Jays pick Bickford No. 1 in 2016

by on January 18, 2014

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* RHP Phil Bickford, selected 10th over all in North America by the Toronto Blue Jays is at Cal-State Fullerton and projected to be the No. 1 pick over-all by Perfect Game scouting service. ….

 

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By Allan Simpson

When the Toronto Blue Jays failed to sign right-hander Phil Bickford, the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft, and the Miami Marlins didn’t agree to terms with lefthander Matt Krook, a supplemental first-rounder, the two California high school pitchers immediately moved to the top of the charts for the 2016 draft.

Perfect Game has taken an early look at the Top 100 Prospects in that class, and Bickford, now a freshman in college at Cal State Fullerton, is predictably No. 1 on the list, and Krook, who hooked on at Oregon, is at No. 2.

The two were relative late bloomers as high-school seniors, and along with Florida State freshman shortstop Ben Deluzio, were easily the highest unsigned picks from the 2013 draft to make their way into the college ranks. Deluzio, a third-round pick of the Marlins, ranks No. 48 overall among the top prospects for 2016.

Bickford’s place at the top of the list was a given when he rejected a final offer from the Blue Jays, who failed to sign their first-round pick for the second time in three years.

He expressed a desire to attend college all along, and the Blue Jays were never able to match his pre-draft price tag of a reported $4.25 million without being assessed a possible significant penalty for going over their allotted bonus amount under terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The slot amount for the 10th pick in the draft was $2.921 million, and the Jays would have been taxed for any amount they paid above $3,665 million.

With a fastball in the 91-94 mph range that peaked at 97, along with good movement and location of the pitch, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Bickford made an easy transition to the college ranks at Cal State Fullerton this fall, though is still developing a better feel for his change up.

Despite an impressive resume, he may have a difficult time breaking into Fullerton’s weekend rotation in 2014 as the Titans return three starters who combined for 33 wins a year ago, including sophomore righthanders and Thomas Eshelman (12-3, 1.48) and Justin Garza (12-0, 2.03), two projected high-round picks in 2015.

Krook’s desire to make a meaningful contribution at Oregon as a freshman is also cut out for him as the Ducks have an equally-formidable, established rotation with the return of junior right-hander Tommy Thorpe (7-5, 2.16), sophomore left-hander Cole Irvin (12-3, 2.48) and junior left-hander Jake Reed (6-6, 3.50)—all of whom have experience on the mound with USA Baseball’s college-national team.

Unlike Bickford, Krook had every intention of signing out of high school when drafted by the Marlins, and had actually agreed to terms on a contract that was to provide a $1.6 million bonus. But his hopes were dashed late last June after he failed his physical, when Marlins team doctors discovered irregularities in his pitching shoulder. Rather than agree to a reduced bonus offer of $600,000 from the team, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound lefthander elected to not sign at all, and turn his attention to playing in college.

Krook showed the makings of a solid three-pitch mix this fall in practice at Oregon, with a fastball that was typically at 91-93 mph and peaked at 95, along with a knee-buckling 12-to-6 curve. His stuff was electric when his delivery was in sync, but he still has a ways to go to establish more consistent command, and undoubtedly will begin his career at Oregon as a mid-week starter or long reliever.

Several other college freshmen had aspirations of being drafted in the first round out of high school last June, but slipped appreciably for a variety of reasons—most chiefly signability. Among the highly-ranked first-year players are Tennessee right-hander Kyle Serrano (No. 5), Nebraska outfielder Ryan Boldt (No. 7), Clemson catcher Chris Okey (No. 8) and Oklahoma State left-hander Garrett Williams (No. 10).

Florida had the greatest recruiting haul of any college with five players in the Top 100, while Auburn, California, Oklahoma State and Texas have three players apiece.

The high-school crop in the 2016 draft class is naturally much less defined, but Perfect Game ranks a pair of Florida righthanders, Anthony Molina and Austin Bergner, as the top candidates.

The 6-foot-3, 170-pound Bergner is presently the more-developed of the two, with better raw stuff overall along with superior command and pitchability, but he is also 17 months older than the fast-rising Molina and will be 19 when eligible for the draft in 2016. He has already attended a dozen Perfect Game events, so his rising prospect status in the scouting industry is well-established.

Molina is still growing into his lanky 6-foot-4, 190-pound. frame, but has a long, loose and fast arm action with a lively fastball that has been clocked up to 93 mph, and is already considered a more dominant pitch than Bergner’s. Molina should only add significant velocity as he matures physically, but his secondary pitches need developing.

Only time will tell whether Molina or Bergner, or any of the other top prospects in this year’s high-school and college classes, have the talent to eventually overtake Bickford and Krook as the top talent in the 2016 class, but they’ll have the better part of three years to try and accomplish it.

2016 MLB Draft: Top 100 Prospects

RK
Player
POS
YR
B-T
HT
WT
School
Hometown
ST
Last Drafted
Commitment
1Phillip BickfordRHPFRR-R.6-4200Cal State FullertonWestlake VillageCABlue Jays ’13 (1)
2Matt KrookLHPFRL-L.6-4205OregonHillsboroughCAMarlins ’13 (1-S)
3Anthony MolinaRHPSOR-R.6-4185Somerset AcademyPembroke PinesFLMiami
4Austin BergnerRHPSOR-R.6-3170West OrangeWindermereFL
5Kyle SerranoRHPFRR-R.6-2215TennesseeKnoxvilleTNRockies ’13 (29)
6Seth BeerOFSOL-R.6-3185LambertSuwaneeGA
7Ryan BoldtOFFRL-R.6-2200NebraskaRed WingMNRed Sox ’13 (22)
8Chris OkeyCFRR-R.6-0185ClemsonEustisFLPadres ’13 (31)
9Chase StrumpfSSSOR-R.6-0160J SerraLadera RanchCAUCLA
10Garrett WilliamsLHP/OFFRL-L.6-3190Oklahoma StateShreveportLAPadres ’13 (33)
11Blake RutherfordOFSOL-R.6-2180Chaminade PrepSimi ValleyCAUCLA
12Zack CollinsC/1BFRL-R.6-3220MiamiPembroke PinesFLReds ’13 (27)
13Will Benson1BSOL-L.6-6200Westminster SchoolAtlantaGA
14Keegan ThompsonRHP/1BFRR-R.6-2175AuburnCullmanALNever drafted
15Connor JonesRHPFRR-R.6-3200VirginiaChesapeakeVAPadres ’13 (21)
16Mickey MoniakOFSOL-R.6-1165La Costa CanyonEncinitasCAUCLA
17Jordan SheffieldRHPFRR-R.6-1190VanderbiltNashvilleTNRed Sox ’13 (13)
18Chris MachamerSS/RHPSOR-R.6-1180WashingtonMassillonOH
19Eric LauerLHP/1BFRR-L.6-3205Kent StateElyriaOHBlue Jays ’13 (17)
20Cal QuantrillRHPFRL-R.6-3185StanfordPort HopeONYankees ’13 (26)
21Josh SawyerLHPFRR-L.6-3200TexasSan AngeloTXBlue Jays ’13 (32)
22Drake FellowsRHPSOL-R.6-4185Joliet Catholic AcademyPlainfieldILVanderbilt
23Bo BichetteSSSOR-R.5-11195Laurel SpringsTierra VerdeFL
24Robert TylerRHPFRL-R.6-5210GeorgiaCordeleGAOrioles ’13 (28)
25Joe Skinner3BSOL-R.6-2175Bishop MooreHeathrowFLCentral Florida
26Willie AbreuOFFRL-L.6-3210MiamiHialeahFLReds ’13 (14)
27T.J. CollettCSOL-R.6-2200North VigoTerre HauteIN
28Cavan Biggio2B/3BFRL-R.6-2180Notre DameHoustonTXPhillies ’13 (29)
29A.J. PukLHP/1BFRL-L.6-7225FloridaCedar Ra[idsIATigers ’13 (35)
30Stephen WrennOFFRR-R.6-2170GeorgiaMariettaGABraves ’13 (28)
31Tyler MondileRHPSOL-R.6-1165Gloucester CatholicWenonahNJ
32Reggie LawsonRHPSOR-R.6-3195Victor ValleyAdelantoCA
33Chandler EdenRHPFRR-R.6-4175Oregon StateYuba CityCAMarlins ’13 (36)
34Will CroweRHPFRR-R.6-1230South CarolinaPigeon ForgeTNIndians ’13 (31)
35Dakota DonovanRHPSOR-R.6-5210PineviewWashingtonUT
36Brett MoralesRHPFRR-R.6-2195FloridaTampaFLReds ’13 (24)
37J.B. WoodmanOFFRL-R.6-2190MississippiOrlandoFLMets ’13 (40)
38Gregory VelizSSSOR-R.6-0185Key WestKey WestFL
39Matt VogelRHP/SSFRR-R.6-0185South CarolinaMedfordNYDiamondbacks ’13 (36)
40Heath QuinnOFFRR-R.6-3195SamfordBirminghamALIndians ’13 (12)
41Ryan HendrixRHPFRR-R.6-3190Texas A&MCypressTXIndians ’13 (17)
42Trever MorrisonSSFRR-R.6-0175Oregon StateMill CreekWARed Sox ’13 (38)
43Jonathan GettysLHPSOR-L.6-1185GainesvilleGainesvilleGA
44Garrett HampsonSSFRR-R.6-0165Long Beach StateRenoNVNationals ’13 (26)
45Ryan SluderOFFRR-R.6-3190Oklahoma StateAmarilloTXNever drafted
46Logan Pouelsen1BSOL-R.6-0185Huntington BeachHuntington BeachCAUCLA
47Tres BarreraCFRR-R.6-0210TexasMcAllenTXNever drafted
48Ben DeluzioSSFRR-R.6-3190Florida StateWindermereFLMarlins ’13 (3)
49Drew MendozaRHPSOL-R.6-4170Lake MinneolaMinneolaFL
50Luke PersicoOF/SSFRR-R.6-3185UCLANewhallCARockies ’13 (37)
51Reid SchallerRHPSOR-R.6-2165LebanonLebanonIN
52Nick EicholtzRHP/SSFRB-R.6-4185AlabamaOdessaFLBrewers ’13 (29)
53Josh StephenOFSOL-L.6-0170Mater DeiChino HillsCASouthern California
54Stephen AlemaisSSFRB-R.6-0180TulaneBronxNYNever drafted
55Andy McGuire3BFRR-R.6-1190TexasOaktonVARockies ’13 (36)
56Mason Templet3BSOL-R.6-2200St. Thomas MoreLafayetteLA
57Jeremy MartinezCFRR-R.6-11200Southern CaliforniaFountain ValleyCACubs ’13 (37)
58Anfernee GrierOF/SSFRR-R.6-1180AuburnPhenix CityALTigers ’13 (39)
59Ty DuvallCSOL-R.5-11195LebanonLebanonOHVanderbilt
60Spencer Steer3BSOR-R.5-11170MillikenLong BeachCA
61Thomas HatchRHP/3BFRR-R.6-2205Oklahoma StateTulsaOKRockies ’13 (32)
62Arden PabstCFRR-R.6-1210Georgia TechSherman OaksCANever drafted
63Bobby NicholsonRHPSOR-R.6-3200St. Anne’s BelfieldCharlottesvilleVAVirginia
64Reagan BazarRHPFRB-R.6-7230Louisiana-LafayetteSaladoTXPirates ’13 (33)
65Brad DeboCSOL-R.6-2190OrangeDurhamNCSouth Carolina
66Cam ShepherdSSSOR-R.6-0170Peachtree RidgeDuluthGA
67Dane DunningRHPFRR-R.6-3195FloridaFleming IslandFLBlue Jays ’13 (34)
68Alec HansenRHPFRR-R.6-7235OklahomaLovelandCORockies ’13 (25)
69Charles KingRHPSOR-R.6-4175CoppellCoppellTX
70Andrew BakerLHPSOL-L.5-10160Haines CityTavaresFL
71Sheldon NeuseSS/RHPFRR-R.6-0195OklahomaFort WorthTXRangers ’13 (38)
72Rylan Thomas3BSOR-R.6-0220West OrangeWinter GardenFLCentral Florida
73Nick DeegLHPFRL-L.6-5200Central MichiganLake OrionMITigers ’13 (37)
74Mason ThompsonRHPSOR-R.6-6180Round RockRound RockTXTexas
75Logan ShoreRHPFRR-R.6-3205FloridaCoon RapidsMNTwins ’13 (29)
76Nick QuintanaSSSOR-R.5-10165Arbor ViewLas VegasNVSouthern California
77Tyler FitzgeraldSSSOR-R.6-2175RochesterRochesterILLouisville
78Jack LittleRHPSOL-R.6-3180Bishop GormanLas VegasNV
79Brennon LundOFFRL-R.5-11185Brigham YoungSouth JordanUTNever drafted
80Kevin DavisRHPFRR-R.6-1200AuburnBrewtonALNever drafted
81Matthew ThaissCFRL-R.6-0195VirginiaJacksonNJRed Sox ’13 (32)
82Christian MoyaOFSOR-R.5-11165Bishop AmatChino HillsCASouthern California
83Jalen HarrisonOFSOR-R.6-4205Fluvanna CountyPalmyraVAVirginia
84Dion HendersonLHPSOL-L.6-4190Divine ChildDearbornMIKentucky
85Garrett GoodenRHPSOR-R.6-4200St. Pius XDecaturGA
86Alex SchickRHPFRR-R.6-7200CaliforniaSan DiegoCAAstros ’13 (17)
87Jack WeisenburgerRHPSOR-R.6-3195RockfordRockfordMI
88Daulton JefferiesRHP/SSFRL-R.5-11175CaliforniaAtwaterCAMarlins ’13 (39)
89Blake SabolCSOL-R.6-3190Aliso NiguelAliso ViejoCA
90Jackson LambOF/RHPFRR-R.6-6205MichiganTemperanceMIRangers ’13 (20)
91Nick DerrSSSOR-R.6-0175Geneva CommunityGenevaILFlorida State
92Errol RobinsonSSFRR-R.5-11170MississippiBoydsMDNever drafted
93Taylor TrammellOFSOL-L.6-2185Mt. Paran ChristianPowder SpringsGA
94Zach FarmerLHPFRL-L.6-3195Ohio StatePiketonOHNever drafted
95Pete Alonso3BFRR-R.6-3225FloridaTampaFLNever drafted
96Joey Polak3BSOR-R.6-4200Notre DameQuincyIL
97Trevin HaseltineRHPFRR-R.6-3215CaliforniaVacavilleCANever drafted
98Ryan BurnettLHPFRL-L.6-2210Texas ChristianThe WoodlandsTXNever drafted
99Dominic TaccoliniRHP/1BFRR-R.6-2230ArkansasSugar LandTXNever drafted
100Landon MinerRHPSOR-R.6-2185BryanTomballTX
Allan Simpson
Allan Simpson was one of three 2011 inductees into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He was formally enshrined June 18, 2011 in St. Marys, Ont., and joined by former Blue Jays all-star closer Tom Henke and the late George "Dandy" Wood, a Prince Edward Island native who played in almost 1,300 major-league games in the 19th century. Allan, a native of Kelowna, B.C., is the founder of Baseball America, the most influential baseball publication in the business.

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