Blue Jays' farm system replenished in Draft

Blue Jays' farm system replenished in Draft

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays enter every Draft looking to restock their Minor League system, but, at least publicly, this year felt even more important than normal.

Toronto gutted its farm system last summer when it made a series of moves to take a run at the division title. The moves paid off in the short-term, but they also came with the risk of mortgaging some of the future.

This year's Draft provided the club with its first opportunity to replenish the system since those moves were made. Overall, the Blue Jays seemed to take a well-rounded approach with some safe picks, some risks and the addition of several role-type players the organization was missing.

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"I think we got a good mix," Blue Jays director of amateur scouting Brian Parker said. "We got some position players up high -- three of our first five picks were position players. I think [J.B.] Woodman is at a premium position in center field, Bo Bichette is an up-the-middle infielder, [Joshua] Palacios from Auburn can play all three outfield spots.

"The one thing that stands out is the makeup that every one of them brings. That's something we focus on, and with this group of guys, I think we have some guys who are going to come in and be outstanding competitors and really attack the game of baseball."

Toronto picked 41 prospects over the course of three days. There were 24 players taken from university or junior colleges and 17 from high school. The list included 19 right-handers, six left-handers, eight outfielders, four infielders and four catchers.

The early trend seemed to focus on college talent that should have the ability to move through the system relatively quickly. On Friday, Parker said that was a byproduct of the Draft and that there would be quite a few number of high schoolers the club intended to go with on Day 3.

That proved to be the case with the Blue Jays drafting 15 players out of high school on the final day. Three notable ones went in the top five rounds of that day with left-hander Travis Hosterman (11th round), right-hander Chris Lincoln (13th round) and right-hander Josh Winckowski (15th round) going off the board early.

"We have a pretty good track record with high school pitchers," Parker said. "That's something that we've attacked pretty strongly over the years, and these guys kind of fit our mold.

"They're athletic with good fastballs and projectable. I think there's upside to all three guys and hopefully we can get them [signed] here soon and get them into our system, because I think all three guys ... fit into what we are looking for."

For as much as everybody wants to read into the trends, high school vs. college, pitchers vs. position players, Parker said those are not the type of things the organization focuses on. As cliche as it might sound, it really is about the best player available at any given time. The rest will work itself out.

"You really try to stick to your process and the plan that you have going in," Parker said. "Sometimes when you pass on better players just because it's a high school vs. college guy, just because you want to pick high school or college, you can pass on better talent. If you can stick to your plan, stick to your process, the way you've gone through everything, that's always the best way to get the best players."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.