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Pitching the theme of Blue Jays' Day 2

The Blue Jays were extremely consistent through the first nine rounds of the draft before mixing it up with their final pick on the day.

Throughout the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, the strategy was clear -- pitching, pitching, and more pitching.

After nine rounds, the Blue Jays had selected nine pitchers -- five right-handed, four left-handed -- and five of them straight out of high school. All of them are 6-foot-1 or taller.

On Day 2, the first of them was Patrick Murphy out of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona.

Murphy is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior who was one of the top ranked players in Arizona in 2012 before being sidelined with a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in late April.

The 17-year-old originally opted for rest for his injured throwing arm, but decided on Tommy John surgery two months later.

Murphy is in the midst of recovering from the surgery, which was performed last year, but has been throwing since late March.

The right-hander was hitting the low-90s on his fastball, with a formidable curve, as a junior before the surgery. But without being fully recovered after surgery, he's a bit of a wild card.

High-risk, high-upside picks seemed to be the modus operandi for the Blue Jays, with five high school students being selected, including Phillip Bickford and Clinton Hollon from Day 1.

Included in that mix are Day 2 selections Evan Smith and Conner Greene, who were taken in the fourth and seventh round, respectively.

Both pitchers have good fastballs, with the 17-year-old Smith, a lefty, topping out at 93 mph, according Smith also happens to be the tallest of the bunch, standing 6-foot-5.

Although Greene doesn't have the same velocity as Smith, the righty has great downward plane on his fastball, something that could be a plus-pitch as he fills out.

He also sports a curveball and splitter, although he'll need better command with all three of his pitches to have success at the big league level.

That didn't stop him from dominating high school students in 2013, as Greene had a 1.68 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 50 innings.

"This year, the pressure was on me to perform, and I usually thrive under pressure," Greene, 18, said to the Santa Monica Mirror prior to being drafted. "I think, overall, it turned out well, because as a pitcher, you try to repeat your motion over and over, and I felt like I did that throughout the season."

Also among the 20-and-under crowd, is left-handed pitcher Daniel Lietz.

Lietz is a 6-foot-2, 19-year-old southpaw that went undrafted out of high school in 2012. However, a winter in the weight room upped his fastball from the mid-80s to topping out in the low 90s.

The Heartland Community College freshman also has two plus-pitches in his slider and changeup.

Outside of those picks, the Blue Jays selected four college seniors, two that had been drafted last year.

Those were left-hander Matt Boyd, and righty Kendall Graveman.

Boyd was taken in the 13th round by the Reds, and Graveman was chosen in the 36th round by the Marlins.

Boyd, who became a starter with Oregon State after not coming to terms with Cincinnati, has shown the ability to mix four pitches well, all of which could be Major League pitches as he develops them. Along with logging double-digit victories this spring, Boyd led the Beavers during the regular season in innings pitched, strikeouts and complete games.

Big, strong and durable, Boyd throws his fastball, curve, slider and changeup around the plate consistently and varies his arm slot to give hitters different looks.

He went 10-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 16 starts, and 106 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings in 2013.

Graveman stands 6-foot-2 and has an upper-80s fastball with heavy sinking action that is supported by a solid changeup.

The last pitcher selected by the Blue Jays was Mississippi State's Chad Girodo. The left-hander has improved immensely since his junior year, and has lowered his ERA by 4 1/2 runs over his best collegiate season.

The Blue Jays selected catcher Garrett Custons in the 10th round, the only position player Toronto selected.

Custons caught for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado, and can play both sides of the ball well. He was one of 15 semifinalists for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award, given to the top Division I collegiate catcher.

Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for
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