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Blue Jays use first pick to select pitcher Barriera in amateur draft

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LOS ANGELES — The Toronto Blue Jays selected 18-year-old Brandon Barriera of Hollywood, Fla., on Sunday with their first pick, and 23rd overall, in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.

The six-foot-two, 180-pound Barriera is a left-handed pitcher who plays varsity ball at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. Barriera regularly touches 96 miles per hour on the radar gun and has been up to 98-99. He features an electric four-pitch mix — fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. He is committed to attending Vanderbilt.

"He's the best pitcher we've ever had come through here," American Heritage head coach Mike Macey said of Barriera. "I'm not even going out on a limb to say that. I think that's pretty obvious.

"He's the only pitcher that we've ever had you'd consider to be a first-round guy. He's got the most hype around him."

With their second pick, and 60th overall, the Blue Jays took 21-year-old Josh Kasevich of Palo Alto, Calif, a six-foot-two shortstop with the University of Oregon Ducks who is also one of the best hitters and defenders with the Waterloo Bucks in the Northwoods League.

Scouts say Kasevich's arm is above-average and accurate but that he needs to work on his speed as a runner.

With their third pick, and 77th overall, the Blue Jays took Tucker Toman, then grabbed Cade Doughty with their next pick, 78th overall.

The six-foot-one Toman, who won't turn 19 until November, is the son of longtime college coach Jim Toman. He's an infielder at Hammond School in Columbia, S.C., has developed into one of the more polished hitters in the 2022 high school class.

Scouts say Toman has the bat to profile all over the diamond, but it's unclear where he'll wind up with below-average speed and average arm strength. The best-case scenario would be third base.

The 21-year-old Doughty was Louisiana high school player of the year in 2019. He's the third member of his family to play for the Tigers, following his father Richard and brother Braden. He became an immediate starter in college, playing second base as a freshman and third base last spring.

Doughty has exhibited nice feel for the barrel and a quick, compact right-handed swing since he was a regular member of U.S. national teams in high school.

Jackson Holliday and Druw Jones, sons of MLB All-Stars Matt and Andruw, were taken by Baltimore and Arizona with the first two picks in the amateur draft.

Holliday, whose father is a former batting champion, was chosen by Baltimore over Jones in somewhat of a surprise.

“A tough decision,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “I would liken it to deciding what to order at a five-star restaurant.”

The draft will continue Monday with Rounds 3-10 and conclude Tuesday with Rounds 11-20.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 17, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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