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Toronto Blue Jays 2013 Draft – Better Late Than Never

After whalloping the Everett WaterSox in game one of their crucial three game set, the C’s send 2013 25th rounder, and future WWE star, Scott Silverstein to the bump tonight versus rehabbing Mariners pitcher Stephen Pryor. A reliever by trade, this will be Pryor’s first appearance back from a lat injury so would have thought he’d be on a one, maybe two inning limit. How the pitching for Everett plays out after that is anybody’s guess.

The reference to the WWE for Silverstein was because of his size. At 6’5″ and 250 pounds he is flat out huge. At that size you would expect overpowering stuff, but the left-handers fastball only sits in the upper 80s, maybe hitting 90 here and there. With his height, he can get a good downhill trajectory and, in his last appearance at least, used both sides of the plate and his offspeed offerings to keep hitters off balance. Let’s hope the formula provides him with continued success (tonight being quite key).

Speaking of the 2013 draft, the deadline for getting tomorrow’s stars signed was this past Friday. The Jays were unsuccessful with their first overall pick Phil Bickford, who chose higher education over pro ball and a ton of money. We’re assuming a bit here, as the Jays have kept typically schtum on the reasoning behind the non-signing, but as is 99% of the cases, money was probably the issue. Rumour has it the Jays were holding pretty firm on their number, which was close to, or maybe 10% over the assigned slot value of $2,921,400. So, for argument’s sake, let’s say the Jays offered the California native around 3.2 million.

For Bickford to turn that down is a very bold, if not very stupid move. To make more than that this year, he would have had to have been drafted either seventh or better. Although, the numbers of slots five through seven are close enough to 3.2 million as to make the money differential inconsequential. So, Phil’s strategy is this. Go to Cal State Fullerton, pitch well enough for three years to be considered a top four talent in the 2016 draft, while avoiding injury the entire time. A high risk strategy, no doubt. Makes you wonder what kind of advice these kids are getting, to leave that amount of money on the table.

I was going to give a scouting report of Bickford, but why bother, he’s not going to play in the Jays org. any time soon.

Two guys that will were the beneficiaries of the Jays strategy to go with cheap signings in rounds two through ten. As a quick aside, the draft works like this:

Rounds one through ten picks are assigned slot values and the team gets an overall bonus pool to sign those picks. Picks eleven through fourty are assigned a value of one hundred thousand. If you go over that 100k, that surplus is charged back to your bonus pool for rounds one through ten. So, any money you save from those signings can be used to lock up some later round picks.

Teams will take fliers on ‘tough’ signs in the later rounds as fallback options in case they don’t get their top picks signed, or save money doing so. The Jays did this with 11th rounder Jake Brentz and 30th rounder Rowdy Tellez. Both had strong college commitments, Brentz to the University of Missouri and Tellez to USC, so it was going to take a fair amount of dough to get them to go pro, and so it was, with Brentz receiving $700k and Rowdy $850k.

The negative among us will quibble with this strategy, saying the Jays have given up first and second round talent (more on that later) to sign third round talent. While that may be true, the two guys they did get were rather highly regarded in some circles:

Another example is this chat I had with Kiley McDaniel:

I found an excellent scouting report of Brentz, with some embedded video. As the piece mentions, the left-hander is very raw at the moment, but anyone who can touch 97 from the left side will get people salivating. If he can control his fastball and shape his change into a plus pitch, the Jays will have gotten an absolute steal. And remember, Bickford is considered very raw as well. He’ll just work on his stuff in college rather than the Dunedin, Bluefield, Vancouver, etc.

Apparently Rowdy Tellez is a bit of a mythic figure in California, appearing on scouts radars as a junior in high school due to his monstrous power. This piece gives a good overview as well as speculating the Astros may take him in the 2nd round. The fact the Jays got him in the 30th and got him signed has to be considered a coup.

He won’t play anywhere but first, nor will he steal you a base, but if he develops along the trajectory the Jays are hoping, he’ll be a power hitter who can also make contact from the left side, while playing a serviceable first base. He’ll be a few years in the system but yet again, someone worth keeping an eye on.

As both these players are still quite young (Tellez was born in 1995!! God I’m old) we won’t see them in the Nat for two years at least. Actually, if they get into the GCL this season, a Bluefield assignment in 2014, I suppose there is a chance we see them at the back end of next year, but that is being wildly optimistic.

With no real power threats in the C’s order this year, it’d be fun to see Tellez in action, stirring up memories of Art Charles and his monster shots of last year.

Notes from the Pressbox (or in the case of away games, my back deck):

My count has eight members of the C’s current roster coming from the 2013 draft with one more hopefully still to come in the form of 6th rounder Matt Boyd. I’ll get a scouting report of him up soon.

36th rounder, David Harris has been turning a corner for the C’s with four hits last night and seven in his last twelve plate appearances. I had a chance to speak to both Harris and hitting coach Dave Pano and will hopefully have something about that up soon! All these empty promises, I know.

Tonight is a big game.

David Harris shot artistically from a distance (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

David Harris shot artistically from a distance (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

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