TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays will have a long wait between picks when Major League Baseball holds its draft this weekend. Shane Farrell, the team’s director of amateur scouting, believes the Blue Jays are prepared for that big gap.
Toronto has the 20th overall pick on Sunday and won’t go again until Monday’s third round, when the Blue Jays will select the 89th player in the draft. Farrell notes that Toronto was in a similar position in the 2021 draft and said that experience taught his staff how to best use its time and resources.
“Our process remains the same to get the best player available in each round and stay committed and disciplined to the work that we do in the week leading up to the draft,” said Farrell on Wednesday in a video conference with reporters. “All the work that we’re doing a full calendar year before too.
“We spend a lot of time getting to know these players and we want to be disciplined and stay committed to the information that we have.”
Toronto is one of eight MLB teams that forfeited its second-round pick after signing a qualified free agent in the off-season. In the Blue Jays’ case, it was the decision to sign starting pitcher Chris Bassitt to a three-year deal after he’d received a qualifying offer from the New York Mets that led to losing the pick.
Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, right-handed pitcher Huston Waldrep, third baseman Yohandy Morales and outfielders Enrique Bradfield Jr., and Chase Davis are ranked Nos. 18-22 in MLB’s 2023 prospect rankings, putting them in the range of Toronto’s first-round pick. All five of them are 21-year-old U.S. collegiate players.
Farrell said that broadly speaking it’s a deep draft class.
“I think if you look around at the different demographics, there’s depth, definitely in the position player side,” he said. “I think the college position players and high school position players, there’s going to be some depth, some length to those Day 1 picks.”
The Blue Jays have a bonus pool of US$6.5 million available to them to sign draft picks this year, the fifth lowest in MLB. They have a little over $3.7 million available to sign their first-round pick and $771,500 to sign their third-round selection.
“I don’t think your appetite for risk really changes given the bonus pool or the number of picks that you hold in a given year,” said Farrell.
Once a draftee enters the Blue Jays’ system, Farrell said that the organization’s development program has become adept at quickly improving those players.
“An area we’ve attacked well is really on the physical development side with our strength and conditioning and nutrition,” he said. “I think you can point to (left-handed pitcher) Ricky Tiedemann as somebody we saw pretty immediate gains with just getting a more diligent routine and program in place for him.
“He’s really taken off and a lot of that was done just based on physical gains.”
The 20-year-old Tiedemann is the top-ranked prospect in the Blue Jays organization. Lefty Brandon Barriera, who Toronto drafted 23rd overall last year, is second in the prospect rankings followed by right-handed pitcher Yosver Zulueta, shortstop/third baseman Orelvis Martinez, and shortstop Tucker Toman.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2023.
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