In Rounds 31-35, the Blue Jays focused in on college players and took three pitchers (including two lefties) in this group.
The Blue Jays took right-handed pitcher Josh DeGraaf out of an NAIA school, Taylor University. The senior graduated with a 3.92 GPA, earning Capital One Academic All-American of the Year honours for both his academic and athletic excellence. On the field, he led the pitching staff with a 1.80 ERA, logging 75 innings and allowing batters to hit just .218 off of him. He struck out 81 and walked only 11, capping his collegiate career in style. At 6-foot-4, DeGraaf is a tall, slender righty who became the first player to be drafted out of Taylor since 2009. DeGraaf hails from Illinois and has signed and has been touted for his intelligence, graduating with a degree in psychology and looking towards grad school. Taylor said in an interview that he throws consistently around 90-91 mph but some of that velocity had only come fairly recently. He also throws a slider and a changeup and, by his own admission, throws them all for strikes.
The Blue Jays selected a second baseman in the 32nd round of the draft, picking second baseman Andrew Guillotte from Moss Bluff, Louisiana. The 22 year old went to McNeese State University in Louisiana for his college ball and played as a starter in all four years. While he struggled in his freshman year, he had solid numbers with increasing power over the course of his college career, hitting .284/.348/.349 over the four years with 77 stolen bases. In his senior year, he was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award (recognizing excellence in athletic and academic achievements as well as character) and hit .313/.350/.394 with 14 doubles and two home runs, stealing 21 bases (without getting caught) and striking out only 11 times in 249 at bats.
The Blue Jays selected outfielder Kalik May in the 33rd round of the draft, getting him out of Mississippi Valley State University. Coming to MVSU out of East Central Community College, May made a huge impact with his combination of tools that led to a stellar senior year in 2015, hitting .335/.420/.520 with 11 doubles, five triples and four home runs and 22 stolen bases without getting caught. While he tended to strike out a lot (47 times in 179 at bats), he appears to be able to make excellent contact while taking a healthy number of walks (21 walks in 2015). His head coach, Aaron Stevens, was quoted as saying that May has “no ceiling on his athletic ability.” It will be interested to see how May adjusts to professional ball, considering his size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) and apparent athleticism.
Hunter Barnett, the Blue Jays 34th round pick in the 2015 draft, signed on the dotted line on June 14 and officially became a Blue Jay. Coming out of his junior year at the Division II University of Mount Olive in North Carolina, Barnett was used mostly as a reliever, throwing only 23 1/3 innings this season with a 7.71 ERA, 11 walks and 21 strikeouts. The 6-foot-3, 198 pound lefty will, in all likelihood, remain in the bullpen as a professional.
In the 35th round, the Blue Jays selected senior Stuart Holmes, a 6-foot-2 lefty from Vancleave, Mississippi. Transferring to Nicholls State University out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Holmes had a stellar two-year career at Nicholls, throwing 32 1/3 innings out of the bullpen in his senior year with a 1.11 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, striking out 36 and walking just seven. Named the Southland Conference Reliever of the year, Holmes also appeared on other college baseball watch lists and led the Southland Conference and set a school record with 15 saves. His pitching coach said, “Stuart turned himself into one of the best left-handed relievers in the country this year through hard work and determination.”
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