The Blue Jays had a good draft this year loading up on quality hitters at premium positions. They have now signed their top 13 picks and 27/41 overall, among them are a handful that should slot into the next version of the Blue Jays Top 50 list. My earlier 2017 Blue Jays Top 50 Prospects list was written and posted in January. Look for an updated one in the second half of the season.
1st round, pick 22
Logan Warmouth, SS North Carolina
Age: 21 (09/06/95)
Warmouth is viewed as a safe choice by the Blue Jays. As a Junior at North Carolina he hit .336 with a .404 OBP and 10 HR. His MLB.com scouting reports says he doesn’t have a standout tool, he also doesn’t have any shortcomings. He’s a gifted hitter who controls the strike zone, handles good velocity and uses the entire field. He projects to hit 12-15 HR a season as a major league shortstop. With only average range and arm strength he may move to second base at some point. Recently signed he will debut at Vancouver (A short) soon. As a college bat look for him to advance quickly. I am looking to rank him in the 6-10 range of the next top 50 list.
1st round, pick 28
Nate Pearson, RHP JC of Central Florida
Age: 20 (08/20/96)
The 6’6” 245 lb. right-hander can bring the heat. Reports are that he has gotten up to 102 MPH in bullpen sessions and consistently throws 97 in games. Coming out of High School he went undrafted due to an elbow injury along with his commitment to Florida International. After a freshman season used mostly out of the bullpen he transferred to junior college to get more exposure. In 13 starts this season he had 118 K in 81 AB with a 1.56 ERA earning him the Rawlings JUCO Pitcher of the year award. Pearson will need to develop his secondary pitches if he wants to avoid becoming purely a late-inning bullpen arm. Recently sign he will debut at Vancouver (A short) soon. He should rank in the 6-10 range in the next top 50.
2nd round, pick 61
Hagen Danner, C Huntington Beach HS, California
Age: 18 (09/30/98)
Danner was both a catcher and right-handed pitcher in high school. The Blue Jays have drafted him as a catcher so with his ability to throw a 90-94 mph fastball arm strength as a catcher should be a plus. He is used to the big stage as he was a member of the Huntington Beach team that won the 2011 Little League World Series. He was predicted to go a little higher in the draft but slipped slightly as some teams viewed him as a tough sign with his commit to UCLA. The Jays have taken care of that already by signing him this week to an over-slot bonus of $1.5M. He should debut soon. most likely in the GCL. He should rank in the 11-15 range on the next top 50.
3rd round, pick 99
Riley Adams, C San Diego
Age: 21 (06/26/96)
Reports are that Adams is very athletic for a tall catcher. At 6’5” hitting for power is one of his strengths. He slashed .312/.424/.564 with 13 HR in 202 AB at San Diego this year. Signed already for slot value at $542,400 he debuted in Vancouver (A short) this week with hits in 3 of his first 4 games including going 4-4 with a home run in one of those games. He should rank in the 16-20 range on the next top 50 list.
4th round, pick 129
Kevin Smith, SS Maryland
Age: 20 (07/04/96)
Smith has been a consistent starter both offensively and defensively at shortstop for 3 years at the University of Maryland. He led the team with 13 HR, 48 RBI and slugged .552 in 2017. Reports are good glove, above-average range, above-average power and quick bat. Smith signed for slot value of $405,100 and debuted at Bluefield (Rookie) this week. He should rank in the 16-20 range of the next top 50 list
5th round, pick 159
Cullen Large, 2B William & Mary
Age: 21 (01/22/96)
Large is a switch-hitter who slashed .338/.419/.517 with 6 HR and 39 RBI as a sophomore at William & Mary this season. He has above-average raw power and above-average speed. He signed for the slot value of $302,100 and debuted at Vancouver (A short) this week with hits in each of his first 3 games. He should rank in the 30-40 range on the next top 50 list.
21st round, pick 639
Turner Larkins, RHP Texas A&M
Age: 21 (11/06/95)
Larkins was 8-1 in his first two college seasons but was limited by injuries this year. He was 1-2 in 5 starts and 4 relief appearances with a 3.37 ERA on a Texas A&M team that went to the College World Series. PG ranked him 90th coming out of high school in 2015 but he has not be able to build on that since his strong freshman year. Speculation is that he is considering returning to the Aggies for his senior season to try to be a weekend starter and improve his stock. Should they sign him he would rank in the 31-35 range of the top 50 list.
23rd round, pick 699
Daniel Ritcheson, RHP Bishop Alemany HS, Mission Hills, California
Age: 18 (02/10/99)
Ritcheson is a high upside high school pitcher who throws a 93-95 mph fastball with a plus curve. He has a strong commit to San Diego State and is unlikely to sign with the Jays. If he does though I would rank him in the 26-30 range on the top 50.
27th round, pick 819
Sam Weatherly, LHP Howell HS, Michigan
Age: 18 (05/28/99)
Another tough sign, Weatherly has already stated that he intends to go to Clemson University which is why no team risked using a high pick on him. Should the Jays pull off a miracle and sign him he would surely rank in the latter part of the next top 50 list
Featured image of Logan Warmouth (UNC) – courtesy of MLB Draft Tape/YouTube