MLB deadline approaches

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

It has been seven weeks since the June baseball draft.

And three weeks until the Aug. 15 deadline to sign those drafted players.

Last summer, the Blue Jays failed to reach deals with three of their first four selections, but did sign 17 of their top 21.

With the inking of lefty Sean Nolin, a sixth-rounder with a 12-0 reacord and 1.98 earned run average for San Jacinto junior college, scouting director Andrew Tinnish has five of the Jays’ nine selections in the first three rounds under contract, along with 22 of the club’s 56 picks.

“It’s still early,” said an American League scouting director. “There will be a flurry of signings before the deadline. The Jays had their best draft since Chris Buckley was scouting director in 2002.

“It was an old-fashioned, Toronto draft going back to the Tim Wilken, Bob Engle and Pat Gillick days: Athletic players, high schoolers, easy signs and tough signs, too. If the tough ones sign, great. If not they had extra picks.”

The Jays were said to have $16-million US to spend on this draft and have spent less than $5 million. There are 34 players still to sign, including their first pick, right-hander Deck McGuire of Georgia Tech, considered a difficult sign.

“Looking at their top picks, (general manager) Alex Anthopoulos has a done a good job and I see a strong influence from Dana Brown (former Washingtion Nationals scouting director),” continued the evaluator. “Alex is not like some of the younger guys, he’s respectful towards guys who have been around longer than he has.”

Signed and playing are:

Right-hander Aaron Sanchez, a high schooler from Barstow, Calif., selected 34th overall, was given a $775,000 bonus. Sanchez has worked 3⅔ innings for the Gulf Coast Jays in two games, allowing one earned run (2.45), walking one and fanning five.

Right-hander Noah Syndergaard, a Mansfield, Tex., high schooler (38th overall) signed for $600,000. Syndergaard, still 17, went three scoreless innings Friday against the Gulf Coast Pirates, allowing a hit, a walk and fanning three in his 33-pitch outing. He has pitched seven innings in three appearances, allowing one run (1.29 ERA), walking two and striking out five.

Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski of The Citadel (41st), was handed a $815,400 bonus and has been dominant at Auburn with a 0.75 ERA, walking four and fanning 11 in 12 innings.

Third baseman Christopher Hawkins, a high schooler from Suwanee, Ga., (93rd) received $350,000. Hawkins is hitting .265 with five doubles, two triples and 10 RBIs in 21 Gulf Coast games.

North York outfielder Marcus Knecht, of Connors State (113th), was paid $250,000. The former Ontario Blue Jay is hitting .306 with 11 doubles, a triple, one homer and 14 RBIs in 32 games at Auburn.

Unsigned from the first three rounds, besides McGuire, are lefty Griffin Murphy (61st), a Redlands Calif., high schooler; third baseman Kellen Sweeney (69th), a high schooler from Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and righty Justin Nicolino (80th), an Orlando, Fla., high schooler.

The 6-foot-4, Nolin,of Seaford, N.Y., struck out 84 in 82 innings and was ranked by Perfect Game scouting service as the eighth best arm in Texas. Nolin has been compared to a left-handed version of Florida Marlins’ Jason Johnson. Nolin’s fastball is in the 88-92 range. A year ago, he was a 48th rounder by the Seattle Mariners.

Good start

Mississauga’s Dalton Pompey went 3-for-3 including a double and a home run as Team Canada opened the world junior championship with a 9-2 win over The Netherlands at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, on Friday.

The Jays made Pompey a 16th-round draft pick and scout Jamie Lehman gave him a $150,000 signing bonus.

Brantford shortstop Brandon Dailey, a draft choice of the Cincinnati Reds, hit a three-run homer and singled in a run in the fourth.

Montreal’s Jesen Dygestile-Therrien pitched six innings for the win.

ON THE FARM

— A year ago September the Jays played nine games during their three-week instructional league session. They’ll play more games this fall and instructional will be expanded to six weeks as it was in 2001.

— Tryout camps: Walt Burrows of the Major League Scouting Bureau will host open camps Aug. 17 at Mic Mac Park in Windsor;

Aug. 18 at the Welland Sports Complex, in Welland and Aug. 19 at Connorvale Park in Etobicoke ... Jay Lapp of the Milwaukee Brewers will hold open tryouts Aug. 3 at Fergie Jenkins Field in Chatham and Aug. 4 at Iroquois Park in Whitby ... Start time for all games is 10 a.m.

— The Jays are keeping track of quality at-bats, which is an at-bat benefitting the team. It is a quality at-bat if it results in a: Walk, hit batter, sacrifice, advancing a runner from second to third with zero outs, seven-pitch at-bat, line drive, hard hit ball at infielder, deep fly and a hit.

Organizational leaders, as of July 21, in quality ABs: Vegas: 1. Brett Wallace, 2. J.P. Arencibia, 3. Aaron Mathews; N.H.: 1. David Cooper, 2. Adeiny Hechevarria, 3. Eric Thames; Dunedin: 1. Justin McClanahan, 2. Travis d’Arnaud, 3. Jon Talley; Lansing: 1. Kevin Ahrens, 2. Eric Eiland, 3. Kevin Nolan; Auburn: 1. Lance Durham, 2. North York’s Marcus Knecht, 3. Steve McQuail; Gulf Coast: 1. K.C. Hobson, 2. Jacob Marisnick, 3. Carlos Ramirez.


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