LOS ANGELES – The wait to No. 23 was once agonizing for Brandon Barriera, and now not simply because he was once rocking a gloomy swimsuit on a 34 C afternoon that was once sizzling even within the coloration on the L.A. LIVE leisure complicated.
Uncertainty in regards to the long term isn’t simple and the 18-year-old left-hander was once keen to determine the place he was once going. He didn’t be expecting it to take two-plus hours for his identify was once known as. He didn’t know the Toronto Blue Jays have been in reality on him till two alternatives prior to it was once their flip.
Feelings struck as soon as it was once reliable. He hugged his circle of relatives. He broke down on TV all over his first post-selection interview after which vowed to make the opposite 22 groups be apologetic about passing him up.
What a trip.
“I’ll stand by means of that till I make my major-league debut or even then, it makes this sport an entire lot more uncomplicated now,” Barriera mentioned in an interview. “I am if truth be told grateful all the ones groups handed up on me as a result of I’ll use that and paintings to recuperate and change into the most productive participant I will be.”
That blend of self assurance and competitiveness made for moderately a primary affect and, together together with his athleticism, mid-90s fastball, plus slider, changeup and breaking ball, helped hook within the Blue Jays.
His skill-set assessments lots of the packing containers they search out in pitchers, although “there’s a better possibility while you’re deciding on a highschool pitcher in that house,” mentioned novice scouting director Shane Farrell. “Someone like Brandon, together with his pitch combine, we’re desirous about the standard of stuff he’s going to convey to the sphere.”
Selecting within the backside 1/3 of the hole spherical left the Blue Jays not able to 0 in on a few avid gamers, as a substitute construction out a gaggle of choices they felt can be to be had in that vary. One most important marvel early within the draft – the Texas Rangers taking right-hander Kumar Rocker at No. 3 – had a trickle-down impact that resulted in a number of different adjustments.
Because the machinations performed out, Barriera waited and waited – “it’s now not a really perfect feeling simply roughly sitting there,” he mentioned – and as soon as his identify was once known as, there was once “numerous aid on my shoulders. That was once the exhausting section. Now comes the straightforward section. I am getting to move and play baseball.”
The Blue Jays have been an surprising touchdown spot, however they have been additionally a welcomed one.
Barriera, known by means of house scout Adrian Casanova, is dedicated to Vanderbilt however the No. 23 pick out’s assigned worth is $3,075,300. In the second one spherical, at No. 60 general, they took shortstop Josh Kasevich out of Oregon, at No. 77 they picked switch-hitting infielder Tucker Toman out of Hammond Top Faculty in Columbia, S.C., prior to grabbing Cade Doughty, a 2nd baseman from Louisiana State one pick out later.
The Blue Jays could have a complete signing bonus pool of $8,367,700 to paintings with, boosted just about $1.7 million by means of the compensatory alternatives at Nos. 77-78 for the departures of Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray.
“We really feel like we’re in a just right position,” Farrell mentioned of signing all 4 alternatives. “We don’t foresee a lot problem in getting issues executed because it stands presently.”
The infielders have been all projected to move upper than they did within the third-party ratings and the Blue Jays have been to “to control our bonus allotment in some way that allowed us to obtain two hitters that we imagine in and a few upside in obtaining two high-school avid gamers lately, as neatly,” mentioned Farrell.
Kasevich, drafted by means of house scout Ryan Fox, is a high-contact, high-walk, low-strikeout hitter with an opportunity to stick up the center.
Toman, decided on by means of Mike Tidick, is the large swing right here, anyone Baseball The us described as “some of the higher hit/energy highschool avid gamers within the elegance” but in addition as a “fringy defender.”
Doughty, scouted by means of Chris Curtis, confirmed larger energy this season, using balls into gaps “with upper go out velocities than noticed prior to,” in line with Baseball The us.
“We bought 3 various kinds of hitters,” mentioned Farrell. “Josh, very a lot contact-oriented. Tucker we imagine has some energy doable and Cade is only a just right hitter in his personal appropriate. We’re desirous about all 3 of them.”
Barriera was once born in New York and grew up a Yankees fan mesmerized by means of lefty Andy Pettitte however moved to Florida when he was once 9. At 11, he joined the Cannons Baseball Academy, the place director Nick James labored with him on his pitching and coached him in go back and forth ball.
Their bond is such is that he was once with Barriera and his circle of relatives on the draft and praised the individual up to the “just right stuff.”
“Maximum of this yr he was once 94-97, as much as 99 a couple of occasions. Actual energy slider. We had it over 3000 RPMs moderately a couple of occasions this spring in coaching. Excellent breaking ball, 11-5 form on that. His easiest pitch could also be his changeup,” mentioned James. “However the factor that individuals are going to determine that they love about Brandon in Toronto is what a really perfect teammate he’s. All over the place he is ever been, he is a team-first man, he is a program-first man, needs to do no matter it takes to win and he celebrates his teammates simply up to he enjoys his personal good fortune.”
In that method, he’ll are compatible appropriate into the tradition the Blue Jays are looking to maintain, with an opportunity to spice up the cadre of younger fingers the crew has at double-A New Hampshire and single-A Vancouver.
Like Ricky Tiedemann, who has emerged because the membership’s best pitching prospect, Barriera is relaxed throwing any of his pitches at any time, with a “bulldog on assault” mindset at the mound.
“I’m now not going to take anything else off simply because you are the ninth-hole hitter, or should you’re 0-for-3 with 3 strikeouts – I am nonetheless going to move at you an identical method,” he mentioned. “On the finish of the day, in some way, I need to make the hitters glance foolish. That is just about what my mentality is available in the market.”
Whilst Barriera taken with Pettitte when he was once younger, lately he’s locked in additional on Luis Severino, the electrical right-hander who “isn’t the most important man at the box, however he performs giant, his stuff performs giant, and he is going available in the market with numerous emotion and performs with numerous power.”
That admiration for Severino and the Yankees must exchange, one thing that donned on him as he sported a crisp, new white Blue Jays jersey over his swimsuit and blue cap on his head.
“Oh yeah,” mentioned Barriera. “I’m 100 in line with cent Blue Jays now.”