Off on the Right Foot

With a sixth consecutive victory to open up the 2012 season coming on Wednesday, the 2012 Lugnuts set the franchise record for the best start in their 17-year history.


Has it been the great defense? Is it the offense that posted 21 runs in the sweep of Dayton? What about the pitching staff sporting a Midwest League-best 1.76 ERA?

The defense, offense and pitching have all been great but I think the better question to ask is, how did this much talent end up in Lansing at the same time?  The simple answer… the 2010 draft.

The long answer begins with a look back at where the Blue Jays organization was at two years ago.

It was GM Alex Anthopoulos’ first year. J.P Ricciardi failed to sign three picks in the first three rounds of the 2009 draft. Also, SS Marco Scutaro, who had just completed a career year and veteran catcher Rod Barajas left via free agency.

Because of the Scutaro and Barajas departures, along with the inability to sign their top draft picks, the Blue Jays had nine selections in the first three rounds of 2010. All of a sudden, that 2010 draft was a huge moment in the Blue Jays recent history. Toronto’s new GM had a chance to stockpile talent and make an immediate stamp on the organization.

What kind of impact did that draft have on the 2012 Lugnuts? Take a look for yourself. Here is a list of those 9 picks and where they came from. See how many names you recognize.

1st RD – #20 overall - Deck McGuire - RHP

Supplemental 1st RD – #34 overall - Aaron Sanchez – RHP (compensation for type A free agent Marco Scutaro signing with Boston)

Supplemental 1st RD - #38 overall – Noah Syndergaard – RHP (compensation pick received because they failed to signed the 2009 #37 overall pick James Paxton)

Supplemental 1st RD - #41 overall - Asher Wojciechowski – RHP (compensation for type B free agent signing with the Mets)

2nd RD - #61 overall – Griffin Murphy – LHP

2nd RD - #69 overall – Kellen Sweeney  - 3B (compensation pick received because they failed to signed the 2009 68th overall pick Jake Eliopoulos)

2nd RD - #80 overall – Justin Nicolino – LHP (received from Boston because they signed Scutaro)

3rd RD pick - #93 overall – Chris Hawkins – OF

3rd RD pick - #113 overall - Marcus Knecht – OF (compensation pick received because they failed to sign 2009 99th overall pick Jake Barrett)

All five of those players in bold are currently with the Lugnuts and they are all making significant impacts.
Here is a look at their combined numbers…

Hawkins and Sweeney have both played spectacular defense and they have not committed an error yet. 

Their combined numbers in the first six games…
.333 average (13-39) 4 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB 6 K

Sanchez, Syndergaard and Nicolino’s combined stats…
2-0 record, 12 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 17 K, .122 opponent batting average

In addition, an interesting streak came to an end on Wednesday night against the Dayton Dragons when Syndergaard’s throwing error allowed an unearned run to score in the fifth inning.

That was the first run that any pitcher signed by Toronto in 2010 had allowed this season for the Lugnuts. In addition to Sanchez, Syndergaard and Nicolino, Anthopoulos inked Brandon Berl (40th round, 1,206 overall) and Jesse Hernandez (signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2010). Those five guys, who were all a part of Anthopoulos’ first draft class as Toronto GM, have put up great numbers in the first week of the season…

2-0 record, 21 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 6 BB 27 K.

The Lugnuts looked head and shoulders above the Dayton Dragons in their most recent three-game series sweep. Who knows how long Lansing will stay on this run. By looking a little closer at Anthopoulos short tenure as GM of the Blue Jays we can get a better idea of how so much talent reached Lansing at the same time.

We are only six games deep into the 2012 season but, for Lugnuts and Blue Jays fans alike, it has been fun so far.


Anonymous said…
That would be (William) Deck McGuire, not Derek McGuire who was the first 2010 draftee

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