06/09/11 12:06 AM ET
Family affair for Toronto on final Draft day
By Arden Zwelling / MLB.com
Shane Farrell -- a right-handed pitcher for Marshall University -- made a proud father out of Blue Jays manager John Farrell when he was selected by Toronto in the 46th round, No. 1,399 overall.
"It's an exciting opportunity," the Blue Jays skipper said before his team faced the Royals on Wednesday. "He is extremely excited and looking forward to the opportunity."
Shane Farrell made just 10 appearances (9 starts) for Marshall this season as he battled through injuries, going 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA. He struck out 29 batters over 45 1/3 innings which raised his career total at Marshall to 116 in 153 innings.
Shane's older brother, Jeremy, is an infielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates system, while younger brother, Luke, is in his second year pitching for Northwestern. And, of course, John Farrell, a pitcher, was a second-round Draft pick in 1984 out of Oklahoma State University and spent eight Major League seasons with three different teams.
But all of that doesn't mean the 22-year-old Shane wasn't feeling the pangs of nervousness in his stomach on Wednesday as the Draft wore on.
"The fact that he has an older brother in the game, obviously he has been around the game a lot," John Farrell said. "There are certain emotions and anxieties that are attached to it. But I think now that it's over with he's looking forward to the next steps,"
Jacob Wakamatsu, meanwhile, was selected in the 48th round, No. 1,459 overall. He's the son of Blue Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu and is an outfielder for Keller High School in Texas.
"I'm awfully proud of him and excited about the future," Don Wakamatsu said. "I said, you know what, you have a much brighter future then I had because I didn't get drafted out of high school."
The 19-year-old Wakamatsu is committed to play at Arizona State next season -- the same school his father played for -- and could be heading there instead of signing with the Blue Jays and embarking on a professional career.
"I think we knew he had a chance to go late in the Draft and now that he did, I think those are things we're going to weigh," the elder Wakamatsu said. "But I think college is a strong indication that he is going to follow in his dad's footsteps."
Regardless, Jacob will be departing Texas for Hawaii next week to play in a collegiate league for a couple months. The Wakamatsus want to see if Jacob can make the transition from the outfield to the infield before making any decisions on his future.
"He has been through a lot -- some position changes and he didn't play early in his career in high school, so he has worked extremely hard," Don said. "We got to spend some time last season and really work and I think it paid off because he ended up having a good high school year"
Often, clubs will use their late-round picks as favors to individuals in the organization with draft-eligible family members. Blue Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish said the Blue Jays were more than happy with the talent they acquired in both players.
Blue Jays area scout Nick Manno, based out of Brunswick, Ohio, watched Farrell pitch at Marshall and had a high opinion of the right-hander. Wakamatsu, meanwhile, is a player the Blue Jays have been following since last summer.
"We felt like at that point in the Draft they were definitely worthy of selection," Tinnish said.
The Blue Jays also bet on blood lines earlier in the Draft as well, when they selected both Aaron and Austin Nola, brothers from Louisiana.
Aaron is the younger of the two, an 18-year-old right-handed pitcher from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. He recently committed to Louisiana State University, where his brother Austin has been the starting shortstop for the past three seasons.
Now, it appears both players could be on their way to the Minor Leagues with the Blue Jays.
"We like both of them for different reasons. They're completely different," Tinnish said. "The fact that we selected both of them is coincidence more than anything else because they are both talented players.
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Aaron went first -- in the 22nd round - after being named to the Louisiana All-State Team last year when he posted a 7-1 record with a 1.00 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 38 innings.
"Aaron, we've seen since last summer. He's kind of a control style pitcher with an advanced changeup for a high school kid. He really knows how to pitch," Tinnish said.
Austin, meanwhile, had to wait until the 31st round to hear his name called by the Blue Jays. The 21-year-old is well known for his defensive abilities at shortstop, but is also a patient hitter who batted .320 (83-for-259) with 16 doubles, two triples, five homers, 52 RBIs and 50 runs scored in 2010.
Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.