Taking a Look Back at the Undervalued 2011 Blue Jays Draft Class

By Mason McRae

The best part about the Blue Jays 2011 class, is the fact that they didn’t sign their first round pick (Tyler Beede), and completely whiffed on Jacob Anderson – the highest selected of four compensation picks.

So let’s start with the four Compensation picks – Jacob Anderson, Joe Musgrove, Dwight Smith Jr, and Kevin Comer. The best of the four would be Musgrove, whom the Jays dealt along with fellow draftee Kevin Comer (other players included as well)  in exchange for David Carpenter, Brandon Lyon, and most importantly J.A. Happ. Now Happ alone makes it worth it, given the amount of workload he gave the Jays while being in contention for a title. Musgrove has turned into a solid backend starter with a 4.42 ERA in 424 innings of work. From a draft perspective, a pitcher who has around a 3 WAR over 4 seasons (which Musgrove does) is a 45 ‘future value’ in the draft scale – which is right around a mid to late first round value. So draft wise, AND value wise,  the Blue Jays hit a home run with Musgrove. But on the other hand, Comer was a horrendous pick, BUT they turned him into a valuable player – so you can’t complain. The last of the four comp picks is Dwight Smith Jr, whom the Jays recently traded for the infamous “Cash Considerations”. Smith Jr needed a fresh start and got it in Baltimore and he hasn’t looked back – from a draft perspective, the pick was just alright, but from a value perspective the Jays took a loss.

Now onto the sub-first round picks, starting with a home run pick in Daniel Norris, the (at the time) core part of the blockbuster David Price deal, but now Matt Boyd probably looks like the meat of that trade. Norris hasn’t been as good as expected when dealt thanks to some awful injuries and health concerns. The Blue Jays definitely won both sides of the deal through the draft and value of Daniel Norris. Four picks later the Jays took Jeremy Gabryszwski, and to save time, it wasn’t good. In the third, the Jays took John Stilson, who looked like he’d be a stud after having a sub 3 ERA in AAA at the age of 22 but had some injuries that derailed his career. Onto the sixth round where the Jays took Anthony DeSclafani, now this is where it gets fun. The Jays hit a home run on DeSclafani, who’s turned into a really good backend starter with a 4.26 career ERA in 578.2 innings, he’s tallied 5.8 WAR (basically) four seasons,which equates to a 50 future value on the draft scale and is right around the teens in the first round when it comes to value, so that pick was a success to say the least. BUT the Jays traded him, and not only did they trade him, but they dealt him in a blockbuster deal that brutally backfired. The Jays sent DeSclafani, Henderson Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, and Justin Nicolino to Miami for Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes. Buehrle was really the only one acquired who contributed, but the Jays gave up the four best players in the entire trade. Somehow this wasn’t Alex Anthopolous’ worst trade in his Jays regime and that just shows you how bad the Noah Syndergaard one was. Alvarez turned into a good backend starter, while obviously DeSclafani has been a really good starter as well – now the biggest part of the package was Nicolino who hasn’t lived up to the hype AT ALL. But Marisnick has been great in Houston and Escobar was an average to below average shortstop for the forty-five teams he’s played for since Toronto. So, DeSclafani – Good pick, awful job by using his value.

Now we skip to the 18th round where the Jays took undersized, and cleary undervalued middle infielder Jon Berti – who has turned into a really good second baseman for the Miami Marlins after the Jays let him go. He currently has a .277/.360/.437 slashline and has been a huge hit for the Marlins, great pick on day three for the Jays!

The best pick in this draft and it’s a wash is the 32nd rounder – Kevin Pillar. Probably the Jays best pick in the last ten years, outside of maybe Bo Bichette. But he was a second rounder, so it’s more fun to take the Pillar pick instead. Pillar turned into a really cheap and controlled starting center fielder for the Jays when they were in title contention. He was an above average defender and okay bottom of the lineup player who was about a 3.5 WAR player when he got his stuff together during a really good three year stretch. On the draft scale a 3.5 WAR player is a 50 future value and a first round talent taken in the 32nd round, whatever area scout saw and vouched for Pillar deserves a round of applause.

Some unsigned high schoolers that have turned out well after going to college are Luke Weaver in the 19th round, and Aaron Nola in the 22nd. No, they wouldn’t be the players you know them to be if they signed out of high school.

This draft didn’t necessarily churn out many Blue Jay contributors, but they took plenty of talent and turned many of them into roster contributors who were ready to help the Jays make a title push. This draft is probably a 55 on the 20-80 scale, what a success!