Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jays nab pitchers in draft, including 2 Canadians

The Toronto Blue Jays selected four pitchers with their first four picks of the Major League Baseball draft, including a pair of Canucks. The club was believed to be targeting lefty James Paxton, who has Canadian roots in the first round, but opted instead to go with burly 6' 4'' righty Chad Jenkins with the 20th pick. He's a big, strong fireballer that has great off speed pitches in his repertoire. He's expected to make a quick ascent up the organizational ladder within the next couple of years.

Toronto did not miss out on Paxton, however, as the native of British Columbia was taken with their next selection. The lefty out of Kentucky racked up 115 strike outs in 78 1/3 innings. The Jays bucked their conventional trend with their next pick, high schooler Jake Eliopoulos from Newmarket, Ontario. He's considered the top Canadian pitcher from the 2009 graduating high school class. Toronto was not done accruing arms, taking RHP Jake Barrett in the 3rd round out of High School.

I like that the team has taken pitchers with their first 4 draft picks. The A.L. East is so competitive with stacked lineups from top to bottom, so the only way Toronto will be able to compete is to throw the best pitching at them. It's interesting that J.P. Ricciardi is now more open to selecting high school kids instead of his conventional "wisdom" of always going with collegiate athletes in the early rounds.

Let's hope this draft pays off. You can never have enough top quality pitchers in the pipeline. If the Canadians pan out, it's an even bigger bonus to have them representing our team.

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