In the second ten rounds from 2013, the Blue Jays went after one big-name high school player and spent the rest of their picks in this chunk of the draft on college players.
Kicking of Round 11 was Jake Brentz, a high school lefty with a big fastball and oodles of potential:
“This young, 6’2″ lefty was a 2-way player in high school but with the ability to throw a 95 mph fastball already, his future is on the mound. Adam Wells at Bleacher Report thinks that the Jays should be able to sign him and start his development in the pros. He needs a lot of work, being very raw with control issues and the lack of a well developed breaking ball. Brentz was the 80th ranked draft prospect in Baseball America, so it’s unclear what caused him to fall to the Blue Jays with the 325th overall selection.”
It turns out that for many teams, it was his college commitment that kept some teams away but Brentz ended up signing with the Blue Jays for $700,000 (using $600,000 that the team had saved in the first 10 rounds) and getting his pro career under way. The Blue Jays took it slow with the 18-year-old Brentz (now 19) and he threw only 7 2/3 innings in the Gulf Coast League last year. He clearly needs to find his control: he walked 12 batters and struck out only eight but it’s still early days. Brentz also pitched in the Fall Instructional League and will likely be up to a full complement of (short-season) innings in 2014.
In the 12th round, the Blue Jays went with lefty Tim Mayza.
“This junior from Millersville University in Pennsylvania started all three years and posted a 1.15 ERA in over 98 innings in 2013 with 91 strikeouts and 27 walks. He’s got a solid, low-90s fastball but needs a lot work on his other pitches. In 2012, after his sophomore year, he was the first player from an NCAA Division II university to play in the Cape Cod league, seeing significantly higher competition than he did in his college league. Mayza is less polished than some of the other college arms the Jays have taken thus far and will probably begin the season in Vancouver.”
The 21 year old didn’t make it to Vancouver and pitched mostly in the Appalachian League with Bluefield. I missed him when I was there in July but his numbers were not overly impressive. He threw 22 innings in Bluefield (in addition to seven in the GCL) and posted a 6.95 ERA and 1.82 WHIP. His strikeout numbers could be higher (17) while his walks could be lower (10) but neither is particularly damning on its own. He gave up a lot of hits and it’s still uncertain if it’s just bad luck or if Mayza is just the type of pitcher who doesn’t induce weak contact.
In round 13, the Blue Jays selected infielder Timothy Locastro:
“A junior from Ithaca College in upstate NY, Locastro profiles as an organizational infielder. He stole 40 bases this season (setting a school record) and scored 71 runs, but aside from some All-American honours for Division III NCAA schools, it’s hard to find much on this young shortstop.”
Locastro is a contact-oriented hitter who will likely never hit for much power. He has great speed and good hands in the infield but he doesn’t have the arm for shortstop so he will likely be a second baseman as he comes through the team’s organization. Locastro has an ability to get on base, showing a .364 OBP that was built on 13 walks and six hit-by-pitches. With a very low strikeout rate (7.4%), Locastro could be Jon Berti type player within a couple of years but with a better batting average and OBP.
With the 14th round pick, the Jays selected 1B L.B. Dantzler:
“This is a pick I really like, looking over Dantzler’s season and profile. Playing for a Division I school in the SEC, he hit 15 home runs this season at South Carolina while becoming the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year with a 3.64 GPA. He’s also the first draftee the Jays have selected who has some power in his bat. We’ll see what he can do with a wooden bat. His future is cloudy, considering the more advanced first basemen that the Blue Jays have in their system. As a college senior who has taken a lot of walks, he could be a very solid addition to the Jays’ system.”
Dantzler had probably the best debut season of any Blue Jays 2013 draftee, winning the Northwest League MVP award and hitting .302/.385/.504 with 20 doubles and nine home runs in 265 plate appearances for the Vancouver Canadians. In a very power-starved lineup in Vancouver, Dantzler’s bat played in a big way. He’s already shown that his power and eye play in professional ball but he’ll be in a tough league next year: sources tell me that he’ll be skipping Lansing to play in the Florida State League in Dunedin in 2014.
In the 15th round, the Jays selected outfielder Jonathan Davis:
“A junior from Central Arkansas, Davis is a short, powerfully built outfielder (5’8″, 190 lbs) who shows some speed and patience at the plate. He hit .268/.419/.396 with 11 2Bs, 5 3Bs and 3 HRs in his junior year with 35 stolen bases in 40 attempts. A top defensive center fielder, his coach at UCA says that does all the little things to help a team win, including play through nagging injuries.”
Davis had a solid first year in professional ball but hasn’t really given a lot of indications that he’s got a high upside. He hit .238/.346/.415 with 11 doubles, three triples and two home runs in 155 plate appearances in Bluefield. He has a very good approach at the plate (with a 9% BB rate and 16.8% K rate) and some speed, although it didn’t translate to stolen bases (he stole only four bases). I’m thinking that he played through injury in the second half of the season and that he’ll be more dangerous when healthy.
16th round pick Dan Jansen is the first high schooler to be drafted since Brentz in round 11:
“He’s committed to Jacksonville in Florida and it is unknown if the Blue Jays will be able to buy him out of that commitment. Scouting reports say that he has a strong arm and quick release behind the plate and looks to have power potential as a hitter.”
At 6’2″ and 215 pounds, Jansen is a young, big-bodied catcher who had a good first pro season, hitting .246/.364/.281 in 140 plate appearances. While he didn’t show much power (only four extra-base hits, all doubles), he did walk more than twice as often as he struck out (21 walks, 10 strikeouts) indicating a good eye and excellent contact ability. Scouts loved his work behind the plate and the team still believes that power will come. He’s a guy you’re going to want to keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons.
The Blue Jays didn’t sign 17th rounder Eric Lauer, a high school lefty.
In the 18th round, the Jays got Pickering, Ontario’s Sean Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe was originally spotted as a catcher but has converted to the pitching position more recently after scouts saw him touching 93 mph and throwing a sharper slider. He threw eight innings with the GCL Blue Jays and ended up with a 5.62 ERA, 1.50 WHIP with eight hits allowed, four walks and eight strikeouts. Ratcliffe went on to pitch for Canada in the 18-Under World Cup.
In the 19th round the Jays went with infielder Christian Vasquez.
“A junior at Lubbock Christian University, he has played at New Mexico Jr. College and will most likely sign with the Blue Jays. Vazquez hit .402/.444/.568 this season and looks like a good hitting infielder but against weak competition so far. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to professional baseball.”
Vasquez played mostly with Vancouver as a 23 year old this season. He didn’t hit much, hitting .203/.259/.219 in 141 plate appearances. He’ll probably be most useful for his defense, playing middle infield positions as a pro but his bat needs to come around in order for him to have a longer career.
Outfielder Chaz Frank was selected in the 20th round:
“Coming out of the University of North Carolina, Frank completes his senior year as a solid if unspectacular player. He hit .308/.390/.420 starting 59 games for the Tarheels. He led the club with 22 stolen bases (in 26 attempts) and walked 30 times to 18 strikeouts. Seen as a leader on a team that featured Cody Stubbs and Colin Moran, Frank can be a solid character guy for the Blue Jays organization.”
Frank is a guy who could really be one to watch going forward. He had an excellent debut season with the Vancouver Canadians, hitting .282/.412/.365 in 222 plate appearances. As a center fielder who got on base at such a high rate, you’d like to see a better success rate for stealing bases: Frank was only successful eight times out of 13. This issue, combined with his lack of power may get in his way as he goes up against better competition.