MLB Draft FAQ: With two top picks, Blue Jays positioned for big draft

Sportsnet's Shi Davidi previews the 2017 MLB Draft and discusses how this will be the first one for the new Jays head office. Shi also talks about who the top Canadians off the board might be.

Note: this article was originally published in June 2.

Look no further than the Toronto Blue Jays‘ roster for a reminder that the MLB draft offers teams the best and cheapest avenue available for acquiring impact talent.

Core players like Kevin Pillar, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez were all drafted by the Blue Jays before becoming stars at the MLB level, and while Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Marco Estrada weren’t Blue Jays selections, they were acquired with players who were.

With that in mind, here’s a look ahead at Monday’s MLB draft.

When does it take place?
The draft begins Monday, June 12 at 7 p.m. ET with the first round, competitive balance round A and second round. Rounds 3-10 take place the following day and the draft concludes Wednesday, June 14 with rounds 11-40.

When do the Blue Jays pick?
MLB determines the draft order by reversing the the previous year’s standings, which gives the Minnesota Twins the first overall pick and lines the Blue Jays up for the 22nd pick.

Six picks later, the Blue Jays get to choose again, this time as compensation for losing Edwin Encarnacion to Cleveland. That makes the Blue Jays one of three teams with multiple first-round picks, joining the Texas Rangers (26th and 29th) and the Chicago Cubs (27th and 30th).

Steve Sanders will be running his first draft as the Blue Jays’ amateur scouting director after joining the club from the Boston Red Sox last fall. Meanwhile, former all-star Lloyd Moseby and area scout Mike Tidick will represent the Blue Jays at the draft in Secaucus, N.J.

Who do the experts have the Blue Jays picking?
It’s tough enough to predict the first few picks of the draft, let alone anything late in the first round. Perhaps that’s why draft experts could see the Blue Jays going in any number of directions:

Baseball America’s John Manuel has the Blue Jays taking Missouri right-hander Tanner Houck 22nd and LSU right-hander Alex Lange 28th in his latest mock draft

Jim Callis of MLB.com has the Blue Jays taking North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth 22nd and high school right-hander Dana Hills 28th.

•At ESPN, Keith Law’s latest mock draft has the Blue Jays taking right-hander Alex Faedo 22nd. Law has heard the Blue Jays linked mostly to college players with an emphasis on position players.

Ben Nicholson-Smith and Arden Zwelling take fans inside the Blue Jays and around MLB with news, analysis and interviews.

Who are the best players overall?
Hunter Greene might be the most intriguing player of all because he’s a legitimate two-way threat. On the mound the 17-year-old can throw 100 m.p.h. while mixing in a slider and change-up. At the plate he’s a good enough hitter to warrant a first-round selection with impressive power and bat to ball skills.

Greene might not be the first overall pick, though. Another two-way player, Brendan McKay, could tempt the Twins, and Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright might be the best college arm available.

Which players tend to be available where the Blue Jays are picking?
Rafael Palmeiro, Craig Biggio and Jayson Werth are among the best 22nd overall picks of all-time. More recently, Marcus Stroman was the 22nd overall pick for the Blue Jays in 2012.

There will be still plenty of talent available six picks later. Lee Smith and Charles Johnson are some memorable 28th overall picks, while former Blue Jays Colby Rasmus and Ben Revere were also taken 28th.

How much can the Blue Jays spend?
The Blue Jays have an allotment of $8,231,000, which ranks 13th in baseball. That provides Sanders with creative license, whether it means spending big on top picks or using that financial flexibility to select well-regarded players in later rounds with an eye toward luring them away from college commitments.