Archive for the ‘Rule 4 Draft’ Category


Georgia high school outfielder Clint Frazier

The Rule 4 draft, aka the amateur draft, goes Thursday, so naturally the rumblings about how it’s all going to shake down are about as close to a fever pitch as they’ll get. Or, at the very least, it isn’t entirely nonsensical to start thinking about what order prospects are going to go in– which is exactly what guys like Keith Law of ESPN and Jim Callis of Baseball America have been doing.

Law produced the third version of his mock draft on Monday at (Insider Only), and for the third time had the Jays selecting a different player with the tenth pick. This time, Indiana high school pitcher/outfielder Trey Ball was the name he went with for Toronto– a player he’d linked the club to in an earlier mock.

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Indiana high schooler Trey Ball

We’re just about three weeks away from MLB’s annual Rule 4 draft, aka the amateur draft, and with the tenth overall pick– though nothing in the way of extras this year, for the first time in… forever– the Jays have a chance to see a nice bit of high end talent fall their way, and we’re starting to see that in the mock drafts that are filtering out.

Two of those showed up in the ol’ digital inbox yesterday, with John Sickels of Minor League Ball coming out with his second version, and Keith Law of (Insider Only) revealing his first mock.

Both of them link the Jays to two-way Indiana high school prospect Trey Ball, who was profiled today at Baseball Prospectus. Sickels evidently thinks the Jays are more inclined to take him than Law, as Keith actually has the Jays passing on Ball– though obviously things are very fluid at the moment.

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DJ Davis

The Twitterverse is abuzz with word from on high that the Jays have signed several draft picks– all official-like.

Shi Davidi of the Rogers-owned Sportsnet appears to be the first to have passed along this news about the Rogers-owned Jays…


So… it would appear as though their draft strategy is kinda working. Hot damn!

I’m not sure it’s a sustainable year-to-year strategy, as more teams will surely look to emulate it– plus, it will sure be a lot tougher to retry without nearly as many supplemental round picks next year– but who the fuck needs to worry about that now? It sure looks like the Jays gamed the system as well as just about anyone, and that’s a little fucking outstanding.

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Not quite how I remember high school football.

We thought that the Jays were going to have to get creative to make good on the aggressiveness of their draft, and it sounds as though they’ve done just that, as Jim Callis reports that sources are telling him that they are going to sign Anthony Alford, the third round pick with, by all accounts, some serious first round talent.

Callis has more at Baseball America, explaining that the Jays “will allow him to play football for the [Southern Miss.] Golden Eagles. His bonus hasn’t been confirmed yet, but may be close to double the $424,400 value assigned to the 112th overall pick.”

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I wasn’t sure if this was maybe something that we should be careful to not read too much into, but how’s this for a development…

And it does indeed appear to be an actual thing, as Peter Gammons tweets out that Smoral’s aunt is Katie Dannemiller, who is CEO of the Marlins Sally League affiliate in Greensboro, and who happened to work with John Farrell in baseball operations in Cleveland, and that the giant left-hander “agreed with Farrell’s Jays.”

UPDATE: Ahhh, but not so fast… despite Gammons having very clearly saying “Matt Smoral agreed with Farrell’s Jays” (yes, I’m repeating this because people in the comments seem to have had trouble reading it the first time), we’re hearing that isn’t necessarily the case.

“Just talked to Jays 1A pick Matt Smoral, who denied report that he’s agreed to terms with Jays,” tweets John Lott of the National Post. “But sounds like negotiations are going well.”

Has someone told Smoral’s camp to quiet down with the talking to Peter Gammons stuff? Are they afraid to make it look too obvious that a pre-draft deal was in place?

For his part, Smoral says, according to another Lott tweet, that negotiations started almost immediately after the Jays selected him, for whatever that’s worth.

So… was Gammons maybe just pocket tweeting again?

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To be honest with you, I wasn’t planning on doing a whole lot with day two of the Rule 4 Draft, save for perhaps an update later on with some of the more interesting names that the Jays selected. But then a funny thing happened on the way the Jays clearing money so they can sign Matt Smoral: they selected Anthony Alford.

“Alford has tools galore and the ability to do a lot of exciting things on the baseball field,” writes his scouting report at (Insider Only). “On the negative, he also has that on the football field and has told teams he won’t want to sign if selected.”

Commenter North York Jays has been following along and adds this tidbit underneath the previous post: “The last 2 guys the Jays have taken have left the MLB guys at a complete loss for words, as if they’ve never heard their names mentioned even once. Both were crappy college relievers. They are probably trying to save as much as possible for Smoral and Alford, and I’m curious to see if they’ll punt all the picks from round 4 on to make sure they sign all the guys at the top.”

It’s certainly an interesting notion, and not necessarily a crazy one, but there are perhaps other possibilities too.

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22nd pick Marcus Stroman of Duke. No… the one in the middle.

We’re into the draft’s equivalent of the flyover states, as rounds two through seventy jillion are underway in Secaucus– and you can follow along with’s Live Draft Tracker– but before we move on, I think it’s best we tidy up some of the stuff that’s buried in last night’s giant clusterfuck of a post, specifically having to do with the Jays’ first round, which Keith Law listed among his honourable mentions at (Insider Only), and their three key picks ones, DJ Davis, Marcus Stroman, and Matt Smoral.

DJ Davis – #17 – OF – Stone County HS (MS)

In his first round analysis for Baseball Prospectus (Paywall’d), Kevin Goldstein writes that the Jays “decided to spread their risk, and went conservative with their first pick in order to spend a little more money later.” Fireballing lefty Matt Smoral, picked 50th, seems to fit that bill, though Davis is certainly no slouch. I pointed out last night that ESPN’s Top 100 draft prospects list (Insider Only) had him at 65, but that a report from Lone Star Ball mentioned that he was at number 20 for Baseball America, and 30 overall for Goldstein.

Baseball America, like just about every other source, says he’s not quite a five-tool prospect, as his arm strength is suspect, and suggests it will at least play in centre, where Davis can utilize his crazy speed. At SB Nation, John Sickels adds that Davis is fortunate he’s got the range for centre, “because he doesn’t have the arm for right field.”

In ESPN’s pick-by-pick analysis piece (Insider Only) Jason Churchill says that he thinks that he “could be a table setter if he maxes out the hit tool.” That seems to be the big question on Davis, as he’s reportedly got some power– “gap power,” tweeted Goldstein– and “the athleticism and bat speed to look like a potential star in the big leagues,” according to his ESPN scouting report (Insider Only). The same report refers to a “noisy lower half,” and suggests that he’s “a great upside play but will likely require a lot of patience as well as some work to calm down his swing.”

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