Woodman could be first homegrown Blue Jays power threat in years

Photo: Eric Friesen

Photo: Eric Friesen

By: Eric Friesen

Canadian Baseball Network

DUNEDIN, FLA. – Outfielder J.B. Woodman has the potential to become the first power hitter the Toronto Blue Jays have drafted and developed since, well, Adam Lind in 2004.

Woodman, selected by the Blue Jays 57th overall in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, emerged as a noteworthy prospect in his junior year at the University of Mississippi when he cracked the Southeastern Conference top-10 in slugging percentage (.578), runs scored (53), and RBI (55) in 62 games.

The 22-year-old could not have been happier to be chosen by the Blue Jays and is optimistic about the opportunity.

“It was really exciting to be drafted,” Woodman said. “I didn’t know much about Toronto or Canada, but once I got to know everyone in the organization, it’s been really great. It’s a really exciting time to be a part of the Blue Jays organization.”

Woodman had a .297 average with 68 hits, 33 runs scored, 29 RBI, and four home runs in 229 at-bats between the Vancouver Canadians in the Northwest League and Lansing Lugnuts in the Midwest League in 2016.

The Orlando, Fla., native knows the expectations for him have risen after a strong debut season in Class-A, but he intends to take things one step at a time.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day. Whenever they need me, they’ll give me the call,” Woodman said. “It’s just a matter of always being ready and preparing myself to get to that level and be at the point where they can call you up.”

Woodman’s career has been on a sky-high trajectory since signing with the Blue Jays last June. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect has appeared in four big-league games this spring.

“It was a really good experience to go over to some of the big-league games,” Woodman said. “And to get some at-bats and just be around the guys in the dugout and see how they go about their business was really big for me. I know that I can be where they are one of these days if I keep working hard.”