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Despite their season not living up to the hype that the acquisition of R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes created, the Toronto Blue Jays did get a consolation prize from the disappointing 2013 campaign: two picks in the top 15 of the upcoming 2014 MLB draft. Toronto is going to get the ninth pick of the draft based on the reverse order of team records.
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As well, the Blue Jays will be picking 11th due to failing to sign Phil Bickford after drafting him in last year’s draft. The combination of a disappointing season and the failure to sign previous talent has left Toronto in a strong position to draft strong talent to hopefully provide help in the immediate future. With two high picks, these are a few options that the Blue Jays have:
With the ninth pick of the draft, I see no other option than for the Blue Jays to draft Aaron Nola, a RHP from Louisiana State.
Coincidentally, this will be the Blue Jays’ second chance to draft the talented pitcher after failing to sign him after selecting him in the 2011 Draft out of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Thus far, Nola has been nothing short of phenomenal in the SEC.
Nola followed up his 7-4 freshman campaign with an otherworldly 12-1 sophomore season where he notched 122 strikeouts in 126 innings pitched and sported a 1.57 earned run average. An All-American and SEC Pitcher of the Year, Nola will likely be picked in the 2014 MLB Draft by the Blue Jays. But will he sign this time? That is certainly open for debate. However, the Blue Jays do have the proverbial “ace up their sleeve” by already having Aaron’s brother, Austin Nola, in their organization.
With their next pick only two spots away from their first, the Blue Jays certainly have a couple of options. But, I believe it boils down to two player. In order to decide, the Blue Jays need to ask themselves: do we value upgrading our pitching staff for the future? Or do we perhaps draft an outfielder that could potentially have an impact much sooner?
If the Toronto Blue Jays management decides to go with the first option, look for the club to draft hard-throwing LHP Sean Newcomb from the University of Hartford. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound sophomore has a fastball that has been clocked upwards of 95 miles per hour. His talent was quickly evident on campus after throwing a no-hitter in a seven-inning game as a freshman. As a sophomore, Newcomb finished with a 5-4 record and a 3.75 ERA.
If the Blue Jays decide to go the other direction and fortify their outfield, they can hope that the Mets pass on Braxton Davidson. Our own draft specialists, Dan Kirby, has already provided the reasoning why Davidson could be a solid pick for the Blue Jays in his MLB Mock Draft 2.0 piece. In it, he writes:
The 6’-3”, 215-pound left-hander will be one of the best prep bats in the 2014 MLB mock draft (and the real one too) due to his bat speed, advanced approach at the plate and raw power. He shows good pitch recognition, and his strong wrists allow him to wait on any pitch. Over 31 games as a junior, he hit .403 with seven doubles, eight home runs, and drew 30 walks for a .600 OBP/.831 SLG. His strong arm would play well in a corner outfield spot.
The Blue Jays are clearly in a enviable position. With the addition of Dickey and Reyes through the selling spree the Marlins went on last season, Toronto can solidify a roster through the 2014 MLB Draft that can hopefully avoid the disappointment that the 2013 brought.