The Blue Jays entered the second day of the 2018 MLB draft after taking a hard-hitting third baseman and the son of a former big-leaguer on Monday night. The early portions of Tuesday saw the team focused on pitching before pivoting to a catching prospect that has flown under the radar. The team has already gone over slot to ensure that one of their picks, a highly rated but potentially difficult-to-sign player, will be a member of the organization.
Round 3, Pick No. 88 – Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Magnolia (TX) HS
MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades
Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Measuring 6’5″ and weighing 220 lbs, Kloffenstein is the current teammate of Blue Jays first-rounder Jordan Groshans and is committed to Texas Christian University. He’s one of the younger players in the draft class at 17 years old, and the commitment to TCU appeared to be the only real “knock” in his scouting reports — both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline made note of the fact that he might be very tough to sign. There was some speculation that he might get taken in the first round in the run-up to yesterday, but that obviously wasn’t the case.
This looks like a nice pick for Toronto at 88. MLB Pipeline had him ranked at 43, with praise for his “advanced feel for a breaking ball, showing the ability to morph his sharp slider into a bigger-breaking curveball or a harder cutter.” Kloffenstein also features a four-seam fastball that can touch 96 and a hard-sinking two-seamer that settles in the low 90s. Baseball America was even more bullish on Kloffenstein, putting him at 35th and saying, “[t]his past year, Kloffenstien has shown a lot of progression, as he was always a big, physical presence but has now taken steps mentally and physically. He has cleaned up his body and holds his velocity deeper into starts, while also flashing a changeup in the mid-80s that induced several swings and misses over the summer.”
FanGraphs ranked Kloffenstein 50th while Keith Law’s ranking was the lowest at 61, though the young righty was one of Law’s top-10 players on the board heading into today. While his fastball and variety of breaking balls are the main attractions, most of the reports also mention the strength of his changeup. Described as a prototypical Texas Prep arm, from the looks of it Kloffenstein projects well as a starter thanks to his durable frame.
Shortly after the pick was announced, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the Blue Jays would indeed sign Kloffenstein, and go well over the usual bonus slot to do so. Toronto is reportedly offering up a bonus around $2.5 million, while the slotted amount for the No. 88 is about $650,000.
Via MLB Pipeline:
Via Baseball America:
Round 4, Pick 116 – Sean Wymer, RHP, TCU
MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades
Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
The Jays keep their Texas connections going in round four with the selection of the versatile Wymer. At 6’1″ and 190 lbs, Wymer has filled a number of roles in his time with the Horned Frogs. The 21-year-old has been starting this year in his junior season but seemed to be most effective as an ace reliever for TCU, coming in and performing masterfully in a multi-inning relief role. He was limited by back injuries earlier this season but has drawn excellent reviews for his command.
Wymer features a four-pitch arsenal, with MLB Pipeline, who ranked him 85th, saying that, “He’ll flash a well-above-average curveball at times, though there are other times when his hard slider is his superior breaking ball. He doesn’t worry about radar guns, working at 89-92 mph with a quality sinker, though he can reach back for 95-96-mph heat when he needs to.” Baseball America has him ranked 89th, with nods to his “above-average control of his big breaking ball and an above-average fastball” as the things that will make him an effective pitcher at the next level. Neither FanGraphs nor Law had Wymer ranked, but overall he’s shown a great ability to command the strike zone and work in all four of his pitches effectively.
The consensus seems to be that Wymer will be a bullpen arm at the next level, as his stuff has played up in a relief role to this point in his college career. In 2017, his sophomore season, Wymer made 30 appearances out of the bullpen and worked to a 2.10 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings pitched. He really turned it up for TCU’s postseason run, retiring 35 of the 39 batters he faced. That season he was also named a member of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and First-Team Academic All-Big 12. As a junior, he’s started in 10 of his 15 appearances and is working with a 3.64 ERA in 74 innings. Impressively, Wymer has 69 strikeouts and just 14 walks.
Via MLB Pipeline:
Round 5, Pick 146 – Christopher Bec, C, Maine
Bec’s selection comes out of nowhere, as he wasn’t a member of Baseball America’s top 500. After attending Miami Dade Community College, Bec headed north to Orono, where he’s settled in as the Black Bears’ starting catcher and occasional DH. He’s started all 99 games of his Maine career, slashing .340/.426/.465 with 30 walks and just 17 strikeouts in 200 at-bats as a junior, and is following that up with .315/.379/.539 with eight home runs, 18 walks and 26 strikeouts through 45 games and 178 at bats in 2018.
In his first season with Maine, he led the team in batting average, OBP, slugging, doubles (20), walks (30) and steals (21). He again led the Black Bears in steals this season with 16, and the jump in home runs from just one as a junior to eight as a senior is notable. Bec was placed on the Johnny Bench Award Watch List prior to the season and ended up earning a spot on the America East First Team as well as the America East All-Tournament Team.
While the four-year senior didn’t earn a mention from any of the main scouting sources, he’s showcased some excellent work with the bat and joins the Jays’ catching pipeline.
Lead Photo – © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports