I fully intended to write a well reasoned and all-encompassing post on tonight's MLB draft, the truth is that there is so much fluidity in this draft that being concise (am I ever?) and to the point is all but impossible. So rather than doing that, I'm going to try to do things a bit differently than usual. After some preliminary remarks, what this post will be is pretty much a link-fest of everything I can find from "credible sources" on what the Jays might do. I'll include all i have at the moment in the initial post, and then update as I find new info throughout the afternoon (albeit, I'll be off line for a few hours at some point which can't be avoided). In other words, though I usually don't do repeated udates once a post is up, that's pretty much all this one will be about.
The first layer of foundation when discussing this draft is to acknowledge the guys you'd love to have who will be off the board before you pick. It's pretty much a lock that Harper, Tallion, Machado, Both Sales, Poneranz and likely Grandal will be gone. Also, CF Michael Choice is one player who has been said to be attractive to the Jays which most mocks have off the board before the Jays pick.
Beyond that, there is a huge amount of fluidity, as many scouts suggest that once you get past the first three players, there's a second tier of 5-10 guys and then the next 40 or 50 guys are pretty close in terms of value. That has a lot of teams all over the place on who they are looking at. I'll indulge myself here and mention some of my preferences. I advise you to remember I am neither a scout nor any other sort of expert. I like these guys based on factors which range from heeding the views of professionals I trust all the way down to simplistic factors like who there daddy is.
The names (other than Choice) I'd love to see in the Jays' column over the next couple of days include outfielders Austin Wilson, and Delino DeShields Jr., starting pitchers Karsten Whitson, Stetsen Allie, Cameron Bedrosian, Evan Rutckyj and Addison Reed (the latter two in later rounds), third basemen Nick Castellanos, and Dominic Ficociello, and catcher Kelin Deglan (a Canadian and the only catcher I'm interested in for the upper rounds of this draft).
That list is not, of course, all inclusive and there are others who would meet with my approval - those are just the ones I've gotten a bit of a fetish for. Also, I'd love to see the Jays take another go at James Paxton if he falls to the right slot. He'd have to sign a waiver allowing them to take him, though. I'm assuming that's a formality. Wilson is my favorite among these though, by far. I don't really have any preference as to which pick he falls to, I just want the Jays to draft him.
Wilson, for those who don't know, is widely considered to be the second or third most talented position player in the draft, but also almost entirely unsignable due to his off-the-charts academics and strong commitment to Stanford. He doesn't even have an adviser. Hes also said to peg the meter on character and makeup. My thinking here is that, given that scouts widely agree the talent level in 2011 is much higher than in 2010, there's a good gamble here in trying to land Wilson with the #11 pick because, even if he doesn't sign, you get a high pick in a much stronger drsft next year. I've heard speculation that the Jays ought to go for signability on the first pick and take chances later but i think the exact opposite is true - roll the dice at 11, and go for safe-signs on the unprotected picks you got for last year's unsigned players.
All that said, here's what I'm getting from around the net:
Scouting Director Andrew Tinnish commented on the draft for the Fan590 here.
Frankie Piliere has his latest (and last?) Mock up at Fanhouse here. He disappoints me by shifting from previous mocks giving Wilson to the Jays to now thinking they'll go with a safer selection - Deck McGuire.
Pilere also hosted a live chat on the draft here. if that's not enough he has buzz updates on this page.
Jim Callis at Baseball America has his latest mock here, and it's pretty widely divergent from the conventional wisdom on several picks. He has the Jays taking DeShields at #11 which, as much as I like him, seems a pretty big overdraft to me.
John Sickels' latest "last" mock is up on his blog here. He has now joined Callis in calling it for DeShields, while acknowledging the strong buzz about Wilson.
From a Jays Fan perspective, check out the Batter's Box thread on the draft, and the one at Bluebird Banter, as well as the latter site's brief chat with Andy Seiler of MLB Bonus Baby.
Of course MLB Trade Rumors will be providing hot links all afternoon to the latest buzz.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has Travis Snider clone Josh Sale falling to the Jays. As much as I love Snider, I'm not sure if it's not a bit complicated to have two of him. He's another (along with Sickels and others) who has Wilson falling out of the first round altogether. if that's true, all the more reason I'd grab him at #34 if he's still there (that's the Scutaro pick which is also protected).
Keith Law, of course, has his latest up - but you have to be an Insider to see it and if you are an Insider you really don't need a link from me, right?
Feel free to add any good links you might know of, or clue us in to any late-breaking news that comes over Twitter or whatever, in the comments.
Again, I'll update this post as info and opportunity allows.
Update: Clearly the Jays scoff at my strategy for the first pick - They go with the safe pick in RHP Deck McGuire.
No point, at this late hour, in throwing out more links, eh? i'll still add anything I find worthy but I assume you are all at higher traffic sites by now.
Update: Well, 4 picks tonight - 4 RHP, one I'm ok with, one is kinda exciting, one I never heard of, and one I can't spell. I confess I'm feeling underwhelmed right now.
I'll be in later with a post looking ahead at who's still available that I covet for tomorrow but, ya know, I no longer have any illusion about knowing what the hell is going on.