The Blue Jays picked up a few position players with only one pitcher in the mix. All of the selections in rounds 26-30 featured players out of four-year colleges.
The Blue Jays selected a first baseman/designated hitter with their 26th round pick in junior Gabe Clark. At 6-feet and 220 pounds, he’s got a big build coming from a very strong program in Oregon State (which also gave the Blue Jays Matt Boyd). At first glance, the 20-year-old doesn’t appear to be a prototypical power-hitting DH. In his sophomore year, he hit .280/.374/.376 in 157 at bats, slugging only 10 doubles, a triple and one home run. In only thirty games this season, he showed more power with seven home runs, but only came to the plate 98 times. Reports indicate that he missed at least 17 games including five at the beginning of the season for “violating unspecified team rules” and 12 more later in the season thanks to his tendency to strike out. The Riverside, California native probably has a lot left to prove and could very well improve his draft stock if he returns to college for one more year.
The Blue Jays went back to the position player well in the 27th round, selecting outfielder Jake Thomas from Binghamton University. The senior is another gap-hitting, speed oriented outfielder without a lot of home run power (although there is some pop there). He compiled an excellent series of stats with a .322/.453/.470 slash line and stole 26 bases in his four years of college. Thomas earned an America East Conference Player of the Week award earlier in the season after an excellent start to the season in which he went 6-for-13 with a triple and a home run. Thomas also leads Binghamton all time in career on-base percentage and walks and has been one of the university’s best offensive players to grace its field. As a college senior, Thomas is almost assured of signing and he has been quoted as saying that he is “honored to be a part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization.”
28th round: Another first baseman for the Blue Jays in Levi Scott, a 6-foot-5 senior from the University of Texas – Arlington. Scott came to Arlington after two years at Howard Junior College where he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 21st round of the 2013 draft. Again, Scott doesn’t have the numbers that you might expect from a man his size but he did hit .327/.374/.493 in his senior season with the UT Arlington Mavericks. His 14 doubles and seven home runs are fairly solid but for a player like Scott to really move up in the pros, he’ll need to leverage his large frame and hit more home runs.
The Blue Jays selected their first pitcher in this group of picks with Kyle Davis out of USC in the 29th round. The junior is 21 and hails from Garden Grove California where was a standout as an infielder and a pitcher. Coming to USC, he pitched as a freshman with a 5.48 ERA in 22 appearances. He improved tremendously in his sophomore year, earning nine saves and pitching a complete game (with 14 strikeouts) in his only start of the season. He had a WHIP of 1.01 and struck out 57 in 56 1/3 innings. He regressed in his junior year, pitching in 20 games and logging 53 1/3 innings despite making five starts. He struck out 45 and walked 18 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.43 WHIP as a full-time closer. The 6-foot righty was apparently hampered by injuries but took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of one of the NCAA Regionals and had a complete-game shutout against Stanford early in the season.
The 30th round was the Blue Jays got their best-named draft pick of the season in Earl Burl III. Burl is certainly signing with the Blue Jays after he finished his degree in Business Administration from Alcorn State University in Mississippi. Burl was only really a regular in his final season but had a great year, hitting .298/.398/.481 with 20 stolen bases, eight doubles, five triples and five home runs. Characterized as a hard worker, Burl “spent countless hours working out, hitting, running, and whatever else it took to improve my baseball skills.” I’m interested to follow Burl’s career as he puts his law school plans on hold to play baseball as a pro.
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