Justin Shafer spent his first three seasons at the University of Florida as both a pitcher and an infielder, but if he signs with Toronto, it will mean a full-time transition to the mound.
Shafer, the Blue Jays' eighth-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, is coming off somewhat of a disappointing season with the Gators, which saw him post a 4.17 ERA over 36 2/3 innings. He struck out 27 and walked seven in 18 appearances, which included two starts.
The 21-year-old throws in the low 90s and possesses a potentially plus slider that could lead to some future success on the mound. The hope is that a full-time transition to pitching will help him succeed at the next level.
That's not a luxury he had at Florida, where the school also needed him to play the infield. There were some glimpses of potential as a position player after Shafer hit .300 with a .345 on-base percentage and 23 extra-base hits as a sophomore. The production dropped as a junior, though, as he hit .211 with two extra-base hits in 95 at-bats.
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.
The numbers would suggest the Gators also felt the same way about Shafer's future as a pitcher. His games played in the field dropped in 2014 and he threw an additional nine innings. The lack of work on the mound means he's still relatively raw and will need some time to finesse his repertoire.
The recommended slot value for the No. 234 pick is $159,900.