Phillip Bickford (via MLB.com).
After depleting their system via trades during the offseason, the Blue Jays’ objective in this year’s draft was to restock their system with pitchers. As a result, they ended up selecting one in each of the first nine rounds.
But while they did land several power arms, their strategy on Days 1 and 2 was too high-risk.
The Blue Jays selected right-handed pitcher Phillip Bickford (10th overall) with their first-round pick. They followed that up by reaching for undersized RHP Clinton Hollon in the second.
Don’t get me wrong: Both players have a live fastball and high ceiling, but there’s not much more to their respective games at the moment. And because both players have relatively strong college commitments and presumably lofty signing demands, the organization’s spending potential was already severely restricted entering Day 2.
As a result, the Jays made a stab at two lesser-known prep arms in RHP Patrick Murphy (third round) and left-handed pitcher Evan Smith (fourth) before shifting their focus to high-floor college arms. The most notable was LHP Matt Boyd (sixth).
On the final day of the draft, the Blue Jays continued to pursue position players from the college ranks, including first baseman L.B. Dantzler. They also took a stab at a few more high-ceiling prep arms from the Midwest, such as LHP Jacob Brentz (11th), LHP Eric Lauer (17th) and RHP Sam Tewes (22nd).
It’s doubtful that any of them will actually sign considering their draft slot. If the Blue Jays were so all-in on prep arms from the start, why not make a run at some of these guys early on Day 2?