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The books are now closed on the 2009 and 2010 draft classes

A look back at how those draft classes turned out, and a belated review of 2011 as well

Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos Melissa Renwick/Toronto Star via Getty Images

With minor league free agent declarations Monday (finally formally confirmed yesterday with the transactions posted by MLB), Dalton Pompey and Danny Barnes are officially no longer members of the organization. That not only closes the books on their Blue Jays careers, but also on the 2010 amateur draft.

The 2010 draft was the first under Alex Anthopoulos, and armed with the 11th overall pick and three “sandwich round” compensatory picks in the top 50 was supposed to lay the foundation of the rebuild that was underway. It represented a radical turn of the page, between an almost total overhaul in philosophy and vastly expanded scouting and financial resources committed.

2010 draft class

I’ve listed all draftees who made the big leaguers, as well as those who didn’t but received bonuses of at least $500,000. There are three WAR totals, each of which is the average of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference. The first is the player’s total WAR. The second is the WAR produced while in team control years which were directly traced to the draft. So this excludes anything after the initial contract is severed. The final is what was produced for the Blue Jays. The final column is remaining year of control for the player, since while the books are closed for the Blue Jays, they are not totally closed for the players.

Overall, the 2010 draftees have produced 29 WAR, almost all of that on their control year relating to the draft. That latter number will go up as Noah Syndergaard still has two years left before being free agent eligible.

It’s often said that a successful draft is if a team finds one average or better regular, one other solid contributors, and then a few big leaguers. By that standard, the 2010 draft is a success with Syndergaard, Sanchez, and then a handful of contributors. However, I’d submit the bar should be significantly higher with three extra high picks, as well as multiple above slot bonuses below. Overall, I’d say the success of the class is underwhelming in that context.

Moreover, very little of that has accrued to the Jays, at under 10 WAR. Granted, the Jays got four quite affordable year of R.A. Dickey in part from moving Syndergaard that have to be factored in, but they completely threw away Sam Dyson. In the end, the draft class didn’t lay the foundation for the future as was hoped.

With the surprising DFA of Ryan Tepera as well on Monday as the Jays whittled the 40-man down to 40, there also no remaining members of that draft class remaining in the organization either. That was the last draft under J.P. Riccardi, whose drafting was much maligned, and also a tumultuous draft as the failed failed to sign two top picks including Canadian James Paxton.

2009 draft class

Despite whiffing at the top, 2009 actually turned into a pretty productive class, with the draft WAR sitting at 30 with the potential for a little more. It produced a solid regular in Yan Gomes, a complementary big leaguer in Jake Marisnick, and multiple role players who have had solid careers.

Unfortunately, again not a whole lot of that accrued to the Jays, as they gave away Gomes and Marisnick was moved before he reached the majors. There remains indirect future benefit as well, with the acqusitions of Jacob Waguespack and Reese McGuire at least in part directly traceable to 2009 draftees.

While it didn’t happen within the last weeks like the two draft classes discussed above, there was a third Blue Jays draft class for which the books were similarly closed in 2019. The early April trade of Kevin Pillar eliminated the last remaining player from the vaunted 2011 draft class.

That was last uncapped draft before hard bonus slot and overall spending restrictions were implemented with the 2012-16 collective agreement, and the Jays famously went hog-wild, perhaps even full tilt, in splurging on highly rated high school talent. Here is how it all worked out:

2011 draft class

What’s interesting is that despite having so many extra picks, investing so much money (at least compared to 2009), the overall results end up in a very similar range: a little over 30 WAR to date, about 30 draft WAR, and about 10 WAR for the Jays. There remains some room for those numbers to grow, especially Joe Musgrove and Daniel Norris.

They did find a regular in Kevin Pillar, and he accounts for almost everything the Jays reaped from the class. Moving some young pitchers got them J.A. Happ (who was no more than mediocre that first time around, then Michael Saunders) and three months of David Price. But overall, one can’t help but feel let down with what came of this draft class for the Blue Jays given how deep the 2011 draft was, how many picks they had, how much they invested. Funny enough, Boston and Tampa had a ton of picks themselves, and didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory with their success rates either.

2019 was the first year a draft class was closed out since the 2007 class was closed out by Brett Cecil’s free agency three year ago. Which is likeliest to be next? Anthony Alford and Ryan Borucki are the only remaining players from the 2012 class, but could or hopefully should be around for up to five more years. There are five members of the 2013 class on the 40-man, with Danny Jansen and Patrick Murphy potential regulars well into the future. 2014 has Sean Reid-Foley, Jordan Romano and Justin Shafer, one of whom should stick around for the foreseeable future. So my money would be jumping ahead to 2015 where only eight players remain in the organization and the hopes would be pinned on Jackson McClelland and maybe Jon Harris.