Jays go hard on pitching: MLB amateur draft

The Toronto Blue Jays stuck to their word about drafting aggressively and an early-round trend of grabbing high schoolers by selecting left-handed pitcher Daniel Norris with their first pick of Round 2 (74th overall) in Tuesday's amateur draft.

Left-hander Norris rated 16th by Baseball America; Stilson a future closer?

The Toronto Blue Jays stuck to their word about drafting aggressively and an early-round trend of grabbing high schoolers by selecting left-handed pitcher Daniel Norris with their first pick of Round 2 (74th overall) in Tuesday's amateur draft.

Norris, out of Science Hill High School in Tennessee, is an 18 year old with good arm strength and the ability to command his fastball that sits around 92 miles per hour, according to mlb.com.

If the Jays are able to sign Norris, who was 8-2 this season with a 2.24 earned-run average, it'll probably be costly as the pitcher reportedly is seeking $3.9 million US.

Four picks later, Toronto went with right-hander Jeremy Gabryszwski from Crosby High School in Crosby, Tex.

Robson is top Canadian

The Toronto Blue Jays made pitcher Tom Robson of Ladner, B.C., the first Canadian chosen in this year's draft, taking him in the fourth round on Tuesday.

The six-foot-four right-hander was ranked 72nd among Baseball America's top-100 high school draft-eligible players.

"Tom has been an important part of our junior national team program for the past two seasons," Greg Hamilton, head coach and director of national teams with Baseball Canada, said in a statement.

One of four returning players to the program, Robson impressed at last summer's World Junior Baseball Championship, enjoying a pair of impressive outings against powerhouse Cuba.

He also led B.C. to victory at the Canada Cup and pitched for the Langley Blaze of the B.C. Premier Midget League.

— Doug Harrison, CBC Sports

Rated 16th on Baseball America's top 200 draft-eligible list, Norris was said to have scouts drooling this spring. He has the makings of three good pitches with a curveball and changeup in addition to a fastball.

In Round 3, the Jays opted for their first collegian of the draft in pitcher John Stilson of Texas A&M.

The 20-year-old converted closer boasts two plus-pitches — a fastball that has touched 99 m.p.h. and an off-the-charts changeup, reports mlb.com.

Stilson, who was the ace of the rotation this season, also throws a curveball and slider.

Right-hander Tom Robson of Ladner, B.C., became the first Canadian chosen in this year's drafting, with Toronto picking him in the fourth round (139th overall).

The Blue Jays' other Day 2 picks:

  • Round 5 (169th overall) — Andrew Chin, LHP, Buckingham Browne & Nichols H.S., Massachusetts
  • Round 6 (199th) — Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, Florida juniors
  • Round 7 (229th) — Christian Lopes, SS, Edison H.S., Calif.
  • Round 8 (259th) — Mark Biggs, RHP, Warren East H.S., Ky.
  • Round 9 (289th) — Andrew Suarez, LHP, Christopher Columbus H.S., Fla.
  • Round 10 (319th) — Aaron Garza, RHP, Galveston Ball H.S., Tex. 
  • Round 11 (349th) — Andrew Burns, SS, Arizona juniors
  • Round 12 (379th) — John Norwood, CF, Seton Hall Prep School, N.J.
  • Round 13 (409th) — Matt Dean, 3B, The Colony H.S., Tex.
  • Round 14 (439th) — Nicholas Wiper, RHP, Newport H.S., Wash. 
  • Round 15  (469th) — Cody Glenn, LHP, Westbury Christian School, Tex.
  • Round 16 (499th) — Richard Prigatano, 1B, St. Francis H.S., Calif.
  • Round 17 (529th) — Brady Dragmire, RHP, Bradshaw Christian H.S., Calif.
  • Round 18 (559th) — Jonathon Berti, 2B, Bowling Green
  • Round 19 (589th) — Luke Weaver, RHP, Deland H.S., Fla.
  • Round 20 (619th) — Joel Seddon, RHP, St Clair H.S., Mich.
  • Round 21 (649th) — Peter Mooney, SS, South Carolina Juniors
  • Round 22 (679th) — Aaron Nola, RHP, Catholic H.S., Los Angeles
  • Round 23 (709th) — K'Shawn Smith, SS, Indian River State College, Fla.
  • Round 24 (739th) — David Rollins, LHP, San Jacinto College North, Tex.
  • Round 25 (769th) — Eric Arce, 1B
  • Round 26 (799th) — Justin Atkinson, SS, North Surrey S.S.
  • Round 27 (829) — Derrick Loveless, LF, Solan Sr. H.S., Iowa
  • Round 28 (859th) — Jorge Vega-Rosado, SS, Miami Dade Comm. College South, Fla.
  • Round 29 (889th) — Taylor Cole, RHP, Brigham Young, Nev.
  • Round 30 (919) — Kevin Patterson, 1B, Auburn, Ga. 

In Monday evening's first round, Toronto selected right-handed high school pitcher Tyler Beede 21st overall. The ace of Lawrence Academy's pitching staff in Massachusetts is touted as having an impressive array of pitches and a major-league ready build.

At six foot four and 200 pounds, the 18 year old has a fastball that hits the mid-90s and scouts say he has an above-average changeup. He went 7-1 with 114 strikeouts in 56.1 innings last season.

The Blue Jays also had four compensatory picks for the off-season departures of relief pitchers Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs along with catchers John Buck and Miguel Olivo.

They utilized those selections by taking outfielder Jacob Anderson 35th, righty Joseph Musgrove 46th, outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. 53rd and right-handed pitcher Kevin Comer 57th.

Meanwhile, the Cubs drafted the son of the Great One. Trevor Gretzky, the son of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, was selected in the seventh round by Chicago. The younger Gretzky knocks in runs — not goals — as a left-handed power-hitting California high school first baseman.

Rounds 2 through 30 are scheduled for Tuesday with the draft wrapping up Wednesday with Rounds 31-50.

with files from Associated Press