The chosen ones

In their 30th go-round at the first-year player draft in 2006, the Blue Jays selected outfielder Travis Snider with their top pick, and immediately sent the 18-year-old to the Appalachian League with his cool $1.7 million signing bonus. So far it has been smooth sailing for Snider, who hit .325 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs at Rookie ball last year. This season at Class-A Lansing, he is batting .328 through 15 games, including a 1-for-4 showing during the Lugnuts’ 1-0 loss on Tuesday night.

Though it’s widely expected that Snider will cruise through the farm system, and ultimately enjoy a solid big-league career as a Blue Jay, nothing is guaranteed. A lot can happen between draft day and a player’s arrival in the majors, as the Blue Jays have learned throughout the years.

In fact, from 1977-1987 only four of the Jays’ top picks even made it to theMosebylloyd_1 major leagues. Of those four, only one played more than 10 career games as a Blue Jay. Granted, that one — Lloyd Moseby — enjoyed a solid 10-year career with Toronto, retiring as the franchise leader in stolen bases (255) and games played by an outfielder (1349).

The Jays’ drafting began to improve in ’88, the year in which third baseman Ed Sprague was chosen 25th overall. Shawn Green (’91), Shannon Stewart (’92) and Chris Carpenter (’93) followed, while current ace Roy Halladay was chosen #17 overall in 1995, and Vernon Wells was taken fifth in 1997. Along with Wells and Halladay, outfielder Alex Rios and second baseman Aaron Hill make up the quartet of top picks since ’95 that are on the current Blue Jays roster. Meanwhile, Russ Adams, David Purcey, Ricky Romero and Snider are all in the minors.

Only time will tell if Snider ultimately takes the path of Vernon Wells or that of Augie Schmidt … though if I were a betting man, I’d take the former.

It’s possible that John Gibbons quoted the famous Lou Brown (Major League) in the visitor’s clubhouse prior to tonight’s game at Fenway Park … “We won yesterday. If we win today that’s 2 in a row. We win tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before!” … Well, make it two in a row. The Jays pull off the two-game sweep of the BoSox, earning a 10-3 win Tuesday night … Vernon Wells leads the troops, matching career highs with four hits and four runs scored … The ‘Big Hurt’ goes 2-for-4, and quite possibly rids himself of his early-season slump … Halladay? Cy Young form, as usual, striking out 10 while improving to 3-0 on the year … The Jays look to officially make it a ‘winning streak’ tomorrow at Yankee Stadium …

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