Here we look at who the Blue Jays selected in the 16th through 20th rounds of the 2017 MLB Draft.
The Blue Jays selected junior Ty Tice out of the University of Central Arkansas. Drafted as a pitcher, Tice also played right field when he wasn’t on the mound but his batting stats dropped as he advanced through college. In his junior year, Tice tossed 56 2/3 innings out of the bullpen with a 4.45 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, striking out 67 and walking 34. He’s only listed at 5-foot-9 and so, as a pitcher, would fall into the “Marcus Stroman” category of trying to outperform expectations from shorter players.
In the 17th round, the Blue Jays selected high school catcher Kobie Russell out of Waipahu High School in Hawaii. I’ve been able to find that Russell was a safety on his high school football team and he was ranked fifth on the list of Baseball America draft prospects for the Pacific Rim (Alaska & Hawaii). Russell was also listed as a shortstop in an article that discussed the big leagues scouting in Hawaii but later went on to say that “the scouts are projecting him to be a catcher.”
Coming from Elon University is left-handed pitcher Jordan Barrett, a senior. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds (he’s listed at 215 pound at MLB.com but is listed at 229 pounds at Elon’s website), Barrett certainly has the size that teams like in pitchers. Barrett is a senior who spent two years at Polk State before transferring. Barrett was part of a no-hitter when he combined with George Kirby to no-hit the College of Charleston but still lost the game on May 25. Barrett threw 78 1/3 innings this year, posting a 3.22 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, striking out 100 batters and walking 32.
The Blue Jays went with another high school catcher, Cordell Dunn of Center Hill High School in Missouri with their 19th round pick. Baseball America writes that Dunn has “impressive bat speed and strength” but his “hands are a bit stiff and he struggles to make late adjustments as a result.” They like his athleticism behind the plate and he has a decent but not excellent arm. Michael Cook of Minor League Ball really liked Dunn who is the son of a former minor leaguer. He noted that, while he has “ugly swing mechanics,” he made consistent good contact.
He has a commitment to Texas Tech and was expected to be a third or fourth round pick but slid, likely due to his college commitment and bonus demand. Dunn played for the US in a 15 and Under World Cup tournament in Mexico in 2014.
In the 20th round, the Blue Jays selected their first Canadian, Alberta-born Tanner Kirwer, a 6-foot, 160 pound center fielder from Niagara University. Kirwer is noted for his speed, and had a career .329/.415/.451 slash line that included 20 doubles in his junior year (2017). Kirwer also stole 66 bases over 134 games with Niagara, only getting caught 11 times. Kirwer earned a National Hitter of the Week award in his sophomore year and transitioned to playing the outfield from the infield in his junior year. Kirwer has noted in an interview that “playing professional baseball has definitely been a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” and I can see him signing despite having a year of eligibility left.
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