Day one of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft is in the books, and Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos had clearly zoned in on the organization’s need for pitching. With four of the first 41 picks, Anthopoulos nabbed a quarter of big, right-handed hurlers. At first glance, two of the picks (Deck McGuire and Asher Wojciechowski) look like savvy selections while two (Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard) could be reaches.
Let’s examine the Jays’ new arms:
Deck McGuire – 11th over-all
Anthopoulos went the safe route with his first pick, taking the polished McGuire out of Georgia Tech. Aside from owning one of the draft’s best names, the 6’6” McGuire boasts a power arm and a level of major league readiness shared by few of yesterday’s draftees. While he has four reliable pitches in his repertoire, he doesn’t possess the dominant arsenal necessary to be viewed as a high-ceiling type. Many project him to be no more than a No. 3 starter in the big leagues, but sometimes the (relatively) sure thing pays off in a way the high-risk, high-reward pick does not.
Aaron Sanchez – 34th over-all
Just as NBA scouts and GMs will forever remain intrigued by long, athletic prospects, baseball executives will always face the lure of the tall, hard-throwing high school pitcher. At 6’4” and owning a potent fastball, Sanchez fits the bill. The problem is, he’s got a long way to go to establish any other pitches and to curb control issues that are said to be considerable. Call him the anti-McGuire – a guy who could pay off in the long run but has a lot of work ahead of him and doesn’t come with a safety net.
Noah Syndergaard – 38th over-all
True, off-the-board picks have ultimately paid off for teams in the past (one of the most recent examples is the San Antonio Spurs’ selection of George Hill with the 28th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft), but this is simply a head-scratcher. Syndergaard’s name was not among Keith Law’s top 100 prospects, nor could he be found within Baseball America’s top 200 ranking. That’s right, the draft’s 38th selection didn’t make Baseball America’s top 200. Naturally, a prospect this off-the-radar comes with little info, but he is 6’6” high school righty with a mid-90’s fastball and a work-in-progress curve. Hopefully, with this selection, AA knows something that a whole lot of other people don’t.
Asher Wojciechowski – 41st over-all
The Jays might have found a gem in Wojciechowski, who slid to No. 41 despite being projected by most as a top 30 pick. Much like McGuire, he is a big (6’4”) college pitcher with a strong fastball. Unlike McGuire, he has yet to harness his other pitches to the point where they can be counted on regularly. As such, he could ultimately find himself preparing for relief work moving forward.
- While he isn’t a Canadian citizen, No. 2 over-all pick Jameson Taillon (selected by Pittsburgh) does have a strong connection to the country and to Toronto, in particular. Both of his parents are Canadian and met while attending the University of Toronto.
- You’d think the Jays organization was chock-full of pitching prospects, given that they have used four of their past five first round picks on hurlers.
- The signing deadline for all 2010 draftees is August 16. Perhaps Anthopoulos had signability in mind, as he failed to select a single Scott Boras client on day one.
- Speaking of which, Canadian James Paxton, whom the Jays took in the supplemental first round last year but could not sign and who is a Boras client, still remained available at the end of the 50-pick first round.
- Anthopoulos will remain busy on the draft’s second day, with three picks in the second round (No.s 61, 69 and 80) and two in the third (93 and 113).
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Written by Ben Fisher