Blue Jays take RHP Singer at No. 56
Club impressed with 18-year-old's increased velocity
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays doubled down in the pitching department on Monday night by using their second pick of the First-Year Player Draft on high school right-hander Brady Singer.
Toronto grabbed Singer in the second round with the 56th overall selection. Earlier in the night, the Blue Jays used the 29th overall pick on Missouri State right-hander Jon Harris.
The addition of two high-ceiling arms with big frames falls in line with the organization's Draft philosophy from the last several years. Toronto often targets pitching in the early rounds and has a strong preference for those who throw hard and have a lot of durability.
"Young, athletic kid with a great frame and a big fastball," Blue Jays director of amateur scouting Brian Parker told reporters late Monday night. "He's got life, he's got sink and he can really command the fastball.
"Secondary [pitches are] probably the one thing he needs to work on, but we've had guys who have seen it ... A high school arm that we have to get going, but he can pitch with his fastball. That's his biggest thing right now."
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Singer shot up the Draft boards this year after seeing an increased velocity on his fastball. He now reportedly hits 92-94 mph on the radar gun with an ability to touch 96 after previously being in the 88-92 range.
The 18-year-old has a commitment to the University of Florida, but Toronto will attempt to sell him on the idea of turning pro instead. Parker didn't get into specifics with reporters but he did say that "we feel pretty good about the signability as well."
Singer was ranked the 83rd-best prospect in the Draft by MLBpipeline.com, but according to various reports, there are some concerns that Singer's mechanics could eventually become a problem. MLB.com's scouting report indicates that Singer "uses a three-quarter arm slot with a high elbow, a kind of unorthodox delivery that will make some scouts pause."
The Blue Jays obviously are willing to deal with those risks and instead have decided to make another selection with a lot of potential upside. In addition to the mid-90s fastball, Singer also possesses a slider and continues to work on a changeup. The development of those two secondary pitches could determine where his career goes.
Singer also will need to fill out his frame in order to become a durable starter at the big league level. He's currently listed at 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds and was a student at Eustis High School in Florida.
The 56th overall pick comes with a recommended slot value of $1,091,200. Toronto has a pool of 5,411,000, which ranks 24th in the Draft. If a team spends more than its total allotment, they are subject to taxes and the potential loss of a future pick.
Scouting high school pitchers is often very difficult because of the weak competition they often face, but the Blue Jays have never shied away from making those picks during general manager Alex Anthopoulos' time in Toronto. The club opts for the most upside whenever possible and the risks associated with that can be mitigated by working off the knowledge from a large group of scouts.
"It's one of those things that you just have to scout them throughout," Parker said when asked about evaluating high school talent. "We saw him a lot last summer against better competition in some of the bigger events and that certainly helps. Orlando and Florida, in general, has pretty good high school baseball, so that helps, too, with kids from Florida.
"The competition is pretty solid down there, but it is one thing that you're facing guys who aren't going to be the pro hitters, so a lot of that is the stuff you do the summer before when you're seeing him against the best hitters in the country, too."