The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a deal with 2021 first-round pick Gunnar Hoglund, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi has confirm.
First reported by Baseball America's Carlos Collazo, the deal comes in at $3,247,500, which is $111,500 under slot for the 19th pick.
Hoglund suffered an elbow injury and underwent Tommy John surgery on May 18, which took him out of top-10 consideration heading into the draft. Despite that, Toronto didn't hesitate from selecting the 21-year-old at No. 19.
“We’re really excited about how it shook out for us,” amateur scouting director Shane Farrell said on a Zoom chat shortly after making the pick. “It's the completeness of the package (that was carrying him into the top 10 before the injury). He's a strong physical kid with really above-average control and command of his fastball and an above-average slider as well. The changeup is a pitch that was good for him in high school, saw a little bit less of it at the collegiate level, but I'm sure that will develop a bit more as a pro. We saw a little pick up in fastball velocity this year.
"Combine that with his upper-level ability to command the ball to both sides of the plate and throw the slider off the fastball, (and it) is what really drove us to make the selection.”
As Sportsnet's Shi Davidi explains, the surgery pushes Hoglund’s timeline back at least a year, although the Blue Jays are confident that because he had the control/command pieces locked down beforehand, the recovery shouldn’t negatively affect his trajectory.
Baseball America gave his control a grade of 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, while each of his three pitches graded out at 55. That took-kit gives him a higher probability of making it to the majors as a starter, an obvious organizational need.
“That was one of the big draws to him,” Farrell said of Hoglund’s positive projection as a starter. “We like his control/command and his feel for his present three-pitch mix and there potentially being room to add to his arsenal, mixing in a curveball or cutter or things like that. We feel like there are some ways to unlock a little bit more out of his pitch usage.”