In case you missed it, the Blue Jays’ first-round pick was Austin Martin, a player widely regarded as one of the top two talented players who fell to fifth overall in Toronto.
On the second day of the draft, Toronto selected four other college players, including three pitchers.
History and hindsight will ultimately be the most honest judges of how the Toronto project. But for now, here’s what south-border experts have had to say about the Blue Jays’ picks.
Kiley McDaniel, ESPN: Kiley McDaniel’s Favorite and Favorite Choices
What they said: Congratulations to McDaniel’s Blue Jays, who not only considered Toronto to be one of his favorites in the draft, but had Martin as one of his best players available — in any position — for a while.
My favorite picks from Round 1:
Toronto Blue Jays
The choice: Austin Martin
Martin has been in the mix to be my best player in the project for a while. In the end, I put Spencer Torkelson as the 19th best player on the top 100 pro hopefuls list once he signs and Martin at the 36th: still very close.
Keith Law, The Athletic: MLB Team Draft Analysis, American League
What they said: You would be hard to find a Toronto fan who wasn’t happy with the way the Blue Jays draft went, and Keith Law would agree with them. Whenever a team takes the player you’ve ranked as the number 1 player available, it’s hard to label their project as nothing less than a success. But when they pull that pick off at No. 5? It’s great.
The Blue Jays had a hell of a draft, picking up my No. 1 with their first pick in Austin Martin (1). I ranked Martin as the best all around perspective on the board this year because of his wide set of skills and speed on both sides of the ball.
Mike Axisa – R.J. Anderson, CBS Sports: Mets, Cardinals, Rays win “A” for solid flights; Yankees, Red Sox among the worst brands
What they said: Axisa and Anderson acted as teachers, distributing grades to each team’s performance. While some teams, including the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, scored low, Toronto finished at the top of its class.
Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin was the top prospect in the draft and the Blue Jays selected him fifth. They must be on the moon. Toronto could have used its remaining picks on potted plants and Martin alone would have made this project an A, but they also landed a fringed first-round arm in the second round C.J. Van Eyk, a riser with the analytically inclined spin-like teams. Fourth-round Nick Frasso could have been a second-round player had he not been injured before the stoppage. Van Eyk and Frasso are two excellent complementary choices to Martin.
Eric Longenhagen, FanGraphs: Summary of the first day’s draft
What they said: Of all the experts on this list, Longenhagen offered perhaps the most balanced assessment of the Toronto project, highlighting the criticisms that can be made against Martin at this stage of his development career.
There are fair criticisms of Martin. He has modest power and no one can really be sure where he fits defensively because he struggled throwing at the first at the start of this year and we never had a wide look at him in the center field. But he has arguably the best approach in the project, high-end bat-to-ball skills, and his swing has beautiful natural loft that, along with the approach, ensures he will strike for power, even if he sends nothing to space. And I believe enough in him as an athlete to think he’s going to find a way to play a valuable defensive position rather than left field or something.