Toronto Blue Jays Mock Draft: Last-Minute Picks and Predictions
Toronto famously traded away several of its top prospects two offseasons ago in an attempt to improve the major league team. Those transactions sorely depleted the club’s farm system. The Blue Jays then failed to sign Phil Bickford, their first-round pick in the 2013 draft.
Heading into the 2014 season, only two of Toronto’s prospects made MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list.
So the 2014 draft can’t come soon enough for the Blue Jays, who will have the No. 9 and No. 11 picks in the first round (the No. 11 pick is compensation for the team’s failure to sign Bickford).
With that being said, let’s take a look at five players Toronto could potentially target in the first round of the draft on June 5.
Jeff Hoffman, Right-Handed Pitcher, East Carolina
Jeff Hoffman probably wouldn’t even be on this list if he didn’t have Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago.
Before undergoing the elbow procedure, the right-hander was widely considered to be a top-three pick in the draft and easily out of Toronto’s range. But it’s unlikely for him to go that high now considering many teams are hesitant to use top picks to draft players coming off injuries.
The 21-year-old Hoffman possesses a mid-90s fastball that has topped out at 98 mph. His curveball is also already seen as a plus pitch. Scouts believe that his changeup also has the potential to be a plus pitch in the future.
If Hoffman drops down enough, look for the Blue Jays to snag the East Carolina product with one of their first-round picks. While it might take him a little longer to reach the majors because of the injury, the results should be worth the wait.
Nick Gordon, Shortstop, Olympia High School
Nick Gordon—son of retired All-Star pitcher Tom Gordon and brother of Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon—is being touted as one of the best infielders in the draft.
The 18-year-old is a solid all-around ballplayer at this point. A left-handed hitter, he makes good contact with the ball and uses the whole field to hit.
Gordon may not be as fast as his older brother on the basepaths, but he still has plus speed that should translate into stolen bases.
The most surprising part about the shortstop is his arm. Gordon has thrown a low 90s fastball in the past, leading some to believe to that he could even be a pitcher if he wanted to. While this appears to be unlikely, having a good throwing arm will serve Gordon well at the shortstop position.
The Blue Jays have shown interest in athletic players with plus speed in the past and could target Gordon if he is still available at the No. 9 or No. 11 spots.
Touki Toussaint, Right-Handed Pitcher, Coral Springs Christian Academy
Touki Toussaint perfectly fits the mold when it comes to what the Blue Jays look for in a pitcher.
The athletic right-hander has a very loose arm. His fastball usually sits in the lower to mid-90s and has topped out at 97 mph. His mid-70s curveball is also considered to be an above-average pitch.
Toussaint is also just 17 years old and has a chance to add more muscle on his 6’2” frame as he grows older. His athleticism means that he should also turn out to be a good fielder at his position.
If Toronto does draft Toussaint out of high school, Blue Jays fans will likely have to wait a few seasons before seeing him in the majors. The team has taken this approach in the past, though, as it has drafted the likes of Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard out of high school.
Grant Holmes, Right-Handed Pitcher, Conway High School
When it comes to having pure stuff, Grant Holmes is definitely near the front of the pack. The right-hander possesses a high 90s fastball, and the pitch has been clocked at 100 mph during several occasions.
While his heater is definitely one of the best in the draft, Holmes also has a really good curveball that he throws with a lot of power. His changeup needs more work at this point, though.
Because of his high-end stuff, it’s unlikely the Blue Jays will get a chance to draft Holmes. Although he has a chance to slip considering that some teams might be concerned with the 18-year-old’s heavy build and fear that he has already reached his ceiling.
Michael Conforto, Outfielder, Oregon State
Michael Conforto completely fits the description of a power hitter. The left-handed batter has plenty of pop in his bat, and his pull-hitting approach should translate to solid power numbers.
On the downside, the 21-year-old will have his share of strikeouts and likely won’t hit for a very high average in the majors. His speed is also considered to be average at best.
The outfielder’s 6’2”, 217-pound build also means that he likely won’t be very nimble defensively in the outfield. He should be fine in left field but would probably be unable to play center or right field effectively.
While drafting Conforto with the No. 9 or No. 11 picks seems like a bit of an overdraft, we would be remiss to not include a power hitter as a possible draft target of the Toronto Blue Jays.