V.III- Early Results of 2004 Draft a Success

Draft experts say it can take up to five years to fully analyze how a draft for a baseball team shaped out. When you take a look at the 2004 draft of the Toronto Blue Jays 15 months after the selections were made you begin to think what this crop will produce in the future. We have already looked at the first ten rounds, and now take a look at rounds eleven through fifteen.

Draft experts say it can take up to five years to fully analyze how a draft for a baseball team shaped out. The Major League Baseball draft consists of fifty rounds and if one player from those fifty makes the major leagues it would be considered an "ok" draft for the organization. When you take a look at the 2004 draft of the Toronto Blue Jays 15 months after the selections were made you begin to think what this crop will produce in the future. Four players from the first eight rounds have already reached the Double-A level, and when you take a look at just the first eight rounds you see some of the most impact players the farm produced this season. We have already looked at the first ten rounds, and now take a look at rounds eleven through fifteen.

Rounds Eleven through Fifteen

In the 11th round of the 2004 draft the Jays selected Kristian Bell. The 21-year-old spent 2005 pitching for the Auburn Doubledays and went 5-4 with a 3.14 ERA. Bell struck out seventy-one hitters in seventy-seven innings of work and over his last seven starts of the season he went 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA. Bell repeated the NY-Penn League for the second consecutive season, but that did not come as a shock to him.

"I knew I had stuff I needed to work on and I needed to progress as a pitcher instead of a thrower" said Bell. "Last year I was a reliever and I went out and threw as hard as I could, however this year, I had to try to refine myself as a pitcher."

In the 12th round the Jays selected another power bat in Eric Nielsen. The 23-year-old hit .267 with seven home runs and fifty-nine runs this season for Lansing but played much better that final two months of the season. Nielsen hit .305 over July and August, and that includes a five hit game on August 22. During the month of August Nielsen, who goes by the nickname E-Money, hit .341 in twenty-five games.

"My high school coach gave me the nickname" Nielsen said. "I usually came up at the plate in clutch situations and came through, and being from Vegas and the gambling, it correlated to me being called E-money."

In the 13th round the Blue Jays selected Kyle Yates, the 2005 Dunedin Pitcher of the Year as voted by InsideTheDome earlier this month. After a midseason promotion from the Lansing Lugnuts, Yates went 7-3 with a 1.91 ERA in 14 starts with the Dunedin Blue Jays. In 156 total innings the hard throwing right-hander struck out 148 batters in 2005, and was among the organizational leaders in strikeouts.

"I told the organization from the beginning that being a starter was something I wanted to try" Yates told InsideTheDome yesterday. "I feel more comfortable as a starter. I throw in the low 90s and I feel I can set up my pitches well and throw strikes with all three of my pitches."

"I started out slow with Lansing, and that was mostly because I was getting myself acclimated to the starters role. I was not a starter for several years and towards the second half of the my season with Lansing, I started to get a feel for it and settle in."

"My main goal was to get stronger as the year went on, and I feel like I did. I was a better pitcher toward the end of the season."

Jordan Timm was the Jays 14th round selection and this past season he went 2-0 with five saves and a 2.47 ERA with the Lansing Lugnuts. Opponents hit .225 off the right-hander, who struck out forty-four batters in forty-seven innings of work.

"I always consider my strength to be a control pitcher. In my career, I haven't walked a lot of guys" said Timm. I don't throw real hard, so I can't afford not too. I throw a fastball that runs a lot, a slider and a change up. My change up has gotten better this year. "

Michael MacDonald was the 15th round selection in 2004 and pitching for the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2005 he went 9-6 with a 4.24 ERA. Some might question as to why those numbers warrant him being mentioned here, however, the right-hander

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