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Father's Day an organizational affair for Blue Jays

Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are sons of former big league stars
MLB.com

The father-son bond, and the role baseball can play in it, is a well-covered subject. We've all seen "Field of Dreams" and know the game can be handed down from one generation to another like a priceless heirloom.

There have been countless sons of former big leaguers to go into the family business and also reach the big leagues. Often, they go on to have even better careers than their fathers did.

The father-son bond, and the role baseball can play in it, is a well-covered subject. We've all seen "Field of Dreams" and know the game can be handed down from one generation to another like a priceless heirloom.

There have been countless sons of former big leaguers to go into the family business and also reach the big leagues. Often, they go on to have even better careers than their fathers did.

The Blue Jays certainly hope that's the case. The organization has six sons of players who played the game at a very high level in the Minor Leagues and one more coming via the 2018 Draft, assuming he signs. A trio of them, when healthy, suit up for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. make up a tremendous second-generation threesome, with two Hall of Fame dads to boast. Some others, like Dwight Smith Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., have already reached Toronto. Kacy Clemens and Griffin Conine are just starting their climbs. Let the nature vs. nurture debate commence!

"It's not by design to sign sons of prominent big leaguers," Blue Jays farm director Gil Kim said. "What is by design is valuing the ability to compete, the aptitude, the teammate and the awareness that these young men have, and recognizing that those types of makeups translate to people who can maximize their potential and can help drive a championship culture.

"There has to be value to the years of being with their dads in clubhouses and on fields, observing how the best teammates lead, how the great players prepare and the level of commitment and passion required to succeed at the highest level. You'd think that translates and you'd think that those experiences have in some way helped to shape the grit and the feel of Cavan, the intensity and aggressiveness of Bo, the professionalism and work ethic of Kacy, the calmness and field awareness of Dwight and the confidence and baseball IQ that Vlad possesses.

"We try our best to drive a learning environment, and it's a unique opportunity for our players and staff to be able to casually pick the brains of Hall of Famers and All-Stars on the back fields or out at our affiliates."

Dante and Bo Bichette

Dante: 6-3/215, R/R, OF -- 4-time All-Star; .299/.336/.499; 1984 17th-round pick
Bo: 6-0/200, R/R, SS -- Blue Jays' No. 2 prospect; MLB's No. 9; 2016 2nd-round pick

Dante was never a helicopter parent, but let's just say he used to be super involved. After a 14-year big league career that saw him hit 274 homers and steal 152 bases to go along with a .299 average, he still had the competitive juices flowing after he hung them up following the 2001 season. His older son, Dante Jr., got the brunt of that leftover need to excel. Dante Sr. still wants his younger son to succeed, he's just a little more chill about it.

"I'm getting better at just being a fan dad and not being the ex-player," Dante said. "Bo had it a little easier than with the older one because I was too competitive when I retired. I can sit back and relax more now. I was too much of a coach. Kids have to learn on their own, they have to figure things out on their own. Bo had that luxury. I tell him simple things and then let him go."

Especially when the year is going on, Dante won't meddle and he says it's always his son who leads the conversation. That's not a dad's-eye view; his son agrees.

"A lot in the offseason; all the time in the offseason," Bo said about when they talk hitting. "During the season, it's more when I need it, I'll call him and ask him. He'll come and visit every once in a while. During the season, I'd say it's once every couple of weeks."

During the offseason, dad is more than a hitting coach. He's batting practice pitcher/competition. This isn't just simple toss from behind an L-screen and work on your swing mechanics kind of stuff.

"I still throw really well, high 80s. Nothing else works, but my arm does," Dante said. "We go at it and I try to get him out. We have sessions like that. It's not routine BP. He's taking at-bats in the offseason. They say you should try to get 2,000 at-bats before you get to the big leagues. We try to shorten that curve a little bit.

"I root for him to be better than I was. Because he plays a tougher position and he does more things than I did on a baseball field, he has a real shot. He has high expectations for himself, so I hope he reaches all of them."

Craig and Cavan Biggio

Craig: 5-11/185, R/R, C/2B/OF -- Hall of Fame; 7-time All-Star; 1987 1st-round pick
Cavan: 6-1/203, L/R, 2B/3B/1B -- Blue Jays' No. 19 prospect; 2016 6th-round pick

All parents want their kids to be better than they were, or to have more success than they had on whatever path they choose. When you go into the family business and your dad is a Hall of Famer, that's a hard dream to reach. Luckily, the Biggios have managed to stay realistic and grounded, with Craig not setting a 3,000-hit bar for his son.

"As an individual, you set your own goals and sights," Craig said. "For me, as a father and a former player, I want him to be as good as he can be. It can be unfair, we live in an industry when we compare players to players. It's hard. I just want for any kid to go out and be as good as they can be, whatever that is."

"My dad and I are two different players," Cavan said. "We draw a lot of comparisons with a lot of things over the course of a game, but when I go out and play, I'm always playing the game that I know, that I've learned for myself. I say there's not that much pressure. He was one of the greatest to ever play the game, so to even come close to who he was is success in my book."

Having a Hall of Fame dad does have some privileges, especially because Cavan and his older brother Conor, who was his teammate at Notre Dame, were old enough to tag along with Craig in Houston. The lessons were clearly invaluable.

"My dad, he wasn't around a lot when I was a kid, but whenever he was home for a home game, I would always want to go to the ballpark with him," Cavan said. "Allowing me and my brother to do that has had an impact from being around the game at the highest level, trying to learn from not just my dad, but other guys and how they prepare. That's had an impact on my career because I've kind of had tastes since I was a kid of what it takes to be a Major Leaguer and stay a consistent Major Leaguer."

Video: Cavan Biggio on his father's influence

That understanding, that professionalism and respect for the game and other people, it's the kind of thing that would make any dad beam, though Craig knows better than to hog the spotlight on what kind of man his son has become.

"That's the ultimate compliment," Craig said. "I have to give my wife Patty a lot of credit. [Cavan] is a respectful and humble kid. He goes out there and works hard and wants to be as good as he can be.

"Being a dad who was in and out for the most part until high school, that's the hardest part of being in the big leagues: the family. Dad is there, he's not there, he's there. It's hard, for the kids. The compliments I receive on how he conducts himself, that's the ultimate compliment for a parent."

Vladimir and Vladimir Guerrero

Vlad Sr: 6-3/235, R/R, OF -- Hall of Fame; 9-time All-Star; 2004 American League Most Valuable Player Award winnerr
Vlad Jr: 6-1/200, R/R, 3B -- Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect; MLB's No. 2

More than anyone in this group, Vlad Jr. gets compared to his dad. "Like his dad, but with better plate discipline," the scouting report often goes. Junior isn't as tall as dad, but there are some definite similarities. And the younger Guerrero is just fine with that.

"I love when they compare me to him. It makes me happy because it's always a great thing when someone compares you to the player you always wanted to be," Vlad Jr. said.

So far, he's done everything he can to live up to the name. He'd arguably been the best hitter in the Minor Leagues this year until he was sidelined with a knee injury recently. But big league lineage can come in handy for a young player even when he's on the disabled list.

"Not only my dad, but my whole family has been helping me to get through this," Vlad Jr. said. "Thanks to them, I feel great and I will keep giving my 100 percent to get this rehab done and come back and play at my best.

"I want to thank God for giving me a dad like him. He's always been there for me. He taught me a lot, not just in baseball -- also in life. I wish him a great Father's Day -- not only him, but to all fathers in the world."

Dwight and Dwight Smith

Dwight Sr: 5-11/175, L/R, OF -- 2nd in 1989 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner; .275/.333/.422; 1984 3rd-round pick
Dwight Jr: 5-11/195, L/R, OF -- .333/.397/.491 in 57 MLB AB; 2011 Comp A pick (No. 53)

Dwight Sr. was actually drafted by the Blue Jays in the January phase of the 1984 Draft, but he didn't sign. He landed with the Cubs that June and spent five seasons with Chicago, finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year Award voting in 1989. He had eight years of big league time when all was said and done, last appearing with the Braves in 1996.

Dwight Jr. was drafted by the Blue Jays with the 53rd overall pick of the 2011 Draft. It took six years, but he made his Major League debut in '17 and has been up with Toronto this year, picking up his first career big league homer. He has 57 career at-bats at the highest level, so he has some work to do to catch up to dad's career total of 1,807.

Lourdes and Lourdes Gurriel

Lourdes Sr: 6-0/198, R/R, OF/1B -- Longtime Cuban star; 1976-77 ROY; 1992 Olympic gold medalist
Lourdes Jr: 6-2/185, R/R, SS/2B -- .206/.229/.309 in 68 MLB AB; Signed for $22M in 2016

Lourdes Jr. defected from Cuba with his brother Yuli in 2016. Yuli made it to the big leagues that year and is a part of the Houston Astros team that won the World Series a year ago. Lourdes Jr. made it up to Toronto this year and has a pair of homers on his resume.

Dad is one of the most famous players in the history of Cuban baseball. Lourdes Sr. played for the national team for 15 years, won a gold medal, two batting titles and an MVP Award in Cuba. He also managed the national team. The Gurriels were a baseball dynasty in Cuba. The brothers playing in the United States now have an older brother who played 16 seasons in Cuba's Serie Nacional. They also have an uncle, great uncle and cousin who starred in Cuba.

Roger and Kacy Clemens

Roger: 6-4/205, R/R, RHP -- 7-time Cy Young Award winner; 1986 MVP; 1983 1st-round pick (No. 19)
Kacy: 6-0/200, L/R, 1B -- .260/.379/.425 in 435 MiLB AB; 2017 8th-round pick

Roger won 350 games, seven Cy Young Awards, two World Series rings and the 1986 AL MVP Award. Two of those Cy Young Awards came in his back-to-back seasons with the Blue Jays in '97 and '98, when he also led the league in wins and ERA.

Koby and Kacy, two of Roger's kids, have played pro ball. Koby's last year of affiliated ball was in the Blue Jays' organization, and Kacy is currently with Dunedin in the Florida State League after being an eighth-round pick in the 2017 Draft out of Texas. Younger brother Kody should join the Tigers after the Longhorns are done in the College World Series. Kacy is a first baseman who began the year in the Midwest League but moved up a level after posting a 1.077 OPS over his first 27 games.

Jeff and Griffin Conine

Jeff: 6-1/205, R/R, OF -- 2-time All-Star; 2-time WS champion; 1987 58th-round pick
Griffin: 6-1/200, L/R, OF -- 2-time 2nd-team All-ACC; 2018 2nd-round pick

Jeff was a 58th-round pick of the Royals back in 1987. He then defied the odds by spending parts of 17 seasons in the big leagues, making two All-Star games, winning two World Series titles and finishing with 214 homers and almost 2,000 hits.

His son, Griffin, beat him by 56 rounds when the Blue Jays made him a second-round pick this June. He had a huge showing in the Cape Cod League last summer, and then hit 18 homers in 216 at-bats this year at Duke and was No. 50 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects list. Conine fits the right-field profile well with his power bat and strong arm.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays, top Draft pick Groshans have deal

MLB.com

The Blue Jays have agreed to a deal with their top pick from the 2018 Draft, Jordan Groshans, according to a report from MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman on Tuesday. The club has not confirmed the report.

Toronto took Groshans, a shortstop and third baseman from Magnolia High School in Texas, with the No. 12 overall pick. Slot value for the No. 12 pick is $4,200,900. MLB.com's Jim Callis reports Goshan's bonus from the Jays is $3.4 million.

The Blue Jays have agreed to a deal with their top pick from the 2018 Draft, Jordan Groshans, according to a report from MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman on Tuesday. The club has not confirmed the report.

Toronto took Groshans, a shortstop and third baseman from Magnolia High School in Texas, with the No. 12 overall pick. Slot value for the No. 12 pick is $4,200,900. MLB.com's Jim Callis reports Goshan's bonus from the Jays is $3.4 million.

Draft Tracker: Every Blue Jays pick

The 18-year-old Groshans was rated the No. 31 prospect entering the Draft by MLB Pipeline. He has solid tools across the board, with a quick bat from the right side and the potential to develop plus power.

Groshans' teammate at Magnolia, right-handed pitcher Adam Kloffenstein, was also drafted by the Blue Jays. Kloffenstein, taken in the third round with the No. 88 overall pick, has already agreed to a deal with Toronto.

Including Tuesday's signings, the Blue Jays have agreed to terms with 26 of the 40 players selected in this year's Draft, including nine of their top 10 picks.

Toronto Blue Jays

Vlad Jr. visits the Blue Jays at the Trop

Toronto's top prospect optimistic he'll be back from injury 'sooner rather than later'
Special to MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Everyone expects Toronto's prized prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to eventually reach Tropicana Field -- along with all the other Major League ballparks -- but his Monday visit to the Rays' home park was purely to check in with the Blue Jays as he settles into his Florida rehabilitation program.

Guerrero, the No. 2 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, suffered a strained patellar tendon in his left knee on Wednesday while playing with Double-A New Hampshire. He's expected to miss at least four weeks.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Everyone expects Toronto's prized prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to eventually reach Tropicana Field -- along with all the other Major League ballparks -- but his Monday visit to the Rays' home park was purely to check in with the Blue Jays as he settles into his Florida rehabilitation program.

Guerrero, the No. 2 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, suffered a strained patellar tendon in his left knee on Wednesday while playing with Double-A New Hampshire. He's expected to miss at least four weeks.

View Full Game Coverage

Before the Blue Jays met the Rays, Guerrero said he's optimistic about a quick return to action. He seemed poised for a promotion to Triple-A after posting a .407/.457/.667 slash line, along with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 53 games with New Hampshire.

"Hopefully, I'll be on the field sooner rather than later,'' Guerrero said through an interpreter. "Just being out there and cheering for my teammates, that's the only thing I can do until I'm 100 percent.

"You always like to play. You want to be out there. But I can't control that I'm hurt now.''

Guerrero said he has been pleased -- but not surprised -- by his production with New Hampshire.

"I don't think when somebody is doing well on the field that you're surprised, because you have an offseason [to prepare],'' Guerrero said. "You get prepared to be good and that's what I did. I came prepared to play and thank God everything was going great.

"I'm not frustrated at all. Stuff happens that you can't control. I think it was meant to happen and it happened to me. I'm just going to go out there and try to be ready.''

Travis returns to lineup
Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis, who missed the previous two games with a sore right knee after an outfield collision with Kevin Pillar, was back in the lineup and batting ninth.

"He went out and tested it and he's good,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It's good news. [He missed] only a couple of days.''

Injury updates
• Third baseman Josh Donaldson worked out at the club's extended spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., taking batting practice off live pitching. He has done some baserunning, but his sore left calf has remained tender.

Donaldson has been out since May 28 and is eligible to come off the disabled list, but Gibbons isn't certain when Donaldson will return.

"We're just going day by day,'' Gibbons said. "He feels better, but he's not quite comfortable [enough].''

• Right-hander Marcus Stroman, out since May 11 with a right shoulder injury, is scheduled to pitch "about four innings'' for Class A Advanced Dunedin in Wednesday night's Florida State League home game against Port Charlotte. Stroman pitched three innings in a simulated game on Friday.

• Gibbons said left fielder Steve Pearce is scheduled to face live pitching this week for the first time since being placed on the DL with a strained left oblique. He has been out since May 2. If all goes well, Pearce could be on a rehabilitation assignment by the end of the week.

Guilmet added
Right-hander Preston Guilmet, acquired off waivers from the Cardinals, was officially added to the roster. Guilmet is making his third tour of duty with the Blue Jays, after making his MLB debut in 2013 and being claimed off waivers by Toronto in '14.

After spending 2017 with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League, Guilmet made two MLB appearances with the Cardinals this season, but saw most of his success at Triple-A Memphis (0.93 ERA in 29 innings, along with 35 strikeouts and just five walks).

"Any time there's a team out there to give you an opportunity, it's good news,'' Guilmet said. "I heard Toronto and I said, 'I've been there before … this will be fun.' I'm happy to be here. I'm not sure [of my role]. I got here, played a little catch and I'm ready to go.''

Draft pick signs
San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College right-hander Mike Pascoe, the Blue Jays' 24th-round pick in this year's Draft, received a $100,000 signing bonus. Pascoe, whose fastball hits the mid-90s, helped his team to the Junior College World Series. He bypassed a scholarship offer to St. John's.

Joey Johnston is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

Toronto Blue Jays

Knee injury to cost Vlad Jr. at least 4 weeks

Top prospect has strained patellar tendon in left knee
MLB.com

TORONTO -- Blue Jays top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be out for at least the next four weeks after he was diagnosed with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee.

Guerrero sustained the injury during a game for Double-A New Hampshire on Wednesday. He later underwent a series of examinations, which revealed the strain. Per the Blue Jays, Guerrero will be "managed conservatively, including initial rest and will be re-evaluated in four weeks post-injury."

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TORONTO -- Blue Jays top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be out for at least the next four weeks after he was diagnosed with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee.

Guerrero sustained the injury during a game for Double-A New Hampshire on Wednesday. He later underwent a series of examinations, which revealed the strain. Per the Blue Jays, Guerrero will be "managed conservatively, including initial rest and will be re-evaluated in four weeks post-injury."

View Full Game Coverage

The 19-year-old Guerrero is ranked as the No. 2 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, trailing only Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. for the No. 1 overall spot. Guerrero was in the midst of a borderline historic season for the Fisher Cats, with a .407/.457/.667 slash line with 11 homers and 55 RBIs in 53 games.

One of the biggest debates surrounding the Blue Jays this season was when Guerrero would get called up to the big leagues. He seemed to be on the verge of an imminent promotion to Triple-A Buffalo, and this injury will be considered a setback. But if Guerrero recovers as expected, there's no reason to believe he won't eventually head to the Bisons before the end of the year.

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Injury updates
• There has been no change in Josh Donaldson's status since the last time the Blue Jays provided an update on Friday afternoon. Donaldson continues to take batting practice and field ground balls, but he will have to complete a series of baserunning tests before returning to the lineup. Donaldson has been out since May 28 with a sore left calf. He is currently eligible to come off the disabled list, but it's not clear when the 32-year-old will return to the lineup. He remains day to day.

• Right-hander Marcus Stroman will make another start on Wednesday, but the Blue Jays have yet to announce where his outing will take place. Stroman tossed three innings in a simulated game on Friday at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., and is likely approaching the start of an official rehab assignment. The product of Duke has been out since May 11 with a right shoulder injury.

• Left fielder Steve Pearce is set to face live pitching this week for the first time since he was placed on the 10-day DL with a strained oblique. The 12-year veteran has been out since May 2, but there's an outside chance that he will begin a rehab assignment by the end of the week.

• Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis was held out of the lineup for the second consecutive game on Sunday afternoon because of a sore right knee. Toronto manager John Gibbons admitted that Travis' knee was "aching a little bit" during a media availability session on Saturday after a collision in the outfield with Kevin Pillar the night before. The Blue Jays are expected to be extra cautious with Travis because he has been plagued with knee issues throughout his big league career.

• The Blue Jays optioned left-hander Tim Mayza to Triple-A Buffalo following Sunday's 13-3 victory over the Orioles. Mayza tossed two scoreless innings in the win but he becomes the odd man out after Toronto claimed right-hander Preston Guilmet off waivers from the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Guilmet has yet to be officially added to the Blue Jays' 25-man roster, but that is expected to happen prior to Monday's game against the Rays.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays

Vlad Jr. lands on DL with left knee injury

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Blue Jays' top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was placed on the 7-day DL with Double-A New Hampshire on Thursday as he continues to undergo evaluations following a left knee injury sustained during Wednesday's game against Akron.

Guerrero was lifted for a pinch-runner in the fourth inning shortly after singling to right on Wednesday. Per reports out of New Hampshire, Guerrero limped off the field and appeared to be favoring his left leg, which he injured while running out an infield single on Saturday against Binghamton.

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TORONTO -- Blue Jays' top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was placed on the 7-day DL with Double-A New Hampshire on Thursday as he continues to undergo evaluations following a left knee injury sustained during Wednesday's game against Akron.

Guerrero was lifted for a pinch-runner in the fourth inning shortly after singling to right on Wednesday. Per reports out of New Hampshire, Guerrero limped off the field and appeared to be favoring his left leg, which he injured while running out an infield single on Saturday against Binghamton.

View Full Game Coverage

Guerrero is batting .407/.457/.667 with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 53 games for the Fisher Cats this season.

Toronto also released an update on right-hander Marcus Stroman, who is on the 10-day disabled list because of a shoulder injury. Stroman is scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. Stroman would then advance to an official rehab assignment.

Waiting word on Donaldson

Third baseman Josh Donaldson is eligible to return from the 10-day DL on Friday, but Toronto has yet to announce whether it's going to happen. Donaldson remained somewhat non-committal during a media availability on Wednesday and the following day his manager followed suit.

"When he comes back, he's going to be ready to go," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That's the way I look at it ... I don't know yet if [a Friday return] is going to happen. We'll see."

New position for Hernandez

The Blue Jays have decided to move Teoscar Hernandez to left field on a permanent basis. Hernandez has spent the majority of his time this season in right field, but he's experienced more than his fair share of defensive issues at the position. The 25-year-old has the arm for right, but his range and overall instincts seem better suited to left.

The move across the diamond likely will open the door for Randal Grichuk to receive more playing time. Grichuk, who made a rare start in center on Thursday night vs. Baltimore, will split time with veteran Curtis Granderson in right and, with the Blue Jays' record dipping well below .500, it's possible the Blue Jays will look to give the younger outfielder an extended look.

"Now and in the future, probably," Gibbons said of the Hernandez move. "Grandy can go either way. ... We figured we would move [Grichuk] back there because that might be his future spot."

More changes for Biagini

Right-hander Joe Biagini has once again abandoned his windup following a full-time move to the bullpen. Biagini opened his career in Toronto as a reliever and pitched out of the stretch, but when the 28-year-old was moved to the bullpen last year he began experimenting with a windup. The starting role has since been taken away and the Blue Jays are now focused on making it work as a reliever.

"I think throwing him back in the 'pen, I think it's going to take him a few appearances to get back to the way he used to be," Gibbons said of Biagini, who surrendered three runs in the 13th inning of Wednesday night's loss to New York. "I think he's still going to be valuable to us, but I didn't expect it to happen [right away]. You hope it did but he has to get back into that frame of mind, too. Cut it loose for however long you're out there."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays

Creativity was key in Blue Jays' Draft strategy

MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' 2018 MLB Draft ultimately will be defined by the depth and quality of prospects selected, but it was the unique strategy implemented on Day 1 that became the immediate takeaway from this week's annual event.

Toronto used a little bit of creativity to make the most of a $7,982,100 bonus pool for the first 10 rounds. Instead of spending $4.2 million on the 12th overall pick, the Blue Jays found someone they liked at a lower cost, took him earlier than expected and used the remaining money to essentially trade up later in the Draft.

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' 2018 MLB Draft ultimately will be defined by the depth and quality of prospects selected, but it was the unique strategy implemented on Day 1 that became the immediate takeaway from this week's annual event.

Toronto used a little bit of creativity to make the most of a $7,982,100 bonus pool for the first 10 rounds. Instead of spending $4.2 million on the 12th overall pick, the Blue Jays found someone they liked at a lower cost, took him earlier than expected and used the remaining money to essentially trade up later in the Draft.

Draft Tracker: Every Blue Jays pick

The end result was shortstop Jordan Groshans and right-hander Adam Kloffenstein -- teammates at Magnolia (Texas) High School -- selected No. 12 and No. 88, respectively. Those two first-round talents for the price of one, along with No. 52 pick Griffin Conine -- son of former Major Leaguer Jeff Conine -- gave Toronto a total of five catchers, nine infielders, four outfielders and 22 pitchers over the course of three days.

"The way the Draft worked out, we were certainly opportunistic in being able to make it happen, which we were excited about," director of amateur scouting Steve Sanders said. "A lot of things had to go right for that to happen, but [we got] two guys that we were certainly interested in coming into the Draft."

Blue Jays draft Groshans, Conine on Day 1

Blue Jays' social media came to life when Toronto was put on the clock with its first-round pick on Monday night. Top pitching prospects Brady Singer and Matthew Liberatore were projected to go early in a lot of mock drafts, yet both were still available at No. 12. For a team that needed pitching to augment an emerging class of elite position players, it seemed almost too good to be true.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Then something unexpected happened. The Blue Jays passed on the highly touted arms and announced the 18-year-old Groshans as their pick. That raised eyebrows -- among fans and media alike -- because although Groshans was a heavily scouted prospect, he also wasn't supposed to go this early. MLB Pipeline ranked him at No. 31. He wasn't expected to be there when Toronto picked again at No. 52, but the first round? Twelfth overall?

Though the reasoning wasn't clear outside the organization, internally, the Blue Jays were putting the wheels in motion for a plan that addresses the need for pitching, just not the names people were expecting, and the decision was tied to the first-round pick. Kloffenstein, who had a strong commitment to Texas Christian University, was the target. The 17-year-old was expected to go to school, but he also had made it widely known that he would turn pro for the right price.

Toronto drafts Kloffenstein, Groshans' teammate

"It was pretty wild," Kloffenstein said. "I didn't expect it to happen the way it did. I was expecting to go on the first day. We did some talking and we did some stuff with other teams, and I told them 'No.' ... Then the Blue Jays called and said they wanted both of the Magnolia boys, and I said, 'Well, with the two slots you have left, you'll have to do a lot better than what the slots were.' They were like, 'OK, we'll try to get there.'"

Video: Draft 2018: Blue Jays draft RHP Kloffenstein No. 88

After a back and forth, Toronto reportedly did get there. The 88th overall pick came with an approximate slot value of $653,000, but according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kloffenstein signed for approximately $2.5 million. It's not officially a package deal with Groshans, but it might as well be based on how the events unfolded.

If targeting the high school teammates was the plan all along, the Blue Jays did an impressive job of keeping it under wraps. Kloffenstein told MLB.com that to his knowledge, he was in play for upwards of 15 teams going into the Draft, and Toronto was not among them. That changed with one late-night phone call.

"We're really excited about both," Sanders said. "Both guys have been on our radar for a long time, both on their own merit. We certainly saw a lot of Magnolia High School this year."

Worth mentioning

• Nineteen Canadians were taken in this year's Draft, and Toronto grabbed two of them: right-hander Will McAffer (North Vancouver, B.C.) and third baseman Damiano Palmegiani (Surrey, B.C.) in the 25th and 35th rounds, respectively. Catcher Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) was the top overall Canadian, selected 29th overall by Cleveland.

• In the 36th round, the Blue Jays took a flyer on high school catcher Kameron Guangorena, who has a strong commitment to Cal State Fullerton. Guangorena is not expected to sign, but if one of the higher-priced deals falls through, then he could become an option. Guangorena was ranked the No. 104 prospect in the Draft by MLB Pipeline.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays

Vlad Jr. injured in Minor League game

MLB.com

Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. left Wednesday's game against the Akron RubberDucks with an injury.

The Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect, and the No. 2 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, beat out an infield single in the fourth and then advanced to second on a sharp single to right field by Cavan Biggio. Guerrero had to slide into second, and when he got up from the slide, he immediately signaled that he wanted to come out of the game, then walked slowly off the field under his own power. He was replaced on the basepaths by Gunnar Heidt.

View Full Game Coverage

Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. left Wednesday's game against the Akron RubberDucks with an injury.

The Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect, and the No. 2 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, beat out an infield single in the fourth and then advanced to second on a sharp single to right field by Cavan Biggio. Guerrero had to slide into second, and when he got up from the slide, he immediately signaled that he wanted to come out of the game, then walked slowly off the field under his own power. He was replaced on the basepaths by Gunnar Heidt.

View Full Game Coverage

While the Blue Jays have not yet commented on the injury, New Hampshire Fisher Cats manager John Schneider downplayed its severity in a statement to MiLB.com:

"He feels fine -- we're just being cautious with it," Schneider said. "He checks out fine, but with him and all of our players, we're just being careful and making sure he's good to go."

Guerrero has dominated Double-A this season. Through 53 games, he's batting .407 with 11 home runs, 55 RBIs and a .457 on-base percentage.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com.

Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto drafts Kloffenstein, Groshans' teammate

Righty picked in 3rd round after Blue Jays take shortstop in 1st round
MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays doubled down on Texas' Magnolia High School during Day 2 of the MLB Draft by selecting right-hander Adam Kloffenstein -- teammate of first-rounder Jordan Groshans -- with their third-round pick Tuesday.

Kloffenstein had a 1.20 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 17 walks over 80 innings as a senior. He reportedly sits in the low 90s with heavy sink on his two-seam fastball and can touch 96 mph with his four-seamer. At 6-foot-5, he projects to be durable and already has a plus cutter with the action of a slider.

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays doubled down on Texas' Magnolia High School during Day 2 of the MLB Draft by selecting right-hander Adam Kloffenstein -- teammate of first-rounder Jordan Groshans -- with their third-round pick Tuesday.

Kloffenstein had a 1.20 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 17 walks over 80 innings as a senior. He reportedly sits in the low 90s with heavy sink on his two-seam fastball and can touch 96 mph with his four-seamer. At 6-foot-5, he projects to be durable and already has a plus cutter with the action of a slider.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Blue Jays Draft pick

The only knock on Kloffenstein entering this Draft was his signability. The 17-year-old had a strong commitment to Texas Christian University and admitted in the days leading up to the Draft that it would take something "pretty extravagant" to convince him to forgo school. In the end, the Blue Jays gave it to him.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kloffenstein reached a deal for approximately $2.5 million, which is well above the approximate slot value of $653,000 for the 88th overall pick. As it turns out, the Blue Jays were able to turn the Magnolia pair into a package deal where Groshans received less than the slot value for the 12th overall pick, which allowed Toronto to accommodate his teammate and close friend.

"If he hadn't taken less, they would not have gotten me," Kloffenstein told MLB.com. "I don't know if they planned it that way, but that's the way it happened. [Groshans] came to my house after he got drafted. He was like, 'Dude, you have to take it, you have to take it, you have to go.' I was like, 'I'm not taking less, but if they give me what I want, I'll go.' They finally got there. It took a little bit of going back and forth, but they got there."

Kloffenstein was a two-way star for his high school team as the club's No. 3 hitter, but he will focus on pitching with the Blue Jays. The 243-pounder has three no-hitters on his resume and he was on the 40-man roster for the Team USA under-18 squad. Per reports, Kloffenstein's stock rose dramatically over the last year thanks in part to a 4-5 mph addition on his fastball.

Video: Adam Kloofenstein records a strikeout in his outing

According to Kloffenstein, the deal came together late Monday night. Several other teams called but could not put together an enticing enough package. The Blue Jays became a surprise entry after taking Groshans in the first round, and following a back and forth on price, the two sides were able to reach an unofficial agreement. That means Kloffenstein will be turning pro and reporting to Dunedin, Fla., in the coming weeks once the ink is dry.

"Honestly, I didn't," Kloffenstein said when asked if he expected the Blue Jays to target him. "I had some teams that I knew liked me a lot. Some teams that I knew were looking at maybe supplemental first, maybe a chance to get into the bottom of the first round. Definitely had a lot of buzz about high in the second round, but my agent was like, 'Hey, I really don't know where we're going to be.'

"We had about 15 teams in the mix and he never really said anything about the Blue Jays. Once they got Jordan as high as they did ... Jordan said within three minutes of the phone call, they were already talking about me and needing to get Jordan over to my house to get me on board."

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.

Round 4: RHP Sean Wymer, TCU
Speaking of TCU, that's where the Blue Jays discovered their fourth-round pick. Wymer began his college career as a reliever and led his school to the College World Series by retiring 35 of the 39 batters he faced and picking up a pair of wins in the postseason. The 21-year-old partially transitioned to the rotation this season and went 6-3 with a 3.65 ERA and 69 strikeouts over 15 appearances, including 10 starts.

Per Wymer's MLB Pipeline scouting report, he sits at 89-92 mph with his fastball but has the ability to hit 95-96 mph in shorter stints. He also possesses a curveball, slider and changeup in his four-pitch mix. The Blue Jays likely will give him every opportunity to stick as a starter, but there are some who ultimately believe he will end up in the bullpen. The 116th overall pick comes with an approximate value of $479,000.

Video: Draft Report: Sean Wymer, College pitcher

Round 5: C Christopher Bec, University of Maine
The Blue Jays went a little off the board with their fifth-round selection. Bec was not ranked in MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Prospects but he plays a prime position and the 22-year-old posted some eye-popping numbers at the University of Maine with 21 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and a .315/.379/.539 slash line in 45 games. As a fourth-year senior, Bec should be an easy sign for the Blue Jays, and some of the resources likely can be reallocated to accommodate Kloffenstein or another tough sign, such as Toronto's next selection.

Round 6: SS Addison Barger, C. Leon King High School (Fla.)
The Blue Jays opted for another aggressive choice by taking Barger, who was ranked as the No. 143 prospect by MLB Pipeline and has a commitment to the University of Florida. The left-handed-hitting middle infielder posted a .354 batting average and 11 extra-base hits this season with plus bat speed and a line-drive approach.

Per scouting reports, Barger has the arm to play shortstop but there are some questions about his range, which leads some to believe he eventually will transition to second or third base. Similarly to top prospect Bo Bichette and top pick Groshans, if the Blue Jays are able to sign Barger away from Florida, he likely will be given every opportunity to stick at short.

Video: Draft Report: Addison Barger, High School shortstop

Round 7: 2B Nick Podkul, Notre Dame
For the second time in three years, the Blue Jays have swiped a second baseman from the Fighting Irish. In 2016, it was Cavan Biggio, who has since turned into one of the club's more promising prospects despite not receiving a lot of hype on Draft day. Podkul offers a similar skill set in the sense that he does a little bit of everything well. Podkul led Notre Dame this season with a .525 slugging percentage to go along with 24 extra-base hits and a .312 batting average in 54 games. The approximate slot value for the No. 206 pick is $212,000.

Video: WEST@EAST: Podkul hits a two-run home run

Round 8: RHP Joey Murray, Kent State
Murray doesn't blow anybody away with a fastball that typically sits 87-88 mph and maxes out around 91, but he was able to post some impressive numbers thanks to a deceptive arm angle. Murray went 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA while striking out 141 batters over 95 2/3 innings. The fourth-year junior should be another easy sign for the Blue Jays at the No. 236 pick, which comes with an approximate slot value of $170,000.

Round 9: 1B Jake Brodt, Santa Clara
Brodt made headlines earlier this year when he became the seventh Division 1 player to hit two grand slams in the same inning since the NCAA began keeping records in 1957. He was the first player to accomplish the feat since Louisiana Tech's T.J. Soto. Brodt is a 6-foot-4 senior who slashed .270/.335/.555 across 52 games and was recently named second team All-West Coast Conference after leading the league with 15 home runs. The ninth-round pick comes with an approximate slot value of $150,000.

Round 10: CF Cal Stevenson, University of Arizona
Toronto used its final pick of the day on a 5-foot-10 center fielder who is considered a plus runner with average arm strength. Stevenson is a 21-year-old senior who was plagued by a hand injury late in the season and finished the regular season hitting .293 with an .813 OPS. He struck out just 16 times compared to 35 walks and he recently earned an honorable mention as an All-Pac-12 honoree. The No. 296 pick comes with an approximate slot value of $140,000.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays draft Groshans, Conine on Day 1

With No. 12 overall, club selects Texas high school standout
MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays prioritized adding another potent bat to their infield on Monday night by selecting one of the best all-around hitters in the high school ranks with the 12th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Blue Jays pick

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays prioritized adding another potent bat to their infield on Monday night by selecting one of the best all-around hitters in the high school ranks with the 12th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Blue Jays pick

Toronto chose 18-year-old shortstop Jordan Groshans from Magnolia High School in Texas during the first round. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior garnered attention for his bat speed and a lack of glaring weaknesses in his overall game. Groshans already possesses some power, and there's an expectation for more as he grows into his athletic frame.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

The Blue Jays used their second pick of the day on Duke outfielder Griffin Conine, who is the son of former Major Leaguer Jeff Conine. The Draft continues on Tuesday with rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m.

The Blue Jays had been following Groshans since last summer, when he was making the rounds on the showcase circuit. Reports suggest he has a mature approach at the plate and makes consistent hard line-drive contact with a swing that eventually will be tweaked to generate a little bit more loft as he moves to wood bats.

"His ability on the field is undeniable," Blue Jays director of amateur scouting Steve Sanders said of Groshans. "Offensively and defensively he brings tools to the table, and he's somebody we believe has the potential to be a middle-of-the-lineup hitter at the Major League level."

Groshans is listed at shortstop and the Blue Jays will give him an opportunity to stay there, but most scouting reports suggest he is destined for third base. Sanders said the Blue Jays have seen him play at both positions and didn't rule out a future at either spot. Instead, Sanders said that decision is something that will be "played out over time" as Groshans moves through the system.

There is a commitment to the University of Kansas to consider, where Groshans would potentially join his brother Jaxx, but the Blue Jays don't seem too concerned about signability. Sanders said Toronto was "certainly confident" that the two sides would be able to work something out. The 12th overall pick comes with a recommended slot value of $4,200,900, and the Blue Jays have a pool of $7,982,100 to spend on the first 10 rounds.

"We just feel Jordan has a lot of the attributes we look for," Sanders said. "Both in his swing, his combination of contact, of power, of plate discipline. He has a great feel and approach in the box. He is able to drive the ball to all fields, and again, we're confident that his offensive ability will certainly translate with wood [bats] at the next level."

Conine, who was taken with the 52nd overall pick, is said to have comparable upside to that of his two-time All-Star father. He fits the right-field profile as a prototypical power hitter. In 216 at-bats, he hit 18 home runs for a Duke team that just won the Athens Regional with a victory over Georgia. Conine also is considered a sound defender with modest quickness and he was ranked the No. 50 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Video: Draft 2018: Blue Jays draft RF Griffin Conine No. 52

Toronto's second pick comes with an approximate value of $1.4 million. Conine was recently named to the second-team All-ACC for the second consecutive year. He is the first Duke player to record double-digit home runs in back-to-back seasons since former Athletic Nate Freiman (2008-09), but he'll need to work on making more consistent contact as evidenced by 72 strikeouts for the Blue Devils this season.

Tweet from @Griffin_Co9: Couldn't be happier to be a part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization! Seems like they like the Dukies! @MStrooo6 @BlueJays

Groshans was ranked 31st overall by MLB Pipeline heading into this Draft. Toronto had the option of targeting pitching at No. 12, after right-hander Brady Singer (No. 2) and high school lefty Matthew Liberatore (No. 4) dropped further than most mock drafts expected. The Blue Jays opted to add another high-level position player to a mix that includes third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., shortstop Bo Bichette, second baseman Cavan Biggio and last year's first-round pick Logan Warmoth, among others.

"We obviously stacked the players and had decisions to make along the way," Sanders said, when asked about passing on Singer and Liberatore. "There were a lot of good players available. This is a strong Draft both offensively and on the pitching side. Ultimately we felt that Jordan was the best fit for our pick, but there were a number of other players, including some pitchers, we certainly considered and had interest in as well."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays seek high-end pitching in Draft

With elite position players in system, arms will be top priority
MLB.com

The Blue Jays have one of the most promising Minor League systems in baseball, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Anthony Alford and others won't be able to do everything on their own. If the next generation of talent is going to be successful, depth will be key, and additional high-ceiling talent will be needed. That's where the MLB Draft comes into play.

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com tonight at 6 ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

The Blue Jays have one of the most promising Minor League systems in baseball, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Anthony Alford and others won't be able to do everything on their own. If the next generation of talent is going to be successful, depth will be key, and additional high-ceiling talent will be needed. That's where the MLB Draft comes into play.

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com tonight at 6 ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Blue Jays' Top 30 Prospects

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Blue Jays, whose first selection is the 12th overall pick:

In about 50 words

The Blue Jays have been trying to rebuild on the fly and the best way to do that is with a successful draft. The lower levels of Toronto's system have been stocked and depth is no longer the pressing concern it once was. That could allow the front office to gamble on high-risk, high-reward picks, but recent history has shown a preference for the college route.

The scoop

Steve Sanders is about to oversee his second MLB Draft as the Blue Jays' director of amateur scouting. Sanders spent two years as Boston's assistant director of amateur scouting before joining Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins in the Blue Jays' front office during the fall of 2016. In Sanders' first draft, he used nine of his first 11 picks on college players, with catcher Hagen Danner and Junior College righty Nate Pearson as the lone exceptions.

Video: Top Prospects: Hagen Danner, C, Blue Jays

First-round buzz

Toronto has taken a college arm with a first-round pick during each of the last four Drafts, and according to MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo, there's a chance it will happen again. In his latest mock draft, Mayo linked Toronto to lefty Shane McClanahan from the University of South Florida. Mayo also previously linked the Blue Jays to LHP Ryan Rolison, RHP Logan Gilbert and RHP Jackson Kowar. Jim Callis thinks there's a chance Toronto will go with a younger position player and he mentions OF Jarred Kelenic, 3B Nolan Gorman, SS Xavier Edwards, 3B Jordan Groshans and C Noah Naylor as possibilities.

Video: Draft Report: Shane McClanahan, College pitcher

Money matters

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

This year, the Blue Jays have a pool of $7,982,100 to spend in the first 10 rounds, including $4,200,900 to spend on their first selection.

Shopping list

The Blue Jays have one of the best Minor League systems in baseball. Toronto is loaded with elite position player talent -- Guerrero, Bichette and Alford just to name a few -- but there is a clear need for quality pitching in the upper levels. The future looks bright for Sean Reid-Foley, Nate Pearson and T.J. Zeuch, but the Blue Jays need some additional arms to complement their emerging depth in the field. The current configuration adds to the case that Toronto should stock up on college arm early in the draft, but if the strategy is best player available, they could look to add another elite bat instead.

Video: Top Prospects: Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays

Trend watch

The Blue Jays have taken a starting pitcher in the first round each of the last nine years. A couple of those drafts involved multiple picks where position players were taken as well, but there has been a clear emphasis on starting from the mound and building out from there.

Rising fast

Double-A second baseman Cavan Biggio entered this season outside of MLB Pipeline's top 30 Blue Jays prospects, but he has since moved up to No. 18. While Guerrero and Bichette get almost all of the attention, Biggio has managed to somewhat quietly put up some of the best numbers in the Eastern League. Through Biggio's first 44 games of the season, he was batting .313 with 12 home runs and a 1.108 OPS. Some critics will point to the Fisher Cats' hitter friendly ballpark for lefties, but if Biggio continues to hit like this, his overall ranking will only improve, and he may have a chance to join that next wave of talent headlined by Bichette and Guerrero.

Video: Cavan Biggio is on the rise in the Blue Jays' system

Cinderella story

The Blue Jays have several Cinderella stories on their 25-man roster. Center fielder Kevin Pillar fell all the way to the 32nd round in the 2011 MLB Draft, reliever Danny Barnes went in the 35th round of the 2010 draft and Russell Martin was passed over after his first year of junior college before going to the Dodgers in the 17th round of the 2002 draft. In the Minors, lefty Ryan Borucki is ranked Toronto's No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, but he didn't get picked until the 15th round in 2012. One name to keep an eye on here is Class A Lansing OF Chavez Young, who was taken in the 39th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, but has posted an OPS above .800 so far this season for the Lugnuts.

Video: Top Prospects: Ryan Borucki, LHP, Blue Jays

In the show

There are currently 14 players on the 40-man roster who were original draft picks by the Blue Jays, and all but three have made at least one appearance for the big league club. Barnes (2010, 35th round) LHP Aaron Loup (2009, 9th round), LHP Tim Mayza (2013, 12th round), RHP Deck McGuire (2010, 1st round), RHP Aaron Sanchez (2010, 1st round), RHP Marcus Stroman (2012, 1st round), RHP Ryan Tepera (2009, 19th round), Alford (2012, 3rd round), Pillar (2011, 32nd round), OF Dalton Pompey (2010, 16th round) and OF Dwight Smith Jr. (2011, 1st round) have all received opportunities. Borucki (15th round, 2012), C Danny Janssen (2013, 16th round) and 1B Rowdy Tellez (2013, 30th round) are the other four on the 40-man roster who have yet to make their debut.

The Blue Jays' recent top picks

2017: SS Logan Warmoth (Class A Advanced Dunedin), RHP Nate Pearson (Class A Advanced Dunedin)

2016: RHP T.J. Zeuch (Double-A New Hampshire)

2015: RHP Jon Harris (Double-A New Hampshire)

2014: C Max Pentecost (Double-A New Hampshire), RHP Jeff Hoffman (Traded to Colorado)

2013: RHP Phil Bickford (Did not sign)

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays

Vlad Jr. goes back-to-back with Bichette

MLB.com

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. continued to wow the baseball world on Friday night as the 19-year-old raised his Minor League-leading average to .435 by going 3-for-4 with his 10th homer of the season -- the second half of back-to-back jacks with fellow phenom Bo Bichette. The Blue Jays' top two prospects helped power Double-A New Hampshire to a 10-3 win over Hartford.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. continued to wow the baseball world on Friday night as the 19-year-old raised his Minor League-leading average to .435 by going 3-for-4 with his 10th homer of the season -- the second half of back-to-back jacks with fellow phenom Bo Bichette. The Blue Jays' top two prospects helped power Double-A New Hampshire to a 10-3 win over Hartford.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Guerrero (MLB's No. 2 overall prospect) and Bichette (No. 11) went deep on consecutive pitches in the seventh inning and combined to go 6-for-8 with six RBIs and five runs scored.

Guerrero has hits in 13 of his past 14 games and has reached base in 33 straight contests, the longest streak in the Eastern League this year. The youngest player in all of Double-A, Guerrero has strung together four straight multihit performances and is hitting .553 (21-for-38) over his past 10 games.

While Guerrero seemingly steals the headlines on a nightly basis, Bichette also had a big day, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs to go with his third homer of the year, a three-run shot. The 20-year-old infielder is off to a relatively slow start (.261/.337/.422) after hitting .362 last year to become the first teenager since 1963 to lead the Minors in batting average.

Watch: MiLB Video

The duo is often talked about together and has certainly given Blue Jays fans plenty of reason to be excited for the future. Friday's back-to-back homers marked the second time in as many nights that the organization's top two prospects went deep in the same inning, as they each homered in the fifth inning of Thursday's game as well.

While Guerrero and Bichette were providing the offense, Jon Harris (Blue Jays No. 30), gave up two unearned runs over 7 1/3 innings on the mound.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Toronto Blue Jays

These are the 5 AL East prospects to watch

MLB.com

The 2018 MLB Draft is less than two weeks away, which means the focus will soon shift to the next generation of talent, but there are already some top prospects knocking on the door in the American League East.

As part of MLB.com's weekly series that dives into some of the biggest storylines within the division, here's a closer look at some prospects who deserve some of your attention.

The 2018 MLB Draft is less than two weeks away, which means the focus will soon shift to the next generation of talent, but there are already some top prospects knocking on the door in the American League East.

As part of MLB.com's weekly series that dives into some of the biggest storylines within the division, here's a closer look at some prospects who deserve some of your attention.

Video: BAL@TB: Harvey K's three in Spring Training debut

ORIOLES
Prospect:
Hunter Harvey, RHP
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 3 (Orioles)
Why you should keep an eye on him: The Orioles are going through a tough time, and there isn't much on the horizon in the Minor League system when it comes to top-flight pitching. Harvey could be an exception. The son of former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey, Hunter was terrific in his 2014 full-season debut, earning a spot in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at just 19, roughly one year after Baltimore had selected him with the 22nd overall pick in the '13 Draft. But elbow issues slowed Harvey's progress, and he missed part of '14 and all of '15 before ultimately undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2016. Harvey finally returned to the mound last July, and he looked like his old self while excelling across three levels. His injury history aside, Harvey remains loaded with upside. Now a member of the Orioles' 40-man roster, he has already made a trip to Baltimore (thought he didn't get into a game), and he could still achieve his projection as a solid MLB starter -- an area of need for the O's.
ETA: Harvey will be back in orange and black this season, his debut a much-anticipated event among Orioles faithful.

Video: NEU@BOS: Beeks whiffs Geaslen for his third K

RED SOX
Prospect:
Jalen Beeks, LHP
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 15 (Red Sox)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Beeks has been electric for Triple-A Pawtucket this season, posting a 2.28 ERA in nine starts and striking out 65 in 43 1/3 innings.
ETA: As soon as this season. If the Red Sox have an injury in the rotation, Beeks could be the next man up. A 12th-round Draft pick in 2014, Beeks has progressed steadily in his time in the farm system.

Video: NYY@PHI: Sheffield whiffs Joseph in the 3rd

YANKEES
Prospect: Justus Sheffield, LHP
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 3 (Yankees), No. 44 (MLB)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Sheffield recently earned a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after posting a 2.25 ERA in five starts at Double-A Trenton, where he struck out 39 against 14 walks in 28 innings. Though he is still working on refining his command, Sheffield's three-pitch mix continues to excite the Yankees, who project him as a mid-rotation starter in the near future. Sheffield has served a brief stint on the seven-day disabled list with shoulder tightness, but he is set to return to action this week. A prize of the July 2016 Andrew Miller trade with the Indians, Sheffield could be an option for the big league squad this summer.
ETA: *Sheffield could get his first call to the Majors some time* this season.

Video: Callis on why Guerrero Jr. has not been called up yet

BLUE JAYS
Prospect:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 1 (Blue Jays), No. 2 (MLB)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Guerrero arguably is the Blue Jays' most hyped prospect of all-time, and there is a real expectation that he will develop into one of the best players in baseball. Double-A pitchers have been no match for the Dominican native, who has a ridiculous .425/.479/.694 slash line and 45 RBIs in 41 games. It has been almost too easy for the son of a Hall of Famer, and even at just 19 years of age, his bat appears to be big league-ready.
ETA: Most people would say 2018, but the Blue Jays are taking a very cautious approach here. Guerrero is all but assured of having a stint at Triple-A Buffalo before making the jump to the Major Leagues. That means his arrival in Toronto is not going to happen any time soon, and there's still a very real chance he won't be promoted until late April of next year.

Video: Must C Classic: Adames hits HR off Sale for first hit

RAYS
Prospect: Willy Adames, SS
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 2 (Rays), No. 22 (MLB)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Farm director Mitch Lukevics has long said that Adames has the "It" factor. He has succeeded at every level since coming to the Rays in a 2014 trade that sent David Price to the Tigers. Adames has a slick glove, he hits for average and he hits for power.
ETA: The Rays brought him up Monday, though they've already said he will be returned to Triple-A Durham, even though he homered in his first Major League game. He shouldn't be back down in the Minors for long.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames, Jalen Beeks, Hunter Harvey, Justus Sheffield