Written By: Nathan Hutchinson
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1st Round: CF Austin Martin – Vanderbilt
B/T: – R/R – H/W: 6’0 185Ibs – MLB ETA: 2022
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Martin has been a coveted prospect since he arrived at Vanderbilt in 2018. Hitting over .360 in 3 years as a starter in the SEC, Martin has a proven track record of hitting for average. Martin has some of the best tools when it comes to understanding how to hit. His present barrel control and bat speed along with his pitch recognition skills are why many people believe he will become one of the top hitters in the league.
When it comes to Martin’s ability to hit, he’s second to none. His controlled compact swing and his ability to understand what a pitcher is trying to do to him and having a high level of strike zone awareness are why Martin can hit and will hit for average at the next level.
Martin has shown some signs of potential above-average power to his pull side, but his all fields approach and willingness to take a pitch outside, and shoot it into rightfield along paired with a steep VBA (vertical bat angle), creates more of an approach-over-power mentality that Martin has. Although it may sound like Martin is content with hitting single after single, he has above average gap power to both left-center and right-center and the speed to turn singles into doubles and double into triples. His launch has improved each season getting more lift on the baseball.
Martin’s swing has been compared to the likes of Alex Bregman, Anthony Rendon, and Mookie Betts. When you watch Martin swing, it’s a very short swing and he stays inside the ball while also making hard contact at an extremely high rate, max exit velocity around 106mph, without generating much swing and miss. His plate vision and discipline led to Martin having a 1:1 BB to K rate at Vanderbilt.
Defensively, Martin has played games at SS, 3B, 2B, 1B, LF, and CF in 3 years at Vanderbilt. While it’s undetermined which position the Jays will develop Martin at, he’s shown the hands and quickness needed to stay in the infield, while also displaying the range and potentially arm to play CF. Athletically Martin has quick-twitch instincts on the bases and in the infield which will serve as another positive tool in Martins toolbox.
Martin falling to pick 5 was extremely lucky for the Jays. Martin was view by some people including myself as the Number 1 player in the entire draft class. Martin is the real deal and will compete for batting titles for years to come.
Round 2: RHP CJ Van Eyk – Florida State
B/T: R/R – H/W: 6’1 205Ibs – MLB ETA: 2023
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Van Eyk, a RHP out of Florida State, was the 42nd pick in the 2020 Draft to the Blue Jays, in 2 years as a starter in the ACC, Van Eyk was a projected late 1st/ early 2nd round pick. With a career 3.21 era in the ACC, a track record of success comes with Van Eyk.
When it comes to Van Eyk mechanics, he’s improved every year at becoming more repeatable and that has helped improve his command of his FB and CH in 2020. Van Eyk is very top-heavy in his delivery, using a lot of hip rotation to generate velocity. When he’s on he’ll mid-90s with life and when he’s not repeating well, he’ll lose command.
Van Eyk’s FB sits between 92-96 with some sink and ASR, the consistency of the velocity and command are an issue but have flashed plus at times. As well as potential velocity growth with a more analytic approach. The FB is used primarily up in the zone, which helps tunnel the CB and SL.
Van Eyk’s best pitch is his CB which sits in the mid-70s, with true 12-6 movement and solid raw spin numbers around 2600rpm. And with the command and confidence to be thrown in count, vs any batter.
His CH has nice fade but lacks the consistency and the command to be a pitch that used more them just a different look. It sits in the low to mid-80s. Van Eyk has added is a SL in 2020, but with a small sample size it’s hard to gauge fully, but it has shown nice depth and works well off his CB and FB. While his CB is in the 70s, his SL can reach 88 and play like a CU at times.
With the Blue Jays lack of starting pitching Van Eyk fills a team need. He is one of the more polished college RHP, which could be seen to be a sign of a low ceiling, but he has all the talent to be a mid-rotation starter at the next level.
Round 3: RHP Trent Palmer – Jacksonville
B/T: R/R – H/W: 6’1 230Ibs – MLB ETA: 2023
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At Pick 77 the Jays selected Trent Palmer, a RHP with minimal starting experience. With only 13 career starts at the NCAA level, it’s unknown whether Palmer is viewed as a long-term SP or RP.
The big strong RHP performed well on the cape cod league in 2019, 1.45 era, and in limited action in 2020 as well, 1.30 era. He has shown the ability to throw 4 pitches, FB, CH, CB, and a SL. His mechanics are repeatable and will allow him to switch between a SP and a RP at ease. Palmer uses his lower half well in his delivery, as well as pitching downhill effectively.
Palmer’s FB sits 93-97 with sink and late-life. His command on this pitch has been wary, as he often misses up in the zone which is dangerous for a sinker type pitch. With the late-life, there’s room for the pitch to become a groundball inducer.
As for Palmer’s SL it’s his best pitch in the eyes of many scouts. It plays as a swing and miss pitch in the 82-85 range. Lots of movement and depth in the sweeping action. His CB is below average, it sits in the low 70s and is used as a more of different look rather than strikeout/swing and miss offering.
Palmer throws a splitter as his changeup, it plays like a traditional changeup with good arm speed, low velocity, and low spin, it sits 80-83, the movement is downhill rather than a normal fading CH. With the Jays more analytical pitching mindset, this pitch could become a plus pitch.
While it’s still unclear whether Palmer will become a starter or a reliever, there’s potential in the arm to be impactful at the next level. With Palmer’s versatility and experience as both a shutdown reliever and a rotation starter, Palmer should be able to adapt well to the minor leagues.
Round 4: RHP Nick Frasso – Loyola Marymount
B/T: R/R – H/W: 6’5 200Ibs – MLB ETA: 2023
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In the 4th Round, the Jays drafted RHP Nick Frasso, out of Loyola Marymount University. Frasso was LMU’s closer for 2 years before entering the rotation in the short 2020 season. He flashed 3 potential average or better pitches as a starter, with a FB, CB and a CH.
Mechanically, Frasso is quite unorthodox with a lot of moving parts, but thanks to his athleticism he repeats he delivery well enough to be a fringe starter. High ¾ delivery with explosives legs and the ball jumps out of the hand.
Frasso’s FB can reach 97mph but sits in the mid-90s, the raw spin numbers on the FB are intriguing, around 2300rpm with really solid hMov (horizontal movement). It’s primarily up in the zone and misses’ bats at an extremely effective rate. The command is an issue and will need to be improved for Frasso to stay a starter.
As for Frasso’s CB, it’s an average pitch with the potential to be an above-average offering. The spin is inconsistent and Frasso sometimes tips the pitch by lowering his arm slot. His CH is a work in progress, it was not used very much before 2020. It can flash average, and then be hung for an extra-base hit; the consistency of the movement and velocity are poor and will need to be addressed.
While Frasso has shown the ability to function as a starter, there are questions about his machines, FB command, and offspeed pitches, resulting in a low floor for Frasso as a starter. If he can’t figure it out, the FB/CB mix will allow him the ability to become a successful reliever.
5th Round: LF/C Zach Britton – Louisville
B/T: L/R – H/W: 6’1 200Ibs – MLB ETA: 2023
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With the Jays final pick in the 2020 draft, they selected Zach Britton out of Louisville. Britton comes with defensive versatility and a contact approach. At Louisville, Britton played fairly regular in all 3 seasons, while putting up solid numbers, career .280/.395/.455 slash line.
Britton is an approach-over-power hitter, in 110 career NCAA games, Britton only struck out 60 times. Yet only walking 39 times, a low walk rate, and a low strikeout rate leads to a put the ball in play mentality that Britton has.
In 2019, at the cape cod league, Britton’s SLG percentage improve from .470 to .500, and then in the short 2020 season from .500, at the cape, to .542. Britton went from 13 extra-base hits in 55 games in 2019 to 12 extra-base hits in 17 games in 2020. So, there’s been an approach adjustment for Britton, more of a double’s mentality. His swing is simple and allows him to see the ball longer, which helps with his approach.
Defensively, Britton is versatile having played games at C, 1B, LF, and RF. In 2020 it seemed that Britton had found a home in LF, his below-average arm and decent mobility, fit the mold of an average LF. While having the ability to move around the diamond when needed. Athletically, Britton is an okay athlete, moves decently in LF and behind the plate. On the bases, he has fine instincts but isn’t a threat to steal more than 4-5 bases a year.
In the 5th round with little money to go out for an over-slot, Britton is a solid pick. Defensive versatility and a good approach with a low strikeout rate, and with potential for average power.
Overall, The Jays had a successful draft, adding a top tier talent in Austin Martin, a potential mid-rotation starter in Van Eyk, two pitchers with potential to stay starter but can be high leverage relievers at the next level, and a potential platoon or bench bat with Britton. While the picks 2 and 5 have relatively high floors and low ceilings. Pick 3 and 4 are the opposite, low floor, and highish ceilings. And finally, Martin, who has a super high floor and a super high ceiling. Really solid draft for the Jays.
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