The Toronto Blue Jays selected a high school standout from California with their 36th round pick, taking Kameron Guangorena (formerly Ojeda), a 6-foot, 180-pound senior from St. John Bosco High School. Guangorena took his stepfather’s name during his senior year of high school and it’s very clear that, despite getting drafted by the Blue Jays, the catcher will attend Cal State Fullerton in the fall, as he tweeted that out that fact on Wednesday. He was thought of as one of the most athletic catchers in the draft and MLB.co wrote that he “can really impact the baseball showing the ability to make consistent hard contact.” Scouts think that the rest of his catching game needs work but his arm strength and pop times were above average. Don’t expect him to sign.
Righthanded pitcher Parker Caracci has become known for his mid-90s velocity after seemingly coming out of nowhere. A former football player in high school, he took the number 65 when his teammate Walker Wilbanks passed away after he left the 2014 season opener with severe cramping that ended up with him dying of Hyponatremia, a condition that comes from a shortage of sodium in the bloodstream. After not making the baseball team at Ole Miss for two years (sitting in the high 80s with his fastball), he pitched in Summer Ball in the Cal Ripken Summer League, winning seven games and posting a 0.70 ERA, striking out 48. When the spring came around, he was throwing harder and tossed 48 innings as a super-reliever, saving 10 games and posting a 2.25 ERA with 73 strikeouts and just 14 walks. Without having a heavy workload in his first two seasons in college, Caracci’s arm doesn’t have as many miles on it as many college juniors’ do.
In the 38th round, the Blue Jays went to Puerto Rico to select catcher Francisco Ruiz, a 6-foot, 195-pound catcher from the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. Comitted to Galveston College in Texas, the righthanded hitter has a big leg kick and looks to generate some power from his swing (as far as I could tell from a promotional video). He was rated the #16 draft prospect from Puerto Rico but there’s little scouting material available. Ruiz was looking to get drafted but was affected by Hurricane Maria back in the winter, only able to be seen by scouts in Jupiter, Florida as the scouts couldn’t come to Puerto Rico.
In the 39th round, the Jays selected high school pitcher Cole Beverlin who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 180 pounds. He’s committed to Florida State and some say that he was the first Spruce Creek baseball player to be drafted out of high school. There’s not much out there about Beverlin but I did see a scouting report from 2017 that said that he has an “XL frame with long, lean present build; excellent projection remaining on body. . . Extreme crossfire delivery with very closed landing, works crossbody as a result, compact armstroke through the back to three quarters arm slot, pretty easy delivery and arm stroke throughout. Fastball worked 82-86 mph with good arm side life and occasional sinking action. . . Curveball was out pitch; thrown with excellent spin and sharpness, misses bats with pitch.” In a video on MLB.com from 2017, he said that his favourite team was the Blue Jays and his favourite player was Marcus Stroman. Do the Blue Jays have an edge to sign him away from his college commitment? We’ll have to see.
Drew Labounty, the Toronto Blue Jays’ 40th round pick is a special case. The South Alabama shortstop suffered a career-ending eye injury after fouling the ball off his face but the Blue Jays gave the young man the honour of being selected in the MLB draft. A two-time All-Sun Belt Conference player, he couldn’t play his senior season after his injury to his right eye and orbital socket in February and doctors weren’t able to save the vision in his eye. Kudos to the Blue Jays for giving Labounty a thrill.
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