Prosperity wasn't guaranteed for Purcey

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:39 PM ET

There were 32 first-rounders in MLB's annual June draft this week.

You're wondering if there was an overnight expansion you missed? Did the Arizona Diamondbacks re-locate to Ancaster, Ont.?

If clubs don't sign a first-round pick, as two teams failed to in 2008, scouting directors get an extra pick the following year.

When the Washington Nationals failed to sign pitcher Aaron Crow, they received compensation in the form of the 10th overall pick, who turned out to be Stanford's Drew Storen.

The New York Yankees failed to sign Gerrit Cole, and got the 29th pick -- outfielder Slade Heathcott, a Texarkana, Tex., high-schooler.

Being a first-round pick does not ensure a lengthy stay in the majors.

Five years to the week after the Blue Jays selected lefty David Purcey 16th overall, they were calling teams shopping the 27-year-old lefty.

Purcey went 0-2 with a 7.01 ERA in five starts for the Jays this season, before being demoted to triple-A Las Vegas where he's 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA in eight starts.

"We don't see him as a starter," said an opposing scout. "Maybe a reliever."

Reason to root

... for outfielder Josh Garton to make it. The 12th-round pick, who signed with the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, was in Guelph with his brother, John, when he was drafted on Wednesday. Sister Brittany, 19, was given special permission to take a cell phone into class.

"When her phone went off at school she screamed the news to the whole class," Garton said.

Brittany attends the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford after losing her sight at seven months old. She hopes to get a seeing-eye dog soon.

Garton has his sister's name tattooed on his arm ... in braille.

Another reason

Done with his interview, the reporter says thanks and is about to hang up.

"Can I thank you for giving me all those good advertisements, you know, write-ups in your paper," Garton said.

Well, you did hit those 16 homers.

"That's a lie," Garton said.

A lie? You didn't hit 16?

"Naw, they stopped updating the website when the regular season ended," Garton said politely, "counting post- season, I hit 20."

Go get 'em, kid.

Scout of the year

The first weekend after the draft, we name our scout of the year. And this year we're renaming the honour the Jim Ridley Award.

Jim Ridley, who scouted for the Jays and the Minnesota Twins and coached Team Canada, died of cancer in November at a Burlington hospital.

So, who should win our 16th annual honour? Would it be wrong to pick a scout who didn't have a player drafted? Not if the man was Ridley himself.

This year's winner of the Ridley award, is "Rids" himself, beating out Kevin Briand of the Jays, who landed eight picks this week, and Brewers' Marty Lehn, given credit for first-rounder Brett Lawrie in 2008.

Why Ridley? Two of his Twins signings are motoring along: Rene Tosoni of Coquitlam, B.C., is hitting .272, with eight homers and 32 RBIs at double-A New Britain, and Whitby's Jonathan Waltenbury owns a .259 average with three homers and 20 RBIs at class-A Beloit.

One to watch

An opposing scout said that the best prospect in the Jays system may be outfielder Eric Thames of class-A Dunedin. Thames, 22, is hitting .325 with seven doubles, two triples, a home run and 24 RBIs in his first 30 games. He was selected in the seventh round in 2008 from Pepperdine.

Who's next?

Only 360 days until draft day 2010. The top Canadians are Whitby lefty Evan Grills of the Oshawa Dodgers, right-hander Steve McKinnon of Duncan, B.C., Orleans, Ont., second baseman Chris Bisson with the University of Kentucky and Windsor lefty Evan Rutckyj.

Grandpa Buck

To former Jays manager and broadcaster Buck Martinez who became a grandfather this week on his wife Arlene's birthday. His son Casey's wife, Jennifer, gave birth to a baby girl in L.A.

Chip off the block

Aaron Ash Cutajar, 12, son of ex-Jays GM Gord Ash, read the Milwaukee Brewers selections from Rounds 31 to 50.

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THE BOOK ON ...

Blue Jays outfielder ALEX RIOS

What a major league scout says: "Sometimes he plays with apathy. He has all five tools, but he seldom shows them all at once.

"He has a better-than-average arm, speed, power. But he hasn't put his whole game together yet, which would frustrate scouts watching him. I can't imagine what it does to the manager.

"As a player, he should be further along in his development.

"He has all-star capabilities. I know he's been an all-star, but he should be one every year.

"Whatever the reason, he can't put it all together on a consistent basis. At the plate, his backside collapses, his weight shifts to his heels and he has a tough time hitting a breaking ball.

"How do I rate him out of five? A three, but he should be a six."

Weakness: "Whether it his competitiveness, his ability to focus, or his consistency, he can't put things together game in, game out."

Strengths: "It's his potential. If he fulfills it he is a perennial all-star. No one on the team has a higher ceiling."

Season Stats

AB AVG. R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB

253 .261 28 66 16 2 7 27 7

Sun Rating: 3 out of 5

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THE TOP 5

RELATIVES OF DRAFTED PLAYERS

Famous people related to draftees in this week's June draft (with team and round):

MUHAMMAD ALI

Asaad Ali, son of the former heavyweight boxing champ, was a catcher at Niles High School (Mich.)

CARL YASTRZEMSKI

First baseman Mike Yastrzemski of Andover H.S. (Mass.) is the grandson of the legendary Bosox OF.

LEON DURHAM

Lance Durham, son of the ex-Cubs slugger, his .429 at the U of Cincinnati .429, playing 1B and OF.

STAN HANSEN

Baylor University 2B Shaver Hansen is the son of The Lariat, former pro wrestler in the U.S. and Japan.

BUTCH HOBSON

Outfielder Kristopher Hobson, a California high-school star, is the son of the former Red Sox manager.

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NORTHERN LIGHTS

SCOTT THORMAN, CAMBRIDGE

LF, OMAHA, TRIPLE-A

Thorman went to spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers before moving on to the Texas Rangers and then to the Kansas City Royals organization, where he enjoyed the best week of any of the 75 Canadians in the minors. He hit .474 (9-for-19) with two homers and five RBIs.

Runners-up: James Adduci, Burnaby, B.C., .474 with three RBIs at double-A Tennessee (Cubs); T.J. Burton, Ottawa, three saves at double-A Corpus Christi (Astros), Toronto's John Mariotti, seven innings, one run, for win No. 1 at double-A Bowie (Orioles) and Aaron Hornostaj, Waterloo, .500, eight RBIs at Edmonton (independent Golden League).

NICK'S BIG GAME

Four years ago this week, the Blue Jays passed on Nick Weglarz in the June draft. As if seeking revenge, the Stevensville, Ont., native had two triples and five RBIs for double-A Akron (Indians) in a 12-0 win over New Hampshire, the Jays' double-A affiliate, on Wednesday, which was Day 2 of the 2009 draft. The former third-round pick is hitting .237 with 10 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 39 RBIs in 55 games.


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