Continuing the trend from Day 1 of the 2011 MLB Draft, Alex Anthopoulos has thrown caution to the wind once again and selected sublimely talented players that will be difficult to sign.
With their first pick in the second round, 74th overall, Toronto selected LHP Daniel Norris of Science Hill HS in Tennessee. Norris was considered by an overwhelming number of scouts to be the second-best southpaw in this draft behind only Danny Hultzen (taken second overall by Seattle) and a legit top 10-15 talent.
However, Norris has made a commitment to Clemson University and it's rumored that a massive signing bonus in the neighborhood of $4 million will be needed to change his mind.
Anthopoulos set a franchise record last year by handing out over $11 million in signing bonuses, and he's now poised to set a MLB record this year if he can get all these kids to pick up a pen.
The book on the 6'2", 180 lbs. Norris, according to ESPN:
"He’ll show 93-96 early in outings but hasn't held that velocity, sitting more 88-92 by the third inning, with a sharp but long mid-80s slider up to 88, a big low-70s curveball with tight rotation and good feel for a 75-78 mph changeup."
Although not a carbon copy, Norris projects as a Zach Britton type. Getting a top 10 talent at 74 is a coup (if he signs of course).
The next big name to come off the board to Toronto was Texas A&M RHP John Stilson, at pick 108. I had actually predicted that Toronto would target Stilson around their 53rd pick, though I'll still take the win even though he fell another 55 slots.
Stilson is another first round talent that fell a lot farther than many experts thought. If I were to wager a guess, I'd say it was the wealth of starting pitching talent in this draft that caused his slide.
John Stilson looks like a major league closer, so perhaps teams weren't willing to spend an early pick on a one inning player.
However, at 6'3", 200 lbs. with a 99 mph fastball, I'm shocked he lasted this long. He's accomplished, polished and incredibly talented and could find his way on to the Toronto roster as early as next season.
Finally, Toronto dipped into the Canadian prospect pool and selected BC native Tom Robson, a RHP from Langley. This is another player I had pegged for Toronto.
At 6'4", 200 lbs., Robson has a very strong frame that projects well as mid rotation starter and inning muncher. Robson posses a 89-91 mph fastball with late movement to go along with a very good changeup, which is a must for most Jay draftees.
His curve is just okay at this stage, but scouts feel that he can tighten it up and develop a nice slider in time. He throws from a three quarter delivery and already possess great control.
Hmm...sounds like a Roy Halladay scouting report minus the slow fastball. No pressure kid.
Look for my full report on the Blue Jays draft in the coming days. In the meantime, feel free to follow me on twitter @tdotsportwriter