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Jays take trio of pitchers in draft Add to ...

The Toronto Blue Jays said they got the player they were looking for in pitcher Chad Jenkins, their first-round pick in last night's Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.

With their next two selections, the Blue Jays got players Canadian fans will be looking to follow: James Paxton, a left-handed pitcher from Ladner, B.C., and Jake Eliopoulos, a high-school left-hander from Newmarket, Ont.

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"[Jenkins]is in a lot of ways everything we look for in a young pitcher," Jays scouting director Jon Lalonde said. "He's big, he's physical, he's got a big, durable body. We love the fact that he throws a ton of strikes. His velocity is consistently 90-94 [mph] [He]works comfortably in that range, really locates the ball to both sides of the plate."

The Blue Jays selected Jenkins, a right-hander out of Kennesaw State University in the Atlantic Sun Conference, with the 20th-pick overall in the first round.

The Blue Jays have five of the first 104 picks in the draft, two of them compensatory selections thanks to A.J. Burnett's departure as a free agent to the New York Yankees during the off-season.

The Jays used their first compensatory pick to select Paxton with the 37th pick overall, then nabbed Eliopoulos in the second round at No. 68.

The 6-foot-3 Paxton played at the University of Kentucky this past season, where he went 5-3 with a 5.86 ERA, while striking out 115 batters and walking just 20 over 781/3 innings.

Eliopoulos, 6 foot 3 and 18 years old, has a fastball clocked in the high-80s and a promising curveball.

The Washington Nationals did what was expected last night, selecting pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first-overall pick in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.

Now, the question remains: Will the Nationals be willing to come up with the record $50-million (U.S.) deal the 20-year-old and his agent, Scott Boras, are said to be seeking from the team that wants to sign him.

Strasburg has been touted as the top pitching prospect in decades - a 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior from San Diego State University whose fastball has been clocked at a top speed of 103 miles an hour.

Many believe Strasburg has the tools to jump into the majors next season, but he was not about to say that is his goal.

"It's tough to say right now," Strasburg told MLB.com last night. "I'm just really enjoying this time right now with my friends and family.

Then, we'll just have to go from here and see what happens."

 

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