St. Johns CD graduate Jordan Taylor takes relaxed approach to MLB Draft

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Jordan Taylor is in a position where he cannot lose.

The St. Johns Country Day graduate and Florida State signee will be able to play for his favorite college or try to achieve his professional baseball dream faster than usual if the draft experts are right.

Taylor is the area’s top-rated high school prospect entering the Major League Baseball draft that begins Sunday night, followed by Fletcher ace Malachi Witherspoon. A consensus top-110 prospect, Taylor, a powerful and quick outfielder, could possibly sneak into the first night of tryouts (the top 74 picks are on Sunday).

The second and third days of the draft are Monday and Tuesday and end with the 20th round.

If the projections line up, and in baseball they rarely do, Taylor could be the highest drafted player straight out of an area high school since Providence’s Tyler Callihan went 85th to the Reds in 2019. And he could become the most drafted black man. player straight out of the high school ranks in the News4JAX coverage area since Sandalwood’s Desi Relaford went No. 110 to the Mariners in 1991.

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Whether he goes where he’s projected (between the second and third rounds) or stays at Florida State, Taylor knows he’s in a good place. He can either start his professional career or hone his skills in Tallahassee under new coach Link Jarrett.

“It’s definitely a win-win. In that moment, I’ve done everything I can with tournaments and showcases and practices and stuff like that,” Taylor said. “So it’s out of my control right now to do whatever i can to get more money [from a draft position]. So at this point I just have to set my number where I want it. If I don’t understand that, I can look forward to Florida State and be drafted in two years.

MLB draft prospects in notable areas

Position Player Local tie Draft ranking
P Hunter Barco Florida/Bolles 61 (ESPN), 75 (MLB and Athletic)
IF Colby Halter Florida/Bishop Kenny 207 (ESPN), 249 (MLB)
P Brad Hodges St. Johns Campaign Day 221 (MLB)
OF Jordan Taylor St. Johns Campaign Day 83 (MLB and Athletic), 109 (ESPN)
P Malachi Witherspoon Fletcher 148 (MLB), 231 (ESPN)

Taylor is ranked No. 83 overall by MLB.com and The Athletic, and No. 109 by ESPN. The baseball draft is the most unpredictable of all major sports due to the inclusion of high schoolers in the process and the maneuverability of teams to stretch their signing bonus pool to the max.

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Taylor, a two-time All-News4JAX first-team selection, had a stellar season for the Spartans. He hit .457 with eight doubles, seven homers and 16 stolen bases. Interest from scouts added another layer to Taylor’s final season which saw St. Johns play a tough schedule, finish second in the National High School Invitational and reach the third round of the Class 2A state playoffs.

With graduation followed by a quick turnaround to start training and summer school at Florida State, Taylor finally catches her breath.

“It hasn’t touched me yet. I know it’s a little close but I don’t know, it hasn’t settled in yet, like what could happen,” he said. “The whole year has been crazy, between my BP sessions having to be timed for the scouts to come and watch.

“I didn’t really get much [of phone calls from teams/scouts] during the school season, Coach Tom [Lucas] I had a lot and my advisor had a lot. So right now it’s a bit hectic. I don’t really know much. I’ll know more on draft day about which teams are really interested, like money and all that. So right now, I’m just kind of like, laying down and just going to see what’s going on right now.

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Local High School MLB Draft History

A look at some of the area’s notable players who were selected straight out of high school as one of the top 125 picks in the pro baseball draft.

Pos., Player, School, Pick #, Team, Year

IF, Javier BaezArlington CD, 9, Cubs, 2011

IF, Billy ButlerWolfson, 14, Royals, 2004

IF, Tyler CallihanProvidence, 85, Reds, 2019

VS, Christopher CrossEnglewood, 43, Red, Sox, 1967

P, Joel DavisSantal, 13, White, Sox, 1983

P, Paul FaganBartram Trail, 116, Sailors, 2003

VS, Jon FarrellSantal, 93, Cardinals, 1989

VS, Will HartleyBradford, 74, Indians, 1999

P, Eric HurleyWolfson, 30, Rangers, 2004

IF, chipper jonesBolles, 1, Braves, 1990

P, Kris KellerFletcher, 101, Tigers, 1996

P, Jason KellySuwannee, 106, Cubs, 1994

P, Mike KnowlesPalatka, 109, Yankees, 1997

IF, TR LewisSandalwood, 88, Orioles, 1989

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IF, Jeremy MatthewsSantal, 102, Reds, 1987

P, Brett MyersEnglewood, 12, Phillies, 1999

OF, Bill PerryPalatka, 69, Indians, 1965

P, Sean Reid FoleySandalwood, 49, Blue, Jays, 2014

IF, Desi RelafordSantal, 110, Mariners, 1991

VS, Alan Rick, Palatka, 123, Cub Scouts, 2002

P, chris robertMiddleburg, 34, Phillies, 1989

IF, Avery RomeroMenendez, 104, Marlins, 2012

P, Adam WainwrightGlynn Academy, 29, Braves, 2000

3B, Randy WallaceEnglewood, 31, Reds, 1972*

SS, Michel TisserandPaxon, 6, Indians, 1968

SS, Kevin WittBishop Kenny, 28, Blue, Jays, 1994,

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Jack L. Goldstein