Bounty for Blue Jays?

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:04 AM ET

TORONTO - Only one team failed to sign its first-round pick from the June draft.

And only one team, besides the Tampa Bay Rays, signed four of the first 60 players selected in North America.

That team, in both cases, would be your Toronto Blue Jays.

It is not the easiest draft to evaluate.

The fact that the Jays failed to reach agreement on their first pick for the first time in franchise history, takes some glow off the supplemental-round bounty.

Right-hander Tyler Beede, the Jays first-round pick, told ESPN Boston he and the Jays were a million apart.

The Jays’ final offer was $2.3 million US.

So, Beede, selected 21st overall, heads to Vanderbilt University to try to win a College World Series, stay healthy and enter the 2014 draft.

As a result, the Jays will get the 22nd pick overall next June.

“I’m happy with the way things went,” said Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish. “We didn’t go in with the intention of not signing our first rounder, but I look at the list and I’m happy with the players we signed.”

In the supplemental round the Jays signed four high schoolers: Outfielder Jacob Anderson of Chino Calif., (35th) for $990,000; right-hander Joe Musgrove of El Cajon, Calif., (46th) for $500,000; outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. (53rd), the son of the former major leaguer from McIntosh, Ga., for $800,000; and right-hander Kevin Comer of Tabernacle, N.J., (57th) for $1.65 million.

The Blue Jays went above slot on all but Musgrove, but he’s further down the road at this point having signed early and getting into the system ahead of other pitchers.

The Jays signed second-round pick, lefty Daniel Norris of Johnson City, Tenn., who Tinnish said was a “first-round talent.” Norris was the top money earner getting a $2-million bonus to give up a Clemson scholarship.

“The difference between this draft and 2010? Last year I was extremely excited, this year I feel the same way, but this year we have more premium talent deeper in the draft.”

Baseball America draft expert John Manuel listed the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals as draft winners, listing them as Making the Deadline.

The Jays? They fell under the Just Made It category for their unique status with the unsigned first rounder but four supplementals signed.

The Jays scouting stars of the past year’s search for talent?

Area scout Joey Aversa of Fountain Valley, Calif., a former San Diego Padres coach, the final addition to the Jays scouting roster for 2011. Aversa played eight years in the minors mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals reaching triple-A Louisville in 1995.

Both Anderson and seventh-rounder Christian Lopes of Huntington Beach, Calif., given $800,000, were from Aversa’s area. Lopes has been compared to former Cal State Fullerton star Christian Colon

“Joe was on Anderson from the start. When I walked into the park with him, Anderson’s mother Linda comes over, gives him a hug and says, “Hey Joe how are you?’ That tells he’s doing a good job.

“He knew Lopes before the year began. Lopes played at Edison, Joe was a Fountain Valley grad, the schools were rivals.”

Anderson won the home run derby at the Under Armour All-America game at Wrigley Field a year ago August, nearly putting a ball on Waveland Ave. He had committed to Pepperdine.

Area scout Nate Murrie of Bowling Green, Ky., had a strong showing too, following Norris and eighth-rounder Mark Biggs, given $600,000.

“Nate saw every one of Norris’ starts in the eastern Tennessee,” Tinnish said. “I saw Norris twice in the spring and twice in the summer (East Cobb Yankees in Georgia).”

A year ago the Jays spent $11 million dollars. This year the expenditure was roughly the same.

Briefly

On the home front, 23 of 35 drafted Canadians signed, in addition to four free agents. Seven signed for a six-figure signing bonus, led by Trevor Gretzky, drafted by the Cubs, and Tom Robson, who went to the Blue Jays.


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