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Blue Jays scouting director ‘very pleased’ with team’s draft class

North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth throws out a Davidson runner during the first inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament regional game in Chapel Hill, N.C., on June 4, 2017. The Blue Jays selected Warmoth with the 22nd pick in the June draft.

Gerry Broome/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

From selecting Logan Warmoth at No. 22 overall to the Sean Ross pick some 39 rounds later at No. 1,209, the Toronto Blue Jays took another step in restocking their prospect talent pool at this week's Major League Baseball Draft.

"We're very pleased with how the last three days unfolded," Blue Jays amateur scouting director Steve Sanders said Thursday. "Again I'm still sort of taking a deep breath in looking back at the 41 selections over the last few days. But all in all, we're happy with how the draft went and the players we were able to get.

"We look forward to getting them signed and out on the field, watching them play (as they) get their professional careers started."

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The Blue Jays are trying to restore some of their organizational depth after it took a hit in 2015 when then-GM Alex Anthopoulos unloaded several prospects at the trade deadline to make a push for the post-season.

The moves paid off as Toronto ended its 22-year playoff drought that year and returned to the American League Championship Series again last year under the guidance of GM Ross Atkins and team president Mark Shapiro.

Building from within is a key priority for the new front office. The Blue Jays went heavy on college players in this year's draft with only 10 of the 41 picks coming from the high school ranks.

After selecting Warmoth, a shortstop from the University of North Carolina, Toronto used a compensation pick from the Cleveland Indians to grab Central Florida pitcher Nate Pearson at No. 28. The Blue Jays capped Day 1 by taking Huntington Beach high school catcher Hagen Danner at No. 61.

Toronto picked 22 pitchers, five catchers, seven infielders and seven outfielders over the three-day draft.

Notable picks included first baseman Kacy Clemens — son of former pitching great Roger Clemens — in the eighth round at No. 249, and a pair of Canadian selections in Tanner Kirwer of Sherwood Park, Alta., (20th round, No. 609) and Cooper Davis of Mississauga, Ont., (25th round, No. 759).

"We feel we're very well positioned with the Canadian amateur talent base," Sanders said on a conference call. "Tanner and Cooper were two guys that we really liked and hoped to have a chance at. Both guys are outfielders with speed and good bats, instincts, so again, both players we feel very strongly and believe in their talents and ability.

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"We were glad to be able to grab two Canadians on Day 3."

The Blue Jays have had mixed results on the draft front. Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (No. 22 in 2012) is the biggest name to have come up through the system in recent years.

Right-hander Sean Reid-Foley (No. 49 in 2014, double-A New Hampshire), outfielder Anthony Alford (No. 112 in 2012, recent double-A callup on DL) and first baseman Rowdy Tellez (No. 895 in 2013, triple-A Buffalo) are some recent picks who could make an impact at the big-league level down the road.

With dozens of players in the pipeline, it's simply a waiting game — and often a rather long one, at that — to see who might pan out.

"I think it's just an ongoing process," Sanders said. "It's part of what makes the baseball draft so unique is that it can take a while to really see where these players end up. But I think it's something that we continue to look at moving forward.

"It's not something where we sit back and wait three or five years before checking back. We're constantly monitoring (their) progress."

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