The Blue Jays selected righty Josh Hiatt out of the University of North Carolina in the 16th round of the draft. A redshirt sophomore who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs in a 175 pounds, Hiatt tossed 46 innings with a 2.94 ERA and 49 strikeouts with 17 walks despite missing time after he was suspended by the team for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Hiatt was a first-team All-American from both Baseball America and the NCBWA. Hiatt was ranked the #481 prospect by Baseball America who noted that when he didn’t make the team in his freshman year (getting redshirted) with an upper-80s fastball, he came back with a slider and “what was already an outstanding changeup.” UNC found that both the slider and changeup registered higher spin rates than big league averages and “complemented each other with movement in near opposite directions.” The fastball now reaches 88-91 mph and can touch 93 mph and Hiatt was frequently used for multi-inning appearances and BA believes that he has “the arsenal and command to at least merit a look as a starter at the next level.”
In round 17, the Blue Jays went with another college pitcher, selected Austin Havekost, a 6-foot-3, righthanded redshirt sophomore from Kent State. A reliever, he threw 22 innings in 2018, posting a 2.86 ERA and 0.64 WHIP, striking out 30 while walking only three batters all season. His fastball sits in the low 90s and touches 95 (according to Baseball America who ranked him as the #496 draft prospect) and uses a split-change and a slider and “pounds the strike zone with both offspeed offerings and pitches with above-average control.” For more on the personal side, his Kent State profile tells us that he enjoys fishing and hunting, lists his mom as the person he most admires and is creeped out by snakes. He would also like to visit Omaha but I’m guessing that’s more from the point of view of a participant in the College World Series than as a tourist.
In the 18th round, the Blue Jays selected the player who probably has the best name so far in the draft: righthanded pitcher Fitz Stadler from Arizona State. Stadler’s 2018 numbers don’t stand out as he was mostly a reliever with a 5.96 ERA with 18 strikeouts and 18 walks over 22 2/3 innings. Stadler is the tallest player selected by the Blue Jays thus far, standing at 6-foot-9 and weighing in at 233 pounds. The junior was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 32nd round in 2015 before deciding to play in college and his two brothers Walker and Sully both played collegiate baseball at Indiana University. He also pitched in the Cape Cod League in 2017, posting a 3.72 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 19 1/3 innings, striking out 13 and walking seven.
19th-round pick Adrian Ramos will be 20 in a couple of weeks and he got an early birthday present from the Blue Jays, selecting him out of Miami Dade College, making him the first player coming out of a junior college selected by the Blue Jays in 2018. The outfielder hit .331/.470/.419 with 25 stolen bases this season, hitting 10 doubles and two triples. He’s signed to play at Southeastern University next year but could very well sign with the Blue Jays.
In the 20th round, the Jays selected shortstop Vinny Capra, a senior out of the University of Richmond. Capra was selected to the All-Atlantic 10 Second Team twice (in 2017 and 2018) and was one of the club’s four captains in 2018 as a senior. Capra led the club in hits, batting average, runs, home runs and RBI, hitting .327/.435/.485 with 13 doubles, two triples and five home runs, stealing nine bases in 11 tries. He attended Eastern Florida State College before transferring to Richmond, and calls Melbourne, Florida home.
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available!
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