Blue Jays sign RHP draftees Van Eyk, Palmer

June 18th, 2020

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays announced on Thursday that they've signed right-hander CJ Van Eyk, their second-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft out of Florida State, and right-hander Trent Palmer, their third-round pick out of Jacksonville University.

Van Eyk's deal is worth $1.8 million, a source confirmed to after an initial report from Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, which is slightly above the assigned slot value for pick No. 42 of $1,771,100.

Toronto also announced the signing of fifth-round outfielder Zach Britton, which is an under-slot deal that will save the club nearly $300,000 against the pick’s assigned value. Given that Van Eyk’s deal will come in close to his, this should still leave the Blue Jays with the flexibility to go slightly above slot value for No. 5 overall pick Austin Martin, if needed.

Van Eyk was ranked as the No. 39 prospect in the 2020 class by MLB Pipeline and had a chance to sneak into the back end of the first round, but the Blue Jays were happy to find that value with their second selection. While the 21-year-old doesn’t come with the same physical size that's become a trend among recent Blue Jays picks like Nate Pearson, Adam Kloffenstein and Alek Manoah, Van Eyk's raw stuff impresses.

Working a three-pitch mix, Van Eyk has touched 95 mph with his fastball while typically sitting around 93-94. Off of that fastball comes a strong, 12-6 curveball that he’s comfortable throwing in any count and a changeup that still has room to grow.

Already well regarded entering the 2020 college season, Van Eyk was off to an excellent start for Florida State, which the Blue Jays hope will project forward in his development. Through four starts prior to the pandemic, Van Eyk owned a 1.31 ERA with 25 strikeouts over 20 2/3 innings.

Palmer was enjoying a very similar start to his own 2020 season at Jacksonville, with a 1.30 ERA and 41 strikeouts over just 27 2/3 innings. Measuring in at 6-foot-1, like Van Eyk, Palmer comes with a thicker build on the mound and can reach into the high-90s with his fastball. MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reported that Palmer signed for $850,000; the slot value for the 77th overall pick was $805,600.

While Palmer has more experience coming out of the bullpen, including in the Cape Cod League last season, where he really broke out, he opened 2020 as a starter and is likely to begin his professional career there, too, given the Blue Jays’ belief in the upside of his pitches.

Van Eyk and Palmer will soon join a deep pool of right-handed pitching talent in the Blue Jays’ farm system, which is led by Pearson but beginning to form steady waves behind him.