Steve Sanders will go through his first big test as the Blue Jays' new director of amateur scouting when the MLB Draft gets underway Monday night. This will be Sanders' first Draft since being hired away from the Red Sox during the offseason.The 2017 Draft will take place from Monday
Steve Sanders will go through his first big test as the Blue Jays' new director of amateur scouting when the MLB Draft gets underway Monday night. This will be Sanders' first Draft since being hired away from the Red Sox during the offseason.
The 2017 Draft will take place from Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 36 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 75 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, starting at 1 p.m. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon.
Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLBPipeline.com 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.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Blue Jays, whose first selection is the 22nd overall pick.
In about 50 words
Edwin Encarnacion's departure via free agency means the Blue Jays have an extra pick in the top 28. Toronto should be able to use the extra bonus pool money to get creative and possibly add a tough signee or two in the middle rounds.
Sanders took over for Brian Parker, who oversaw four Drafts before his dismissal at the end of last season. Sanders held a number of positions with the Red Sox before joining the Blue Jays during the offseason. He was an assistant of amateur and international scouting in 2014, a coordinator of amateur and international scouting and finally, in 2015, he was named Boston's assistant director of amateur scouting.
MLB.com's Jim Callis recently wrote that Toronto has been heavily linked to a large number of college bats, including North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth, UC Irvine outfielder/second baseman Keston Hiura, Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger and Kentucky first baseman Evan White. For Toronto's second pick at No. 28, Callis believes the Blue Jays are taking a look at some high school arms, including Hans Crouse, Matt Sauer, Bryce Bonnin and possibly right-hander Nate Pearce out of Central Florida.
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 $8,231,000 to spend in the first 10 rounds, which ranks 13th overall. That number includes $2,795,200 for the 22nd overall pick and $2,302,900 for the 28th.
The majority of Toronto's prospects are still at least a couple years away. The club will want to be cautious about not adding too many high school arms that will take even longer to develop. A logical approach would be adding high-quality college arms that project to be ready around the same time as prospects Rowdy Tellez, Anthony Alford and others.
The Blue Jays went pitcher-heavy in the Draft from 2010-15, but the philosophy changed last year based on need and because of a regime change. Toronto still went with a starting pitcher -- T.J. Zeuch -- in the first round, then mixed in three outfielders and two infielders during the first 10 rounds. Expect a similar approach this year. Under this current regime, there's also an increased willingness to select college players as opposed to focusing almost exclusively on high schoolers.
The power-hitting duo of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette has been blowing away the competition at Class A Lansing this season. Even though they are two of the youngest players in the Midwest League, they have been tearing the cover off the baseball. Entering play on Thursday, Guerrero had 19 extra-base hits and was batting .335/.423/.489 in 50 games. Bichette, in 47 games, had 30 extra-base hits and was batting .382/.454/.618. The hope is these two will represent the future of the organization.
Outfielder Kevin Pillar is the perfect example of a player who was almost completely overlooked during his Draft year. Pillar slid all the way to the 32nd round in 2011, but he worked his way through the Minors and went on to become Toronto's everyday center fielder. This year, he has taken his game to another level by becoming the Blue Jays' everyday leadoff man, and he ranked fourth in the American League with 31 hits in April.
In The Show
Toronto has nine players on its roster, or on the disabled list, who were originally drafted by the club: Pillar (32nd round, 2011), Ryan Goins (fourth round, '09), Marcus Stroman (first round, '12), Aaron Sanchez (first round, '10), Aaron Loup (ninth round, '09), Dennis Tepera (19th round, '09), Danny Barnes (35th round, 2010), Dalton Pompey (16th round, 2010) and Alford (third round, 2012).
The Blue Jays' recent top picks
2016: T.J. Zeuch, RHP, Class A Dunedin
2015: Jon Harris, RHP, Double-A New Hampshire
2014: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Colorado Rockies
2014: Max Pentecost, C, Class A Dunedin
2013: Phil Bickford, RHP, Did not sign
2012: D.J. Davis, OF, Class A Dunedin
2012: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.