To recap Day 1’s results, the Jays selected an outstanding talent who just happens to be injured with their first pick in ECU righty Jeff Hoffman. They went with Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost with their second first-rounder at 11 overall. They then selected Sean Reid-Foley, a Florida HS righty who had fallen from being a potential late-first-round pick, in the second round at 49th overall.
The Blue Jays went with another high school pitcher in the third round, this time it was 6-foot-5 lefty Nick Wells from Battlefield HS in Virginia. He’s still very lanky (at 180 lbs) and throws in the low-90s with good downhill plane with an already well-developed curveball. Slot value is $661,800.
The Jays went with another high schooler but deviated from previous draft philosophies by taking a position player, catcher Matt Morgan from Alabama. Looking at some video of Morgan, he looks nice and quick popping up to throw to second base (although the throws on the video weren’t all that accurate) and he has a smooth right-handed swing with little wasted movement. Morgan has a commitment to Alabama and the Slot value of his pick is $458,000.
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In the fifth round, the Jays took another position player from high school, choosing outfielder Lane Thomas from Bearden HS in Tennessee. So far this makes only three of six pitchers in the first five rounds for the Jays. A year ago at this time, the club had taken ALL pitchers. Interestingly, Thomas’s video on MLB.com shows him pitching but on Baseball America, he’s a hitter. Like Morgan, his swing is very smooth without a lot of wasted motion, using only a toe tap for timing. He’s listed as an outfielder but apparently, some scouts think that he can be a better infielder than an outfielder. He has a commitment to the University of Tennessee but appears to be forgoing that commitment to sign an above-slot deal with the Blue Jays (no financial numbers released). Slot value is $343,000.
Grayson Huffman is a guy who, on paper, reminds me of Daniel Lietz, the Jays’ 5th rounder from 2013. Both went to community college, both are lefties and both are fairly young. Lietz signed for well under slot value. Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Jim Callis (also of MLB.com) thinks that Huffman could be a back-end of the rotation starter, throwing in the low-90s with a changeup and a curveball. Slot value is $256,800.
The Jays went with a Double-Z for their seventh round pick in college outfielder Zack Zehner. He’s listed as a senior on MLB.com but a little digging shows that he’s listed as a junior from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo who transferred after two years playing at Santa Barbara City College. Slot value is $192,400.
The Blue Jays took 6-foot-2 righty Justin Shafer from the University of Florida. Mostly a reliever this year, Shafer threw 36 2/3 innings with a 4.17 ERA and a solid 27-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Although one might think that Shafer is a senior reliever who might be willing to sign for below slow (I still think he might), he’s actually a junior who spent his time relieving because he was also busy playing in the outfield. He hit only .211/.325/.253 in 95 at bats after a better offensive sophomore year so I think that Shafer’s future will be on the mound. Gregor Chisholm reports that he throws in the low 90s and has a “potentially plus slider that could lead to some future success on the mound.”
Yet another position player for the Jays, selecting NCAA Division II second baseman Ryan Metzler out of the University of South Carolina – Aiken. Metzler is a 6-foot-3, 190 lb. junior who hit .365 a year removed from transferrng from Siena College where he played for one year.
The Blue Jays selected their first Canadian in the draft in the 10-slot by choosing Markham, Ontario native Jordan Romano. The 6-foot-6, right-handed pitcher was a starter for Connors State College in Oklahoma but transferred to Oral Robrts University this season where he was the closer. The 49 strikeouts that Romano had in 40 2/3 innings is a nice number to see and Romano is also a graduate of the Ontario Blue Jays and the Canadian Junior National Team program (2010). Gregor Chisholm quoted Jays’ scouting director Brian Parker as saying “It’s a young power arm that has some ability with the breaking ball.”
Stay tuned for more draft coverage on Twitter (@JaysfromAway)! Keep an eye out for our 2014 All-Star Break Supplement to the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook which will have all of your draft, signing and mid-season coverage of the Jays’ minor league system!