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C's Watch as Blue Jays Restock System at MLB Draft

June 4, 2012 - Northwest League (NWL) - Vancouver Canadians News Release

(Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium - Vancouver, BC) - Fans of the Vancouver Canadians will be licking their chops in hopes that Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos can lock up some of the five selections that Toronto held on day one of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

With the 17th overall selection, the Blue Jays first of the day, GM Alex Anthopoulos selected speedy OF D.J. Davis who projects as one of the fastest players in the 2012 draft class. A high school star out of Stone County H.S. in Mississippi, Davis has an average bat according to Baseball America, but is projected as a 'plus' defender who has speed that will be an issue for opposing teams should he reach base.

Just five slots later, the Blue Jays grabbed their first pitcher of the day with the 22nd overall pick selecting the intriguing RHP Marcus Stroman out of Duke University. Note: This pick was compensation for not being able to sign 2011 First-Round selection RHP Tyler Beede who opted for Vanderbilt University.

At just 5-foot-9, Stroman is not considered to be your prototypical pitcher in stature, yet many including Baseball America had the power arm as one of the Top 10 pitchers on the draft board with a mid-90's fastball to go along with the potential to join the Jays come September based on his maturity and secondary pitches that some Scouting Directors consider 'Major League ready'.

Note: The last time the Blue Jays had a pair of first-round selections was 2007 when Toronto managed to secure both SS Kevin Ahrens (16th overall) and C J.P. Arencibia (21st overall).

Toronto then became one of the most active teams in the compensation round on Monday after losing a trio of players in 2011 (RHP Frank Francisco, RHP Jon Rauch and C Jose Molina). At number 50, the Blue Jays selected high-school LHP Matt Smoral who suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in April of this year. Some suggest that hindered his potential to be drafted higher as many cross checkers and scouting directors didn't see the lefty in the weeks leading up to the draft.

At number 58, Toronto selected 3B Mitch Nay who has a fantastic final month of his high school season to dash up the draft board. Described as 'raw', this is the type of player the Blue Jays can take their time with and develop through a highly-touted Minor League system.

With their fifth and final selection of day one, the Blue Jays went back to pitching to grab high school RHP Tyler Gonzales out of James Madison H.S. in Texas. This pick is going to be tough for GM Alex Anthopoulos to lock down as the hard-throwing right-hander has committed to the University of Texas and is uncertain about which position he wants to play. Drafted as a pitcher, the Longhorns are considering his abilities as a shortstop as well. His 96mph fastball at just 18 years old might be too much for any coach to pass up on including the Blue Jays should they be able to persuade him away from the NCAA route.

The Vancouver Canadians saw three of the Blue Jays blue chippers from the class of 2010 including RHP Aaron Sanchez (34th overall), RHP Noah Syndergaard (38th overall) and second-round selection LHP Justin Nicolino (80th overall). Vancouver did not see a draft pick from Toronto's 2011 class higher than the 11th Round (3B Andy Burns).

The MLB First-Year Player Draft resumes on Tuesday, June 5th at 9:00am pacific time with the Blue Jays slated to make their next selection at #81 (2nd Round).


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