The MLB Network’s draft coverage is streaming live now. Earlier today we examined the names most linked to the Jays. In the Daily Duce we got you up to speed with all the late changes to the various mock drafts. We’ve already put more effort into this than MLB did in designing their draft logo, in other words. And then the Jays won. Again. Madness! Tremendous madness!
The Jays hold the ninth and eleventh picks tonight, with all kinds of intrigue surrounding them. Do they go with massive upside? Do they cheap out? Do they try to help their upper minors with someone more polished? Do they take a pitcher who just had Tommy John surgery?
At 7 PM the festivities, and the march begins toward the Jays’ two selections, begin. I’ll be here to guide you through it all. So keep refreshing, and follow me, @AndrewStoeten, on Twitter for all kinds of good stuff. The latest updates I provide will go above the horizontal line you see below, with all previous ones residing below it. Let the insane comps begin!
The Jays Select Kennesaw State C Max Pentecost (11)
Pentecost is a catcher who folks seem to think will stay a catcher, but has a bit of a bat and is athletic too. Lots of yelping about Touki Toussaint not going here, or Trea Turner — who I thought I heard the Jays were super for sure going to take, or something — but given the state of catching in the majors right now, and the fact that Jonathan Mayo — one guy on the MLB Network panel actually worth listening to — figures he’s the only actual catcher of any of the projected top 15 picks, and that sounds pretty alright to me. But what do I know? Nothing. What do you know? Nothing. What does anyone know? Nothing, really. But let’s try to fix that, shall we? I’ll hang up the live blog for a little bit, but fear not, as I’ll be back shortly with all the scouting we need on these two.
The Mets take Michael Conforto, and the Jays once again find themselves on the clock.
Some housekeeping. I’m going to post the Jays’ next pick in the same format as the update below announcing Hoffman, and then, as far as following along with the selections, you’re on your own. I’ll be back, though, providing all the information I can find on the two Jays selections.
Sound good? Good.
The Jays Select East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman (9)
Peter Gammons calls Hoffman “a special guy” and says that this is a great gamble, as many teams looked at the medicals on Hoffman, who just had Tommy John surgery (or he otherwise would have been picked much higher), and thought that the operation was clean and that he should be back in 15 months ready to go. The success rate on Tommy John isn’t 100%, but this is a very smart gamble for a club that has two picks here. They save money for elsewhere in the draft, and by taking him at nine they have a lower slot recommendation to begin negotiations with the eleventh pick at. That saves even more pool money to use later on, and shouldn’t be an issue, with a lot of talent that they still thought might be available still around. A better gamble than Phil Bickford. Let’s say that.
Penta-what? JJ Cooper says he’s hearing otherwise…
Scratch that hearing Hoffman for Jays. They have 2 of next three picks, so can get a little creative here.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 6, 2014
That’ll play, too.
We’re on the clock! The Rockies take Kyle Freeland. So, like I say, some guys we might not have thought would have been here. Some rumblings about Max Pentecost. We shall see!
The Phillies take Aaron Nola, which makes sense, since none of the mocks had him getting past this pick — though some had him earlier. He was drafted out of high school as a late-round flier by the Jays, but didn’t sign — and looks like he made the right choice, eh?
One more pick — the Rockies — before the Jays are on the clock. Conforto, Kyle Freeland, and Sean Newcomb are three names that a lot of the mocks didn’t think would all be available at this point, which could change what we thought about the Jays’ intentions with Turner/Hoffman/Toussaint. Who are all those guys? I assure you we’ll find out if the Jays take one.
The Mariners take California high school catcher Alex Jackson, which puts the Phillies on the clock. Michael Conforto was thought to be gone by this point by most of the experts, but the Cubs threw a wrench in those plans. He’s a college bat — the one Law says is the closest to the majors — and you wonder if he’d have been linked more to the Jays than Trea Turner if the thought had been he’d be available. Maybe he will be? Intrigue!
The coverage here, by the way, is slightly atrocious — at least in terms of the damn comps and the “they need a right-handed bat so take this guy and maybe in five years they’ll have one” kind of stuff. Mike Ferrin is covering the draft too on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, and he tweets out that you can join up for a free trial (no credit card needed, apparently), and listen to that instead. My recommendation? Do it. Ferrin is good and good people.
The Twins take Dee Gordon’s brother Nick at number five — getting closer to the Jays here! — but let’s go back to the Schwarber pick for a second here. Clearly nobody’s going to question the way that the Cubs and Jed and Theo run their organization, but the highest he went in any of the major mock drafts that Kyle mentioned in this morning’s preview here was 13th. So… that might make things more fluid than the Jays would have thought — at least by one player. And maybe more if other clubs go off the board! The Mariners are on the clock next…
Holy shit, Schwarber’s introduction to the world includes big ups to Skrillex, Anchorman, and a general goofy dumb guy vibe. Sure, make him a millionaire. Why not? WHAMMY!!!
Chris Crawford tweets that this is a “massive reach” for the Cubs, even though he’s a good hitter, he adds. Disarray!
With the fourth pick the Cubs take Indiana first baseman Kyle Schwarber. Because, of course, they’re going to get all the pitching they need when they trade Samardzija. Sort of just steaming through these, aren’t we?
Brady Aiken has the stage presence of Mark Hamill.
— Devang Desai (@DesaiDevang) June 5, 2014
Another Law tidbit, as the other Chicago team is currently on the clock:
Mitch (New York)
If you’re the Jays would you rather have Bickford or 11th pick tonight?
11th pick tonight. Didn’t have Bickford as a first-round talent last year and he’s regressed at CSF this year.
So… that’s alright, right?
As we wait for the White Sox with the next pick, here’s one of KLaw’s Jays-related tidbits:
Asked about who’ll make the majors first out of this draft, Law says “Conforto. I might have said Turner but his swing is a real concern for me – he’ll move fast if and when a pro coach gets him cleaned up and shorter to the ball.”
Trea Turner is the name that has been linked to the Jays more than any other, and if you read Kyle Matte’s preview you’ll see he was a little down on him, particularly because of the concern about the swing and the fact that he might be more a guy who fits better into the system than the best player available. Thing is, though, the Jays have had some success with getting guys’ swings cleaned up and shorter to the ball, haven’t they? Maybe it’s not all bad. I don’t know!
Oh, and I guess we’re not waiting long for that pick: the White Sox take Carlos Rodon, who was viewed as the clear-cut 1-1 for much of the year leading up to this draft, but struggled a bit this spring.
I wrote about Tyler Kolek quite a lot this morning in the Daily Duce, as he seemed to be slipping down a bunch of mock drafts. That’s because of what Law, in his chat, explained was a late fear that he’s really just a velocity guy. “ If I wanted to crush him, I’d argue that he has below-average command, his slider isn’t effective vs LHB because he can’t locate it, he doesn’t throw his changeup, and he’ll have to work to maintain his physical conditioning,” he explained. “If I didn’t tell you that he throws 100 mph, wouldn’t you ask why the heck that guy was in consideration in the top few picks?”
Well… he does, and the Marlins have taken him at pick number two.
The Astros indeed take Brady Aiken, the California prep left-hander. Whoopty fuck. At least as far as we’re concerned.
What do we want? Jays-related tidbits! And Keith Law offered some in today’s pre-draft chat at ESPN.com.
No surprise here, as Jon Manuel of Baseball America tweets that the Astros will indeed take Brady Aiken, as expected. I won’t be doing this for every pick that leaks before Herr Bud makes the announcement, but… I dunno… why not start off here, as the Astros really could have thrown the draft into disarray if they didn’t make this selection.
Bud Selig rambles, for I suppose the last time before a draft, but I can hardly snark him, as he offers a eulogy for the departed Don Zimmer, who touched so many throughout his 66 years in baseball. The Astros are now officially on the clock.