Toronto Blue Jays: Recapping Day 1 of the 2012 MLB Draft
Day 1 of the 2012 player draft is in the books and the Blue Jays have come out with five new players to add to their farm system.
Of course, these youngsters need to sign on the dotted line before adorning any Jays paraphernalia, and the likelihood of that happening under the new CBA draft rules is tough to decipher.
While critics of the new signing protocol have expressed concerns that teams looking to tear college-bound baseballers away from their commitments may be in for a struggle, none of the Jays' first day picks are thought to be outrageously difficult signs. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that all five newcomers make it into the system this summer.
The follow slides recap the Jays' first-day acquisitions.
17. D.J. Davis (Outfielder)
Davis is a high school speedster who projects as a center fielder at the big league level. The prospect recently upped his performance at the dish, which allowed him to soar up draft boards this spring.
But despite Davis' improved approach at the plate, his greatest asset remains his speed—an attribute that Alex Anthopoulos seems to covet in spades.
This is what CBS Sports had to say about Davis:
Speed is the calling card for the Mississippi outfielder, who some say is faster even than his fellow Mississippi product Billy Hamilton, who stole more than 100 bases for the Reds' low-Class A team in Dayton last season. Unlike Hamilton, Davis is more than just a speedster. At 6-foot, 170 pounds, he has some power potential. A left-handed hitter, he also has the potential to hit for average. His arm is considered below average, but his speed more than makes up for that.
While some may question this pick because of Davis' perceived similarities to current prospect Anthony Gose, Davis looks to be more of a pure leadoff hitter, possessing superior bat control and better plate discipline.
Besides, even if the two end up as similar commodities in the MLB, it would present the kind of problem that no team would mind having.
On the whole, Davis is a high-risk, high-reward prospect who will, in the best of scenarios, still delay the gratification of eager Jays fans.
22. Marcus Stroman (Right-Handed Pitcher)
Stroman is regarded as the draft's most MLB-ready player. Some analysts believe that he could even crack the major leagues this fall.
While that is a lofty projection, Stroman should be a big-leaguer by 2013 at the latest.
Stroman is said to possess a terrific fastball and advanced slider. Because he is only 5'9", many analysts feel that he is best suited to a bullpen role, so as to preserve his body over the long term.
Because of his size and electric arm, he gets Tom Gordon comparisons all the time. He throws his fastball consistently in the mid-90s with some pretty good tail when it's down in the zone. He complements it with a power curve that has a nasty late break to it. His command isn't fine, but he's generally around the strike zone with both offerings.
While it is not inconceivable that Stroman ends up as a starter for the Jays somewhere down the line, his immediate future is as reliever and he will introduce himself to Jays fans as such sooner rather than later.
50. Matthew Smoral (Left-Handed Pitcher)
At the half-century mark, the Jays reeled in highly-touted Matt Smoral, a pitcher many thought would be gone in the top 20.
A foot injury may have scared off some teams, but Smoral's value at 50 was too much for Toronto to pass up. Because he went lower than expected, he may be the toughest sign of the Jays' five picks.
Smoral is 6'8" and projects as a Major League workhorse if he is able to add a decent breaking ball to his arsenal of pitches, which currently includes a low 90s fastball and a decent changeup.
Last season as a junior at Solon High School in Ohio, Smoral went 4-1 with an ERA under 2.00. The 18-year-old also participated in the Perfect Game All-American Classic and was named to the All-Sun East Spring team. He has a commitment to play at the University of North Carolina next season and could be considered a tough pitcher to sign.
If he signs, stays healthy and develops, Smoral may end up being one of the biggest steals of the 2012 draft.
58. Mitch Nay (Third Base)
Analysts label Nay with a boom-or-bust tag, largely because he has excellent power but iffy hitting ability.
There is little concern that Nay has the arm strength to stay at third base long-term, but some have questioned his fielding ability.
Taking Nay at 58 is a risky move, but one that could pay off down the road.
Nay, who has a commitment to play at Arizona State University, hit .495 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs with a 1.071 slugging percentage last season for Hamilton High School in Arizona. He took part in the 2011 Area Code Games and was named an ESPNHS All-American.
If Nay puts it all together, he is a guy who may eclipse 30 homers on an annual basis. But even the most generous of projections suggest there is a low ceiling on his average as a big league hitter.
60. Tyler Gonzales (Right-Handed Pitcher)
MLB.com summarized the sentiment of the analysts who discussed Gonzales during last night's Draft Central show:
"Gonzales is more thrower than pitcher, but guys who can throw as hard as he can will always generate interest."
Gonzales is a flamethrower with suspect mechanics and iffy command. It is reported that he has a decent feel for a breaking ball, but his place as a first-day draft pick is due to his arm strength more than anything else.
Once again, this pick is something of high-risk, high-reward selection. If the Jays can work out the kinks in Gonzales' delivery and he is able to find the strike zone more consistently as he develops, he has the potential to be a front line starter.
If not, chances are he never makes it out of the minors.