Blue Jays' Top Picks Trend In Right Direction
The Blue Jays are confident Logan Warmoth, the No. 22 pick in the 2017 draft, will remain at shortstop as a professional and believe rocket-armed righthander Nate Pearson, selected at No. 28, can succeed as a starter.
The two first-round picks were the team’s first under new scouting director Steve Sanders, who balanced the projectable steadiness of the North Carolina infielder with a bit more of risk-reward proposition in the JC of Central Florida righty.
Some feel Warmoth, well regarded for his makeup and ability to perform along with his tools, may eventually transition to second base. But Sanders noted that the 21-year-old “has got great instincts. His hand and feet work well over there, and he’s a smart baseball player.
“He’s an instinctual defender,” Sanders said, “and we feel very good about how his skills will translate at the pro level at shortstop.”
Warmoth’s offensive output picked up over the course of his three college seasons, with pull-side power and the ability to hit the ball all over the field. He’s a good runner, too, a skill the Blue Jays need in their system.
“He really took a step forward in a number of facets,” Sanders said. “He hit for more power, got on base and made some strides defensively. We've seen a steady progression from when we started scouting him . . . He just continued to grow on us the more we watched him.”
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Pearson surged up draft boards this spring by reaching 102 mph. His secondary stuff isn’t as polished yet, though his changeup draws praise, and that will be key in determining if he succeeds as a starter.
2018 Position Rankings: Shortstop
The most loaded position group in the 2018 prospect class resides up the middle.
“His stuff really trended upwards toward the later part of the season,” Sanders said. “He has really special-type stuff across the board, and as a bigger guy, with a good delivery, certainly we feel he has a great chance to start . . . We’re excited with what he brings to the table when he gets on a mound.”