The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with first-round pick Gunnar Hoglund, reports Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo (via Twitter). The former Ole Miss righty will receive a $3,247,500 bonus that clocks in about $111K south of his slot value at No. 19 overall.
That slightly under-slot price point is likely due in large part to the fact that Hoglund underwent Tommy John surgery about two months before the draft. Prior to that elbow injury, Hoglund was regarded as one of the top college arms on the board and considered a potential top 10 pick. While he’ll miss the remainder of the 2021 season and won’t be able to begin pitching for a Jays affiliate until sometime next summer, at the earliest, Hoglund nevertheless adds a high-profile arm to an already strong Jays system.
Hoglund, 21, pitched 62 2/3 innings with the Rebels in 2021 before sustaining the elbow injury that necessitated his surgery. In that time, he pitched to a 2.87 ERA while striking out 38.9 percent of his opponents against a 6.8 percent walk rate. Dating back to the shortened 2020 season, in which he tossed 23 1/3 frames, Hoglund carries a 2.41 ERA with a sensational 133-to-21 K/BB ratio in 86 total innings.
Even with that injury, Hoglund landed 14th on FanGraphs’ final draft rankings, 19th at Baseball America, 20th at ESPN, 22nd at MLB.com and 30th at The Athletic. Scouting reports on Hoglund credited him with the best command in the draft and a plus slider. The Athletic’s Keith Law noted that Hoglund’s ceiling might not be as high as that of the draft’s top college arms (Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker), but the consensus was there’s a “high probability that he’d at least develop into a fourth starter.” ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel adds that Hoglund was “locked in” as a top 10 pick prior to his elbow injury.
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