On June 24th, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected American forward Auston Matthews first overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, as the team’s first first-overall selection since 1985. The Blue Jays have never had a first-overall pick in their franchise history, but have come within one selection of the coveted (or dreaded?) pick numerous times. Let’s look back at the three second-overall picks in Toronto’s history of the MLB Draft.
1978 – 1B – Lloyd Moseby
Lloyd Moseby, future Blue Jay great, was a first-baseman drafted out of high school by the Blue Jays in 1978, a year after their inaugural season. The newly-drafted prospect rushed through Toronto’s minor league system, hitting at least .300 at every level. He was called up in 1980, just two years after making his professional debut, to join the major league club. Moseby was moved from first base to centre field where he would spend the rest of his career, collecting a .262 batting average with over 150 homers and nearly 300 steals during an illustrious 12-year span. Moseby is considered by many to be one of the best Blue Jays of all time, and frequently contributes to the organization today, through his involvement with Honda Blue Jays Super Camps and the Jays Care charity.
1980 – SS – Gary Harris
Gary Harris, the highly hyped middle-infielder, went second overall to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1980. Like so many other first round draft picks, Harris didn’t live up to expectations. The shortstop’s highest achievement, despite sky-high hopes, was winning player-of-the-week for Toronto’s AA-affiliate, the Knoxville Blue Jays. The infielder played four years with the organization, until he retired from baseball at age 22 with a career .244 minor league batting average.
1982 – SS – Augie Schmidt
In 1982, the Toronto Blue Jays selected highly coveted middle infielder Augie Schmidt with their third second-overall pick in five years. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays struck out (literally) on their high draft pick once again, as the shortstop hit an unexpected low .257 in five years in the minors. After his poor performance with Toronto, Schmidt was traded to the San Francisco Giants, where he struggled with numerous injuries before retiring.
Given the unpredictable guessing game that each team must partake in at the annual MLB Draft, the Blue Jays haven’t had much success with their second-overall picks. Lacking consistency in the past, Toronto hopefully struck gold with recently drafted pitcher T.J. Zeuch, but only time will tell what effect he will have on the future Blue Jays.