By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Drafted in the 21st round by the Blue Jays as a pitcher, Kobby Lopez from Imperial High School in California also played first base and outfield. He stands 6-feet tall and is pretty thin at 155 pounds, leaving him room to fill out physically. From some Youtube video, Lopez has a fastball, changeup, curveball but the video was from two years ago, so unless you're a scout from southern California, you probably won't know what Lopez is throwing these days. Lopez had an 11-1 record and a 0.30 ERA with 130 strikeouts, giving up just 17 hits and 30 walks in 70 1/3 innings. From what I can tell, he's got a commitment to San Diego State so he may take a lot of money to sign.
In round 22, the Jays selected redshirt junior pitcher Gage Burland from Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho. Ranked the No. 2 draft prospect out of Idaho, Burland was a reliever this year after starting five of his six games in 2017 with Lewis-Clark after transferring from Gonzaga. In 33 2/3 innings, he struck out 43 and walked 13, posting a 2.41 ERA, picking up eight saves. Baseball America's J.J. Cooper noted that Burland "is an interesting arm-strength guy. Got a lot better this year" after he was drafted. He improved his draft positions slightly from two years ago when he was drafted in the 26th round by the New York Yankees.
The Blue Jays went with catcher Troy Squires out of the University of Kentucky, a fifth-year senior. Squires looks like he was a key character guy and was a finalist for the Senior CLASS award which focuses on character and academics in addition to athletics. Despite being a second-team All-SEC catcher in 2017, he "willingly allowed coaches to play another catcher over him in back-to-back elimination games in the NCAA Tournament because the other player was a better matchup." While he shows a lot of character, he was drafted for what he can do on the diamond, getting ranked Baseball America's No. 426 draft prospect. In his final year (in which he was working on a Master's degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion), he hit .267/.388/.401 with 12 doubles and five home runs. Baseball America notes that he "has grinded his way to being a modest pro prospect . . . but he's a potential senior sign as a fringy catcher defensively who can make modest contact."
Round 24 brought the Blue Jays a 5-foot-8 righthanded pitcher, Mike Pascoe, out of San Jacinto College North in Texas. While he's listed at 5-foot-10, he's got a big arm, as his video "From 88 to 97 MPH at 5'8" - The Mike Pascoe Story" attests. Attending San Jacinto, Pascoe struck out 27 batters in 15 1/3 innings, walking nine with a 2.35 ERA. He also throws a slider in addition to the big heat. From the video mentioned above, he has a very compact but powerful delivery with a very quick, loose arm motion. The Arlington, New York native had committed to St. John's University for next year but it's a slam dunk that he'll follow a professional route as the Poughkeepsie Journal states that he'll be heading to Florida to undergo medical tests and sign his contract.
Righty Will McAffer (North Vancouver, B.C.) became the Blue Jays' 25th round pick and the first Canadian the Jays picked as the club selected the 6-foot-2 junior out of Tulane University in Louisiana. McAffer pitched at three different colleges over the past three years, spending 2016 at South Dakota State, 2017 at Central Arizona College and 2018 at Tulane where he posted a 6.91 ERA with a 2.09 WHIP, 26 walks and 26 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings. The native of North Vancouver was a member of the Canadian Junior National team and a T12 Tournament alumnus.
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available!