Jays select homegrown talent with Day 2 pick
Knecht one of three Canadian players in Jays' Draft class
TORONTO -- Ever since he was 3 years old, Toronto native Marcus Knecht dreamed of playing for the Blue Jays. While barely housebroken, he vividly recalls the excitement of the 1993 World Series, and staying up to 12:30 a.m. ET to watch his favorite team triumph over the Phillies in Game 6. Put quite simply, Knecht, for as long as he can remember, has bled blue and white.
Therefore, when the Blue Jays selected the homegrown outfielder with the 113th pick of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday, he was in shock.
"It's amazing, a dream come true," Knecht said in a conference call hours after his selection. "I can't put it into words, It's everything I could have hoped for.
"The perfect way to start my pro career, with my favorite team -- my hometown team."
The 19-year old Knecht spent his freshman year with Oklahoma State, before transferring to Connors State for the 2010 season. He put up outstanding numbers with Connors, batting .472 with 16 home runs, 57 RBIs and 20 doubles. Knecht, previously drafted by the Brewers in the 23rd round in 2008, said the decision to transfer from Oklahoma State to Connors State -- an Oklahoma Junior College with roughly 2,250 students -- was instrumental to fast tracking his professional career.
"I went to Oklahoma State, and the season went on and I really didn't get as many at-bats as I thought I would," said Knecht, who only played 10 games with Oklahoma State. "I realize I'm only a freshman, but after that year I figured that I was ready to go play pro ball.
"I went to Connors so I could be drafted a year earlier, and it worked out fine."
Knecht was one of three Canadian players drafted in 2010. Outfielder Dalton Pompey of Mississaugua, Ontario was taken in the 16th round, and left-handed pitcher Jay Johnson of Sussex Corner, New Brunswick was snagged in the 26th round.
Knecht gave credit to his former Ontario Blue Jays coach, Danny Bleiwas, with helping him make the tough decision to transfer to a junior college -- a decision that allowed Knecht to be draft-eligible in 2010, rather than having to wait the mandatory three years that he would have had to wait with Oklahoma State.
Knecht, who was expected to be drafted in the first three rounds, admitted he was a little nervous sitting through the first 112 picks, before being selected with the first pick in Compensation Round B -- a pick the Blue Jays received when they were unable to sign right-handed pitcher Jake Barrett in 2009.
"I wasn't suprised," Knecht said about when he was selected. " It was definitely a weird process, watching everyone get picked and wondering when you're going to get picked.
"But I got a call from Andrew Tinnish [Blue Jays scouting director] a couple moments before I got picked, asking me if he could draft me, and I said, 'Heck, yes'.
"I saw my name on the board a couple minutes later."
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.