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Many Blue Jays picks to debut in 2010

Many Jays picks to debut in 2010

On the Draft front, the Blue Jays inked their first-round pick, right-hander Chad Jenkins out of Kennesaw State, a big strong hurler with a heavy sinking fastball, as well as plus secondary offerings in his slider and changeup. It was a good start, but would turn out to be the lone player they would sign within the top 100 overall picks in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, as they were unable to sign their next three.

Three of Toronto's first five picks were college products, which may bode well for the more immediate future, including some polished middle infielders. Overall, the crop of 34 signees shows a nice balance of position players and pitchers, upside and present-day ability, youth and college polish.

2009 DRAFT RECAP

Top five picks

1. Chad Jenkins, RHP:

The 20th overall pick out of Kennesaw State, Jenkins went 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA on the mound for his club, earning Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year honors (as well as an all-academic team) and posting a 41-inning shutout streak along the way. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder signed late and will make his pro debut in 2010. He throws a heavy fastball, slider and change and has command and poise on the mound.


NL East
ATL | FLA | NYM | PHI | WAS

AL East
BAL | BOS | NYY | TB | TOR

NL Central
CHC | CIN | HOU | MIL | PIT | STL

AL Central
CWS | CLE | DET | KC | MIN

NL West
ARI | COL | LAD | SD | SF

AL West
LAA | OAK | SEA | TEX

3. Jake Marisnick, OF:

The outfielder from Southern California, the Jays' fifth overall pick, would have loved to gotten his pro career started, but had to wait out the negotiations of the three pitchers taken between Jenkins and himself, which pushed back his signing to the deadline. With solid skills across the board highlighted by speed and good makeup, he should make up for lost time once he gets going in 2010.

4. Ryan Goins, SS:

The Dallas Baptist shortstop is a fine defensive player with good instincts. Between the Gulf Coast League, short-season Auburn and Class A Lansing, he combined to hit .246 with 17 RBIs.

5. Ryan Schimpf, 2B:

A pure hitter out of Louisiana State, Schimpf combined to bat .293 with three homers, 14 RBIs and three steals between the Jays' two short-season clubs in the Gulf Coast League and Auburn.

6. K.C. Hobson, OF:

A power-hitting high school prospect out of Bakersfield, Calif., his dad is former Red Sox star Butch Hobson. Hobson signed too late to make his pro debut and will get started in 2010.

Best of the rest

LHP Egan Smith (7) out of the Community College of Southern Nevada posted a 2.56 ERA in nine starts at Auburn, striking out 36 while walking 11 in 38 2/3 innings. ... Cal State Northridge RHP Brian Slover (8) had a great, if brief, start to his career in the Gulf Coast League, posting an 0.77 ERA in 11 games, walking four while striking out 12. ... LHP Aaron Loup (9), out of Tulane, pitched in 13 games in relief in the Gulf Coast league, walking three and striking out 19 with 3.86 ERA in 16 1/3 innings. ... The Jays got great debuts from a pair of big-college catchers taken with back-to-back picks. Brazilian-born Yan Gomes (10), who grew up in Miami and played his college ball at Tennessee (just like current Jays catcher prospect J.P. Arencibia), hit .300 at Auburn with a New York-Penn League-leading 44 RBIs and 23 doubles. Auburn's Player of the Year, Sean Ochinko (11) hit .324 with six homers and 32 RBIs, including a .356 pace in August, to lead the club in batting, on-base average (.382) and slugging (.527). When one caught, the other would DH (or in Ochinko's case, play some first base). Gomes is the better defensive catcher, however. ... 1B Lance Durham (14), out of the University of Cincinnati, hit .221 with four homers and 23 RBIs at Auburn. He is the son of long-time big leaguer Leon "Bull" Durham. ... RHP Dave Sever (16) had a 3.34 ERA at Auburn, fourth in the organization, and is one of two players from the University of St. Louis to sign with the Jays. The other, RHP Zach Outman (28), is the younger brother of Oakland pitcher Josh Outman. ... RHP Matt Fields (22) posted a 1.22 ERA in the Gulf Coast League, second among all Minor League pitchers, as the Gonzaga product struck out 54 while walking six in 51 2/3 innings. ... SS Jonathan Fernandez (34), drafted out of community college in North Carolina, is the son of former Blue Jays great Tony Fernandez. The switch-hitter batted .211 in 37 games in his Gulf Coast League debut. ... One of the best pro debuts came from one of the latest signs, RHP Shawn Griffith (37), a George Mason pick whose 13.90 strikeouts per nine innings ranked ninth among all Minor League relievers, and his .118 average against ranked second. He posted an 0.53 ERA in 25 games between the Gulf Coast league and a few Auburn outings, collecting nine saves, striking out 52 batters in 33 2/3 innings.

Fast risers

Obviously, top pick Jenkins is expected to move quickly through the ranks, but also watch the polished infield pair of Goins and Schimpf to make their moves. Lower down, keep an eye on Gomes and Ochinko, both big college hitters.

Unsigned

Between Jenkins and Marisnick, their fifth pick, the Jays could not bring the middle three players into the fold. LHP James Paxton (1S), a Canadian-born southpaw who was a Draft-eligible sophomore at the University of Kentucky, returned to college. LHP Jake Eliopoulos (2), also a Canadian left-hander, opted to head to Chipola Junior College in Florida to take his chances on improving his slot in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. That has become quite a prospect-factory, and has welcomed several Canadian players in past years such as Adam Loewen and current Twins outfield prospect Rene Tosoni. The third player, 17-year-old right-hander Jake Barrett (3) from Mesa, Ariz., opted to stay very close to home by heading to Arizona State (which just lost its head coach Pat Murphy, last week). The loss of those three picks as well as several free agents guarantees the Jays will have six -- and as many as nine -- picks in the first three rounds of 2010, so you can be sure their newly reconfigured scouting department is already hard at work planning for June.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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