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Blue Jays go college route on Day 2 of Draft

June 13, 2017

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays decided to skip the high school ranks and load up on college players during Day 2 of the MLB Draft.Toronto used all eight of its picks to select college players after taking UNC shortstop Logan Warmoth, junior college righty Nate Pearson and high schooler Hagen

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays decided to skip the high school ranks and load up on college players during Day 2 of the MLB Draft.
Toronto used all eight of its picks to select college players after taking UNC shortstop Logan Warmoth, junior college righty Nate Pearson and high schooler Hagen Danner on Day 1. One catcher, three infielders, one outfielder and three pitchers were selected by the club on Tuesday.
The Blue Jays began the afternoon by drafting catcher Riley Adams from the University of San Diego with their third-round pick. ranked Adams at No. 73 overall, but the Blue Jays got him at No. 99 with their first of eight picks on the day.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at noon ET.
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"We talked about it going in. Our plan was to take the best player available to us, and oftentimes, regardless of position or demographic, the way the Draft board is lined up is how the Draft presented itself to us," Blue Jays director of amateur scouting Steve Sanders said. "We work within some bounds of a signing-bonus pool, and how we allocate those funds. That factors into some of our decisions, but all in all, our goal is to take the best player available and that's what we've done."
Adams garnered a lot of attention coming out of high school, but opted to attend San Diego instead of signing with the Cubs as a 37th-round pick in 2014. Known for his power, Adams is coming off a season in which he hit .312 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs while starting all 54 of the Toreros' games. He was considered by some to be the best-hitting catcher available in the Draft, but he needs to work on his receiving behind the plate.
"Riley is a bigger guy. He's also extremely athletic," Sanders said. "He's improved as a catcher, at least from our looks as the season went on. He's got a really strong throwing arm, which helped him control the running game this year. ... Offensively he's big, strong, athletic, he's got power and hit well both this spring and in the Cape [Cod League] last summer. So we feel that he's got a chance to bring value on both sides of the ball."

Round 4: SS Kevin Smith, University of Maryland
Smith spent the last three years as Maryland's starting shortstop. He has above-average power and is coming off a season in which he hit 13 homers with 48 RBIs and a .552 slugging percentage. According to most reports, Smith can get into trouble by becoming too pull happy at the plate; he struck out 48 times in 194 at-bats this season. had Smith ranked No. 91 heading into the Draft, and the Blue Jays got him at No. 129. He should be able to remain at shortstop, and he'll face internal competition from Toronto's first-round pick this year, Warmoth, while advancing up the organization. Smith was an All-Star in the Cape Cod League and a postseason MVP.
"His glove is one of the strengths of his game," Sanders said. "He also has some power, enjoyed a strong Cape League season, and despite some early struggles this year really turned things around and finished on a high note. He's a guy we feel good about, getting him where we did."
Round 5: 2B Cullen Large, College of William & Mary
Toronto's run on offensive-minded players who can play up the middle of the diamond continued with this pick. There are some questions surrounding Large's defense at second base, but he has always been able to hit. In 56 games this season, Large hit .338/.419/.507 with 24 extra-base hits and 39 RBIs.

Large fits a similar profile to some of the other prospects Toronto targeted earlier in the Draft. Warmoth, Danner, Adams and Smith all have plus bats for their positions, but some scouting reports have questioned their defense. In Large, Toronto gets a second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference player who ranks 10th on his program's all-time hits list with 225.
"We see Cullen Large as a guy with a solid, all-around skill set," Sanders said. "A really good bat, a switch-hitter, a guy who has the ability to play multiple positions and potentially move around in a utility-type role. This is a guy who's been a strong performer, and we feel confident he will be able to hit at a high level and provide value. We think his defensive ability has some versatility."
Round 6: OF Brock Lundquist, Long Beach State
Lundquist will start his professional career with a couple of high-profile Blue Jays players in his corner. The Long Beach State Dirtbags baseball program has an impressive list of alumni in the Major Leagues, including Troy Tulowitzki and Marco Estrada, as well as the Rays' Evan Longoria. Not since 2010 had Toronto taken any players from Long Beach State, which boasted 14 alumni in the big leagues at the start of this season.

In 63 games this year, Lundquist hit .277/.388/.429 with 22 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs. He was selected by the A's in the 37th round of the 2014 Draft, but he opted for college, where he went on to become a three-time All-Big West performer. Lundquist spent this season as an everyday right fielder, but some scouting reports suggest he will be a better fit in left. He became the sixth position player taken in Toronto's first seven selections of the Draft.
Round 7: RHP Colton Laws, UNC Charlotte
Laws comes with an imposing 6-foot-7, 215-pound physique, but he's more about command than pure power. According to's scouting report, Laws typically hits 88-91 mph with his fastball, but he can touch 93 and has a plus slider. He needs to work on his changeup.
Laws, 21, went through a stretch of 27 consecutive scoreless innings for UNC Charlotte this season, and he finished 7-2 with a 1.87 ERA while striking out 94 over 96 1/3 innings. He joined second baseman Brett Netzer (third round, Red Sox) as the two UNC Charlotte players to go in the first seven rounds.

"Our hope with most of these arms is to send them out as starters," Sanders said. "Colton, as a bigger guy at 6-foot-7, he's got three pitches, he throws a lot of strikes, very steep plane obviously by nature of being as tall as he is, and having an excellent year this year. We see somebody who is big, strong, durable, able to log innings, and throws strikes with all three of his pitches."
Round 8: 1B Kacy Clemens, University of Texas
The Blue Jays are inadvertently putting together a Minor League Dream Team of baseball fathers. Last year, Toronto selected infielder Cavan Biggio (son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio) and Bo Bichette (son of longtime Major Leaguer Dante Bichette) to go along with international free agent signee Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (son of potential future Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero). Now it's the son of Roger Clemens who joins the organization, but unlike his father, Kacy wants to make his living with the bat.

Clemens was the offensive MVP for the Longhorns this season, and he led his team in almost every major category. He hit .305/.414/.532 with 12 home runs, 49 RBIs and 48 runs scored. He spent some time on the mound his first two seasons at college, but he moved more permanently to first base in 2017 and is considered an elite defender at the position.
"We've seen progression out of him," Sanders said. "He's enjoying probably the best year of his career as a senior. He's a team leader and exhibits a lot of things we look for in a player, both on and off the field."
Round 9: LHP Zach Logue, University of Kentucky
Toronto went with its first left-handed pitcher in the ninth round of the Draft. Logue is coming off a season in which he went 7-5 with a 4.97 ERA over 87 innings. He made all but three of his 18 appearances as a starter, but the 21-year-old might be best served coming out of the bullpen.

Last summer, Logue appeared exclusively out of the bullpen in the Cape Cod League and posted a 1.97 ERA over 27 1/3 innings. He allowed just 26 hits while striking out 26 and allowed just four runs over his final 17 outings. Logue has a fastball-slider combo that would also benefit him as a hard-throwing reliever.
"He's a guy we feel confident can be pretty versatile," Sanders said. "That was one of the added things that drew us to him. We haven't had a chance to really look into how we'll send him out, but he's shown the ability to start and log innings this spring, so it's certainly something we'll consider as we send him out into his professional development."
Round 10: RHP Justin Dillon, Cal State Sacramento
Dillon cracked the top 10 rounds despite an injury-plagued career with Cal State Sacramento. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013 and later missed most of 2016 because of a groin injury. Dillon briefly thought about turning away from baseball, but he returned for a senior season and threw a no-hitter in his second start back.
The 23-year-old is coming off a season in which he went 5-8 with a 3.36 ERA over 19 appearances, including 17 starts. His big day came against Northern Kentucky on Feb. 23, when he struck out 13 and threw the first no-no in school history. Late last month, Dillon was named MVP at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.

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