If Jansen in particular becomes a regular, it would turn into a highly successful draft, not to mention any potential value from Murphy or Tellez.
Total spend: approximately $9.3-million
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. It hasn’t really worked out that way. Jeff Hoffman doesn’t look like he’ll be the front-of-rotation arm that was projected based on his 2013 Cape Cod season, though it matters little for the Jays at this point. Max Pentecost is finally reasonably healthy and playing regularly, but struggling in AA.
Sean Reid-Foley slipped down the board and was nice value at slot, and is resurgent in 2018 with the really good stuff he was showing in 2018. Jordan Romano continues to dominate on his way up, and though I still have reliever concerns, has to be taken seriously as a starting prospect with a mid-90s FB/slider combo.
Bottom line: As with 2012, the bar for a successful draft is higher with multiple premium picks. It’s not going be a foundational draft class, as four years later the ceiling is probably a decent result, with little in the way of in-the-bank realized value currently.