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2019 Draft Preview: Reviewing the 2012-15 Draft Classes

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2014 MLB Draft Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The 2019 MLB Draft starts next Monday night, when the Blue Jays will pick 11th overall and then 52nd overall, as they look to add critical future pieces to the now fullblown rebuild that is underway in all its glory. I haven’t had the time this year to do the usual complement of background and preview pieces leading into the draft, but with the draft just around the corner I’m going to do a condensed version of some of the normal material.

We’ll start here by looking back at recent Blue Jays drafts. Part 1 below looks at 2012 to 2015, the first years under the new system but under a different regime. It’s relevant in that these players would largely remain under team control, and should be at the point of impacting the major league team. I’ll post part 2 looking at 2016 to 2018 under the new regime later tonight, and then tomorrow sift through some of the mock drafts and players with whom the Jays are being connected.

2012 Draft

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: Curiously for a draft now seven years ago, the jury remains still remains out to a significant extent depending on Borucki and Alford provide. Adding value to finding a frontline starter in Stroman will ultimately be the line between a decent draft but with missed opportunity and a very successful draft class.

2013 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: For my money this is easily the most impressive work from the Anthopoulos years, from the point of view of inputs-to-outputs. It might end up the single most productive despite the smallest spend, with multiple big league contributors and potential for more with Tellez, Jansen and Murpy having the potential to be regulars.

2014 Draft

Total spend: approximately $9.3-million

Bottom line: 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. Five years later, it must be considered a disappointment as it seems doubtful the Jays will get even one regular. Some value was salvaged moving Hoffman for the 2015 run, there’s the potential to get some decent relievers (complementary pieces), and Reid-Foley remains an enigma who could put it together.

2015 Draft

Total spend: approximately $4.36-million

Bottom line: It’s only four years out so nothing is completely definitive, but the last draft under Alex Anthopoulos looks largely to be a washout. It’s almost certain they won’t get an everyday regular. In fact, one of the least discussed reasons the 2015-16 window closed so quickly and abruptly is this lack of productivity from these two draft classes. It’s far from the only or even main reason, but there was no help percolating up.