By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
The Blue Jays went back to Notre Dame for 21-year-old second baseman Nick Podkul in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. Notre Dame is the alma mater of another second baseman tearing up double-A by the name of Cavan Biggio.
Podkul, a junior, hit .312/.433/.525 with 13 doubles, three triples and eight home runs, stealing nine bases in 11 attempts over 54 games for the Fighting Irish. MLB.com says that "Podkul doesn't wow you with his tools, but he's hit in the ACC, he has a good feel for the game, and he's a solid defender."
The Blue Jays selected Joey Murray in the eighth round, out of Kent State with the 236th pick overall. According to MLB.com, Murray, a 6-foot-2 junior righty, sits 87-88 mph and can touch 91 mph with his fastball and features "a good curveball and decent slider and changeup." He has a deceptive delivery that "confounds opposing hitters," allowing his stuff to play up. Murray had a stellar 1.63 ERA in his senior year, striking out 132 batters over 88 innings, walking only 31 and had a 0.85 WHIP, winning the MAC (Mid-American Conference) Pitcher of the Year and was named All-Conference. He also pitched in the Cape Cod League last summer, tossing 31 1/3 innings with a 4.31 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, striking out 29 and walking eight.
Murray was ranked the No. 273 prospect by Baseball America and noted that he's "a favorite of scouts and coaches because of his ability to generate swings and misses with very modest velocity," comparing him to Josh Collmenter.
Santa Clara first baseman Jake Brodt made it into the annals of history by hitting two grand slams in one inning in February of this year. Brodt hit .270/.335/.555 in his senior year of college, smacking 15 doubles and 15 home runs (more than doubling his total from the year prior) but struck out 52 times in 211 at bats with just 17 walks. As a senior, it's likely Brodt will sign for less than slot ($149,400) and will allow to Jays to free up some money for the high schoolers selected higher up.
The Blue Jays went for another senior, centre fielder Cal Stevenson, out of the University of Arizona, with their final pick on Tuesday. The 21-year-old is a left-handed hitter who probably profiles more as a speed guy than any of the other hitters they selected so far. Stevenson hit .293/.416/.397 with three doubles, six triples and a home run in his senior year, stealing eight bases in 13 attempts but he peaked in the stolen base category at Chabot College in 2016, stealing 21 bases in 25 attempts. Stevenson will likely sign for a small bonus and he looks like he was a real character guy for Arizona, getting called the "heart and soul" by the Zona Zealots website and was called a "baseball rat" by the Arizona Wildcats coach, Jay Johnson.
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available!