Of all of the major sports, the MLB draft is the hardest to project. Injuries happen, players develop slowly, and many fail to life up to the high expectations. But with three day one selections, it is hard to not like the picks of the Toronto Blue Jays. While each player comes with risk, here is why the Jays 2014 draft could have a huge impact on the team’s future as a contender.
In drafting Max Pentecost, the Blue Jays not only have a catcher who can hit for average, but also a player who many ranked as the best all-around catcher in the draft. While playing at Kennesaw State, Pentecost was an elite hitter who had a career .341 batting average, including a .418 average this season. He has also shown power and speed by slugging nine homeruns and stealing 17 bases this year as well. Last summer, he also showed his talents by winning the MVP of the Cape Cod League (the best summer baseball league for college prospects). According to Brendan Kennedy of the star.com, Pentecost idolized Jason Kendall growing up and models his game after current MVP catcher Buster Posey. With a weak group of catchers currently in Toronto, his strong bat may help for a quick rise as the Toronto backstop.
Were it not for an elbow injury that required Tommy John Surgery, Jeff Hoffman would have never been available for the Blue Jays with the 11th pick of the draft. Some even thought that he could have been the top pick before the injury. In his college career, he has been a pitcher who keeps his strikeout rate high and his walk rate low. His career 3.26 ERA shows that he has the pitches to keeps his teams in the game each time out. During his summer in the Cape that past two seasons he has further been able to cement his status as one of the nation’s best. With a stellar fastball and a knee buckling curveball, Hoffman should make his professional debut next season and he has all the makings of a future big league ace.
With their final pick of day one, the Blue Jays got another steal in high school pitcher, Sean Reid-Foley. Even though he went much later, MLB.com rated Reid-Foley as the 18th best prospect in the entire draft. During his first showcase, he struck out all six batters he faced. The Florida State commit, throws a low to mid-90s fastball that can be expected to get better with age. At just the age of 18 the Blue Jays believe in his potential to develop into a star. High school pitchers always come with risks, but when they have potential like Reid-Foley the possible reward far outweighs the risk.
References: MLB.com Top Draft Prospects
Statistics Provided by Baseballcube