Blue Jays sending Ducey to Draft
Former outfielder, current pro scout honored to represent team
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will roll out a familiar face at the 2007 First-Year Player Draft next week in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., when former Toronto outfielder and current pro scout, Rob Ducey, represents the Jays at the podium and makes the dreams of some aspiring ballplayers come true.
The Jays signed Ducey as an undrafted free agent in 1984. He spent the next three seasons moving his way up through Toronto's Minor League system before making his Major League debut in 1987. He is one of 13 Canadian-born players to have played for the Jays.
Ducey spent parts of seven seasons with Toronto and has a World Series ring for his role on the 1992 championship team. His 13 seasons in the Major Leagues is the most of anyone from Ontario since Jeff Heath of Fort William retired in 1949 after 14 years in the big leagues.
Ducey says it's going to be exciting to be around for the first stage of these young ballplayers' professional careers.
"It's the first stop on their lifelong journey," Ducey said. "They have a long hard road ahead, but this is an opportunity for them to start fulfilling their dreams."
Ducey has also been a major player for Canada at the international level. He was a member of the Canadian baseball team that finished in fourth place at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Last season, he was a member of Canada's coaching staff at the inaugural World Baseball Classic. One of the biggest highlights of his career came in 1986, when he won the Tip O'Neil Award as Canada's top baseball player.
Ducey says he was caught off guard when the Jays asked him to be one of their representatives, but it was an opportunity he didn't have to think about very hard before accepting.
"When they asked me -- I was taken aback," Ducey said. "It's a great honor, especially since this is the first time the Draft will be broadcast on national television. I'm looking forward to representing the Blue Jays organization on such an important day for these young players."
This draft will be one of the most important in recent memory for the Jays since they own seven picks in the first two rounds, including three sandwich selections between the first and second round. Five of those seven picks have been given to the Jays as compensation for losing outfielder Frank Catalanotto, right-hander Justin Speier and left-hander Ted Lilly to free agency during the offseason.
Their first selection will be the 16th pick of the first round, which comes via the Rangers as compensation for Catalanotto. Since the Jays finished with the 10th best record in the Major Leagues during the 2006 season, they own the 21st overall pick in each round. In total, the Jays have 10 picks in the first five rounds, which take up the first day of the Draft.
The Jays selected outfielder Travis Snider with the 14th overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. In his first full professional year of baseball, the 19-year-old slugger is hitting .357 (51-for-143) with three home runs and 33 RBIs, in 37 games, for the Class A Lansing Lugnuts.
Snider became the highest-selected high school player taken during general manager J.P. Ricciardi's tenure with the Blue Jays. The earliest prep selection prior to Snider was right-hander pitcher Brian Grant, who was drafted 206th overall in the 2002 Draft.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Ricciardi has traditionally steered away from drafting high school players in the early rounds, opting instead to draft college players who are potentially more Major League ready. The Jays have the core of their team locked up for the next several years, though, and it's possible that Toronto will once again look at selecting high school players in the early rounds.
MLB.com will broadcast every pick of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 7-8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. Day 1 coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. Video coverage of the remaining rounds on Day 1 will air at MLB.com, with live interviews and analysis from Orlando by Casey Stern, Jonathan Mayo and Perfect Game USA's Dave Rawnsley. Day 2 of the Draft will get under way at 11:30 a.m. and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com with analysis from Mayo and Perfect Game USA's Allan Simpson.
Also once again this year, fans can follow every pick with MLB.com's live Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft eligible player featuring biographical data, statistics, scouting reports and rare scouting video.
Gregor Chisholm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.