Day 2 of Jays' Draft filled with connections
Toronto nabs second-generation players, pair of LSU picks
TORONTO -- At the end of a long Day 2 of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Blue Jays scouting director Jon Lalonde had chosen 27 aspiring Major Leaguers the Jays hope will work their way up through Toronto's Minor League system in the coming years.
For Lalonde, who stuck to the team's plan to select the best talent available rather than choosing according to organizational need, no individual players stood out in his mind as being ones the Jays were particularly surprised to see still on the board on Day 2.
"There's no one to really single out," Lalonde said. "We just played our board, and we try to get as many quality players as we can. And every time our turn came, we tried to take who we believed was the best player, and I think we did that. I guess time will tell how we did, but, obviously, we're excited."
While Lalonde may be hesitant to single out players, there are some that might stand out in the eyes of the fans.
Those who followed baseball in the 1980s might remember first baseman/outfielder Leon Durham, who played for the Cardinals, Cubs and Reds. His son, University of Cincinnati first baseman Lance Durham, became a first baseman as well, and he is now a 14th-round pick of the Blue Jays. But Jays fans might be more familiar with Butch Hobson, who spent seven of his eight seasons in the big leagues in the American League East, the division Toronto joined in '77. The Jays chose his son, Kristopher, in the sixth round.
The family ties don't end there. Near the end of the day, the Jays used their 28th pick to select 21-year-old pitcher Zachary Outman. Toronto's fans may be familiar with that name, as his older brother, Josh, is 2-0 in two starts against the Jays this year.
Another pick that might have stood out is the Jays' second pick of the day -- a second baseman from Louisiana State University named Ryan Schimpf. The man who currently patrols second for the Jays, Aaron Hill, is also a former LSU Tiger, as is Jays left-hander Brian Tallet, who has emerged from Toronto's bullpen to become a reliable starter in an injury-depleted rotation. Schrimpf was one of two picks from LSU made by the Jays, who also selected Tigers catcher Sean Ochinko 340th overall.
Toronto's college connections get even closer with Barry University's Yan Gomes. Before transferring to Barry, the 21-year-old catcher played at the University of Tennessee alongside J.P. Arencibia -- the everyday catcher for Triple-A Las Vegas and the Jays' top catching prospect.
Blue Jays -- Top five selections
|20||RHP||Stephen Jenkins||Kennesaw St U|
|37||LHP||James Paxton||U Kentucky|
|68||LHP||Jake Eliopoulos||Sacred Heart Catholic HS|
|99||RHP||Jake Barrett||Desert Ridge HS|
|104||CF||Jacob Marisnick||Riverside Poly HS|
|Complete Blue Jays Draft results >|
Complete Day 2 Roundup
Round 4 (130th) -- Ryan Goins, SS, Dallas Baptist University: Chosen as the NCAA Division I Independent Baseball Player of the Year, Goins put up impressive power numbers at the plate this year, hitting 22 home runs and 17 doubles while batting .371. The junior from Texas -- a pitcher in 2008 -- has a plus arm.
Round 5 (160th) -- Schimpf, 2B, Louisiana State University: After a solid showing in the Summer Valley League, where Schimpf hit .392 with 11 home runs in 27 games and walked more than he struck out, the 5-foot-9 second baseman broke out in his junior year, hitting .320 with 12 home runs in 67 games for the Tigers. He was even better in the playoffs, batting .419 with with two home runs in LSU's 13-game postseason run. Schimpf has been a reliable second baseman and has also spent some time in the outfield.
Round 6 (190th) -- Hobson, RF, Stockdale HS: Hobson is a 6-foot-3 left-handed hitter with plus power, as he hit 13 home runs this year -- a school record. He also batted .488 while knocking in 47 runs in 28 games. Although the Jays chose him as a right fielder, Hobson is also a pitching prospect with a low-90s fastball and a curveball.
Round 7 (220th) -- Egan Smith, LHP, College of Southern Nevada: Smith, who was drafted by the Indians in the 35th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, chose to return to college instead of signing with Cleveland. The 20-year-old, who stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 195 pounds, has a low-90s fastball and impressive strikeout numbers, fanning 76 batters in 63 1/3 innings en route to a 2-4 record with a 2.98 ERA and 23 walks.
Round 8 (250th) -- Brian Slover, RHP, Cal State Northridge: Serving as the Matadors' primary closer, Slover received All-Big West honors in 2009 after posting a 1.39 ERA in 29 appearances. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior showed strong command, striking out 48 batters in 45 1/3 innings while issuing only 15 walks, and his nine saves were fourth in the conference. He has good fastball velocity and a mid-80s cut fastball as well.
Round 9 (280th) -- Aaron Loup, LHP, Tulane University: The 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior from Louisiana made 17 appearances, including eight starts, in 2009, posting a 5.93 ERA. His strikeout numbers are solid -- Loup fanned 61 batters in 57 2/3 innings this year -- but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is more impressive at 6.8 strikeouts per walk.
Round 10 (310th) -- Gomes, C, Barry University: After transferring to Barry before this season, Gomes was named Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year. A 39th-round pick by the Red Sox in 2008, the 21-year-old doesn't have a lot of speed, but he can hit for average and power. His .408 batting average was fourth in the conference, and his 19 home runs and .765 slugging percentage were second and third in the conference, respectively. The Jays selected Gomes as a catcher, but the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder has spent more time at third base during his college career.
Round 11 (340th) -- Ochinko, C, Louisiana State University: Ochinko has shown power at times over his career, batting .493 in 215 at-bats in 2009. The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder from Maryland lost his job as the team's starting catcher after struggling in the first few weeks of '08, and he went into this season as LSU's everyday first baseman.
Round 12 (370th) -- Bryson Namba, 3B, Pearl City HS: Namba has power to the gaps and has shown an ability to hit to all fields. He stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 210 pounds, and he plays solid defense. He has a good arm, and his coach expressed interest in using him as a closer.
Round 13 (400th) -- Matthew Morgal, RHP, Southern Nazarene University: Morgal was drafted in the 18th round out of high school in 2005 by Minnesota, but he went to Seminole Junior College to improve his stock. Morgan has bounced around a bit, leaving Seminole after his coach passed away and going to Lamar University before winding up at SNU. His fastball touches 94 mph and although he considered himself a ground-ball pitcher, the lanky 6-foot-5, 210-lb right-hander struck out a school-record 121 batters this year.
Round 14 (430th) -- Durham, 1B, University of Cincinnati: The UC junior broke school records for hits (99) -- a record previously held by the Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis -- and batting average (.429) this year, and led the Big East Conference in hitting. Originally selected in the 45th round of the 2006 Draft as a high schooler, Durham said he would wait to see where in this year's Draft he was chosen before deciding whether to return to UC for his senior year.
Round 15 (460th) -- Andrew Hutchison, RHP, Lakeland Senior HS: The 6-foot-2, 165-lb Hutchison posted an ERA of 1.11 this year. The 18-year-old struck out 100 batters in 57 innings while walking only 18.
Round 16 (490th) -- David Sever, RHP, St. Louis University: Sever posted an ERA of 3.60 -- 10th in the Atlantic 10 Conference -- for the Billikens this year, opting to return for his senior year after being drafted by the Dodgers in the 21st round last year. His fastball touches 92-93 mph and he also throws a slurve-type breaking ball and a workable changeup. His control is good, as the the 6-foot-4 right-hander walked only 25 batters this year while striking out 70.
Round 17 (520th) -- Steven Turnbull, RHP, University of Iowa: Turnbull was a struggling starter with a high ERA and shoulder problems in 2008 before moving to the bullpen turned his season around. Since moving to the 'pen, Turbull's fastball has gone from 90 to 96 mph and the 6-foot-3, 220-lb flamethrower struck out 43 in 32 1/3 innings this year with an ERA of 5.29.
Round 18 (550th)-- Robert Webb, RHP, Northwest Florida State College: Webb is a power pitcher with a mid-90s fastball who is working on a curveball to complement his heater. He was drafted in the 12th round of last year's Draft by Arizona -- and likely would have been picked higher if not for signability concerns -- but he did not sign. His ERA was 4.93 in 62 innings in 2009.
Round 19 (580th) -- Dennis Tepera, RHP, Sam Houston State University: Tepera was 2-1 in 20 appearances as a junior this year. He struck out 36 batters in 43 innings.
Round 20 (610th) -- Kevin Nolan, SS, Winthrop University: Nolan spent time at third base and shortstop this year, and he has the versatility to play any infield position. The 6-foot-2, right-handed 21-year-old doesn't hit a lot of home runs, but he makes contact at a high rate and has good speed. He hit .392 this year, walking more than twice as often as he struck out.
Round 21 (640th) -- Kurt Giller, RHP, Manhatten HS: Giller is a 6-foot-2, 215-lb right-hander with an ERA under 1.00, a fastball in the high 80s and a 12-to-6 curveball. The Jays will have to lure him away from the University of Nebraska, as the 18-year-old has signed a letter of intent to play for the Cornhuskers next year.
Round 22 (670th) -- Matt Fields, RHP, Gonzaga University: Fields, the 2009 West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, was second in the WCC in ERA (2.86) and wins (8), and two of his final three starts -- all wins -- were complete games. The 6-foot-3, 190-lb right-hander is a ground-ball pitcher who doesn't give up a lot of home runs and has good control. He struck out 73 batters and walked 28 in 88 innings for Gonzaga this year.
Round 23 (700th) -- Brad Glenn, OF, University of Arizona: The 6-foot-2, 220-lb Glenn is a strong hitter with exceptional power. He was drafted by Oakland in the 17th round last year, but he chose to return to Arizona for his senior year. The 22-year-old worked to improve his defense at third base, but the Jays see him as an outfielder.
Round 24 (730th) -- Matt Nuzzo, SS, Brown University: The 6-foot, 204-lb former high school football player has been a solid run producer for Brown, leading the team in RBIs and total bases and finishing second in runs scored over the past two seasons. He has also shown signs of power, hitting 11 runs in 44 games with a .618 slugging percentage.
Round 25 (760th) -- Samuel Strickland, LHP, Texas A&M University-Kingsville: Strickland has shown the ability to go deep into games, as he finished five of the 12 games he started this year. The 6-foot-5 left-hander struck out more than a batter per inning, fanning 82 in 71 2/3 innings while walking only 30.
Round 26 (790th) -- Lance Loftin, RHP, Texas State University: Loftin put up good offensive numbers as a third baseman, but the Jays like his arm a little better. He struck out around a batter per inning out of the bullpen this year, posting a 3.09 ERA in 32 innings.
Round 27 (820th) -- Brian Justice, RHP, St. Mary's College: The 23-year-old Justice, who missed all of 2007 due to injury, had a better season this year than last, lowering his ERA and walks while raising his strikeout rate. In 12 starts and one relief appearance, he struck out 59 and walked 16 with an ERA of 4.31.
Round 28 (850th) -- Outman, RHP, Saint Louis University: A teammate of Toronto's 16th-round pick, Outman averaged more than a strikeout per inning this year, with an ERA of 5.92.
Round 29 (880th) -- Zach Anderson, RHP, University of Buffalo: Anderson did not have a great ERA at 6.61 this year, but the 6-foot-1 22-year-old struck out an impressive 55 batters in 49 innings, mostly out of the bullpen.
Round 30 (910th) -- Timothy McDonald, OF, Edison HS: McDonald did not show a lot of power in 2009, but had a .418 average and, at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, has good size. He also demonstrated some speed, stealing 17 bases in 19 attempts.
Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.