Day three of the draft just flies by with 30 rounds of selections being made but the Blue Jays looked like they got a few potential bargains (if they sign).
The Jays selected a left-handed pitcher, Jake Latz, from Lemont High School in Illinois who has committed to Louisiana State University. Latz, from what video I’ve been able to find, has compact mechanics and a quick arm and throws a decent slider to go with a high-80s/low-90s fastball. Latz was ranked at #208 by Baseball America.
The Blue Jays took a big name with their 12th round pick by selected 6-foot-5 righty Tanner Houck from Collinsville HS in Illinois. Ranked the 132nd player in the draft by MLB.com, Houck looks like a similar type of selection to last year’s drafting of Jacob Brentz by the Blue Jays. Brentz was a high school talent who threw in the mid-to-high 90s from the left side and fell down the draft board due to signability issues. The Jays selected Brentz and gave him a big signing bonus ($700,000), going well over slot.
The same could be seen with Houck who might need over-slot money to sign on but could be a very intriguing young arm that the Blue Jays drafted on Saturday. According to MLB.com, Houck sits in the 89-92 mph range with his fastball and could get a bit faster with a promising changeup and slider.
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Gunnar Heidt was selected by the Blue Jays in the 13th round and was a junior second baseman at the College of Charleston. Ranked the 230th draft prospect by Baseball America and the 193rd by MLB.com, Heidt led his club with a .327/.408/.470 slash line that included 10 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 15 stolen bases (in 20 attempts).
Heidt tweeted that he’s “stoked to be apart [sic] of the @BlueJays organization #gojaysgo” which could indicate that he’s intending to sign on fairly quickly.
In the 14th round, the Jays selected another pitcher in senior Chase Mallard from the University of Alabama – Birmingham. Mallard had a 9-3 record with 1.55 ERA in 2014, throwing 110 innings with 94 strikeouts and 22 walks. He was a semi-finalist for the Gregg Olson award, was named to the 2014 Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-America Second Team and was also named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year.
Ryan McBroom, a 6-foot-3, 240 pound first baseman from West Virginia University, was the Jays’ 15th rounder. Five other teammates were selected in the draft and, as a senior in 2014, McBroom is a likely guy to sign and probably start in Vancouver and hope to live up to what 2013 Northwest League MVP L.B. Dantzler (and 2013 draftee) did last year.
McBroom was drafted in the 36th round by the Royals last year but returned for one final year, hitting .341 with a team-leading eight home runs for WVU.
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!