By Mason McRae
After a beautiful start to the second half of the season in which the Blue Jays lost five out of seven divisional games, and then managed to blow out the Tigers yesterday, I think it’s time to start updating where the Blue Jays stand in the draft. As of now, they sit in fifth last – a game ahead of the scorching hot Kansas City Royals. Luckily for me (unlike most fans) I’ve been expecting this and in some cases hoping it would happen. …..In a serious, but jokingly way.
The Blue Jays head into probably the most important part of the season. In the next 16 days, the Jays will have nine games in the 16 days against teams tied or below them in the standings (Tigers, Orioles, Royals). The other seven days include games against the Rays, and Indians as well as an off-day. If the Jays manage to lose anywhere from six to eight of the ten games against the Bottom of the league, I’d consider throwing a celebration party.
Now with a clear picture at the Jays on-field situation. Here’s a look at five potential Blue Jays selections at fifth overall in next year’s draft. Yes, It’s still too early to gain any clues on who the Jays are in awe of, given that we’re about ten months away from the draft and the fact that we don’t even know where they’ll select. But anything that doesn’t involve the 2019 Blue Jays is a positive for me. Assuming Spencer Torkelson, and Emerson Hancock are 100% off the board, everyone else is a possibility at fifth overall, so keep in mind that Hancock and Torkelson won’t be included.
Corner Outfielder, Dylan Crews (Lake Mary High School)
The most polished hit tool in the entire class, Dylan Crews is the best player from the high school ranks in this class and it really isn’t even close. Dylan has the most simplified and easy swing in the class. He has present game power and puts on shows in Batting Practice, his legs are engaged throughout his entire swing and his hands work perfectly in sync with his entire body. At the Perfect Game Showcase event he showed off his absolute cannon of an arm, with some throws clocked in the low-90’s. Crews is a Scout’s dream in the outfield, he’s got all the tools to project as an everyday corner-outfielder and his swing reminds me of Robinson Cano because of pretty it is and how loose he looks as he launches balls 400 feet into the stands. Yes, it’s a strong possibility that he’s taken fourth overall or higher. But there’s still a legitimate chance he falls into the Jays laps at fifth overall.
Corner Outfielder, Austin Hendrick (West Allegheny High School)
The most exciting player to watch in this class, Austin Hendrick has some extremely unique mechanics in this swing which are eerily similar to Shoeni Ohtani and Cody Bellinger. Hendrick is a five-tool player with 70 grade power and the ability to hit the ball anywhere. He does have some swing-and-miss problems which typically come with raw-power prep kids. Austin’s swing is poetry in itself, he has a double toe tap stride (similar to Chipper Jones) which sometimes leaves him vulnerable to offspeed, but he’s performed extremely well against some of the best offspeed in the class at the PDP Development league as well as the PG National Showcase. Austin also has a missile launcher in the outfield and projects as a corner outfielder, but he could sneak his way into center field if he can develop his craft.
Right-Handed Pitcher, Cole Wilcox (University of Georgia)
Yes, ANOTHER Georgia arm with high-end day one upside. Cole Wilcox would’ve been the best arm in the 2019 draft class and was a first-round pick in the 2018 draft out of high school. He’s sophomore eligible and features one of my favorite qualities in an arm, heavy arm-side-run. WIlcox sits in the 93 to 96 range, but will get up to 99, and even touched 100 early in the 2019 college season. His command is iffy and projects him as a reliever, but with a full year left at UGA. I’m betting he’ll up his command and have elite starter traits that go along with his 60 grade slider. With Manoah being taken last draft, Wilcox offers ANOTHER high-end college arm in the Jays system to go along with Kloffenstein, Manoah, Pardinho, and Pearson.
Left-Handed Pitcher, Nate Sevino (Potomac Falls High School)
My favorite arm in the class, Nate Sevino is a copy and pasted version of 2019 day-one talent Hunter Barco with a plus slider added into his arsenal. Sevino has an extremely quick and whippy arm that works in the 91 to 95 range, and gets up to 97. He might have one of the better prep sliders in the class, which has really good spin on it and some late bite. Sevino isn’t necessarily high on many boards – but he could really rise this summer if he continues to gain velo on his fastball. He’s another arm that could join the Blue Jays system of talented arms, and add some youth to it. Given the high-amount of college arms they have, including day-one selections in Alex Manoah, T.J Zeuch, Sean Reid-Foley, Jon Harris, and Nate Pearson.
Middle Infielder, Austin Martin (University of Vanderbilt)
Not a highlight reel player, or someone that grabs the viewers eyes. Austin Martin is the glue to the best college program in the country’s lineup – Vanderbilt, who’s known to create plenty of talented players in the MLB (David Price, Walker Buehler, Dansby Swanson, Pedro Alvarez, etc). Austin has an elite hit tool and the ability to spray the ball all over the field. He does everything average or better and has shifted throughout the infield defensively and will get some playing time at shortstop next season after playing at third and second this season. Martin’s game style compares to Ex-First Round pick – Dansby Swanson of the Braves. Both are highly regarded among teammates and have an extremely low bust potential. Some Jays fans may think “why a middle infielder?” with an already loaded system of them. Well if Austin can hit, and has already shown flexibility on defense. Then you don’t pass up on him and worry about where he hits later on down the road. It’s always “Best Pitcher or Best Position Player” available. You never take a position of need in the MLB draft.