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Draft : : State Preview
Draft Preview: Canada
Published: Saturday, June 02, 2012

In the weeks leading up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as well as providing scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.


Canada Follow List
2011 Canada Overview

Canada Overview:
Canada’s Talent Pendulum Swings Towards Ontario

Canada continues to make steady inroads on the draft, international competition and Major League Baseball, and invariably the nation’s best talent has come from two distinct sources: British Columbia, particularly the area in and around Vancouver; and Ontario, notably suburban Toronto and the regions to the west and south.

B.C. can claim the likes of retired major-league star Larry Walker, former MVP Justin Morneau and rising talent Brett Lawrie, while Ontario boasts Ferguson Jenkins, the only Canadian in the Hall of Fame, and another former MVP, Joey Votto, among the players it has produced through the years.

Insofar as the draft, B.C. has historically made the greater impact of the two provinces as lefthanders Adam Loewen and Jeff Francis, picked fourth and ninth overall in 2002, remain the two highest-drafted Canadians, while the first Canadian tapped in each of the last four drafts has also come from B.C., including the first three in 2011.

The talent in this year’s draft is not terribly strong, at least by Canada’s recent standards, and yet it’s noteworthy that almost all of the top draftable players are from Ontario, and not B.C., which has had a decided off year. In fact, the best high-school-aged talent in western Canada can be found this spring in Alberta, especially at influential new baseball academies that have sprung up south of Calgary, in Okotoks and Vauxhall.

In keeping with the odd dynamics at play in this draft, the two top-rated Canadians, lefthander Ryan Kellogg and outfielder Julian Service, both hail from the Ontario community of Whitby, located just to the east of Toronto. Kellogg has held steady as the top Canadian pretty much since last summer, especially after holding his own this spring against pro-level competition while a member of Team Canada’s junior-national team.

Kellogg is expected to be drafted in the third or fourth rounds, or roughly in the same spot as righthander Tom Robson, Canada’s highest draft a year ago. A B.C. product, Robson was claimed in the fourth round by the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s more of a toss-up who will be drafted after Kellogg, but Service and another outfielder from Ontario, Derek Jones, have made a strong push this spring. Two pitchers that had initially projected to be possible early-round selections, righthander Michael Couthier and lefthander Steven Dressler, also from Ontario, did not live up to expectations and their draft value has taken a significant hit.

Among Canadians attending college in the United States, the three players given the greatest chance of cracking the top 10 rounds are Maine righthander Jeff Gibbs and Stony Brook second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum, both Ontario products, and Chandler-Gilbert (Ariz.) JC outfielder Tyler Hollick, an Alberta product.

Canada typically has had 25-30 players drafted each year, but the roll back from 50 rounds to 40, effective with this year’s draft, may significantly impact Canada’s contribution as teams were inclined in the past to take late-round fliers on Canadians.

Canada in a nutshell:

STRENGTH:
Ontario high-school-aged talent.
WEAKNESS: Draftable B.C. talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
British Columbia.
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: Douglas (B.C.).
BEST SUMMER-LEAGUE TEAM: Ontario Blue Jays.

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Brock Dykxhoorn, rhp, St. Anne’s Catholic HS, Clinton, Ontario.
An ex-hockey player from a small Ontario town, Dykxhoorn was slow to emerge as a top prospect for this year’s draft, but has made an instant impression with his huge 6-foot-8, 225-pound frame alone. Though he doesn't currently throw particularly hard, and his secondary stuff and command are still at a very raw stage, he made obvious gains in his development this spring and actually pitched surprisingly well for Canada’s junior-national team against pro and international competition, and for the B.C.-based Langley Blaze on a trip to Arizona, where he pitched in front of some 150 scouts in an outing against a team of top prospects from the Dominican Republic.

WILD CARDS: Julian Service, of, Sinclair SS, Whitby, Ontario; Derek Jones, of, St. Marguerite D’Youville SS, Brampton, Ontario.
Most high-school-aged players in Canada get extensive exposure as members of Canada’s junior-national team, which gathers several times a year and travels extensively in search of meaningful competition, but Service and Jones were too old to play for the team and generally have been left to showcase their skills for scouts in tryouts and showcase events. Nonetheless, both players are athletic center fielders and have enhanced their value for the draft this spring with impressive workouts.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Canada Connection:
Jeff Gibbs, rhp, University of Maine (Attended high school in Toronto).
Top 2013 Prospect: Owen Spiwak, c, Cawhra Park HS, Mississauga, Ontario.
Top 2014 Prospect: Gareth Morgan, of, North Toronto Collegiate HS.

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History:
Adam Loewen, lhp, Fraser Valley Christian HS, Surrey, B.C. (2002, Orioles/1st round, 4th pick).
2006 Draft: Kyle Orr, 1b, Lambrick Park HS, Victoria, B.C. (Dodgers/4th round).
2007 Draft: Phillippe Aumont, rhp, Ecole Du Versant HS, Gatineau, Quebec (Mariners/1st round, 11th pick).
2008 Draft: Brett Lawrie, ss, Brookswood HS, Langley, B.C. (Brewers/1st round, 16th pick).
2009 Draft: James Paxton, lhp, University of Kentucky (Blue Jays/1st round, 37th pick).
2010 Draft: Kellin Deglin, c, Mountain HS, Langley, B.C. (Rangers/1st round, 20th pick).
2011 Draft: Tom Robson, rhp, Delta SS, Ladner, B.C. (Blue Jays/4th round).

2011 DRAFT OVERVIEW

College Players Drafted/Signed:
4/2.
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 2/2.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 17/8.

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Damion Smith, of, Holy Names Catholic HS, Windsor, Ontario.
Best Hitter: Nathan DeSouza, of, E.C. Drury HS, Milton, Ontario.
Best Power: Nathan DeSouza, of, E.C. Drury HS, Milton, Ontario.
Best Speed: Derek Jones, of, St. Marguerite D’Youville HS, Brampton, Ontario.
Best Defender: Derek Jones, of, St. Marguerite D’Youville HS, Brampton, Ontario.
Best Velocity: Logan Seifrit, rhp, Vauxhall (Alberta) Academy.
Best Breaking Stuff: Ryan Kellogg, lhp, Henry Street HS, Whitby, Ontario.
Best Pitchability: Ryan Kellogg, lhp, Henry Street HS, Whitby, Ontario.

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO

GROUP ONE
(Projected ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)

None

GROUP TWO
(Projected HIGH-Round Draft / Rounds 4-10)

1. RYAN KELLOGG, lhp, Henry Street HS, Whitby, Ontario
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Kellogg has been established as Canada’s top prospect for the 2012 draft for the better part of a year, and has only enhanced that standing this spring with a number of strong outings for the junior-national team against pro talent in Florida in spring training and extended spring training, as well as on Team Canada’s annual trek to the Dominican Republic just before the draft. In one noteworthy outing in March, Kellogg blanked the Toronto Blue Jays for two innings, retiring the likes of Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia and Adam Lind without giving up a hit. Kellogg gets excellent downward plane on his pitches, and his fastball has typically been 87-89 mph, topping at 90-91. He should throw harder as his body matures. Kellogg’s changeup is a solid secondary pitch, while his curveball has shown steady improvement and is much firmer this spring. His greatest advances, though, have come in better command of all his pitches. He has an excellent feel for pitching, and few scouts question his competitive approach with the way he has stepped up this spring against pro-level competition. With limited high-school baseball in Canada, Kellogg has gained most of his experience playing for Canada’s junior-national team and also for the local Ontario Prospects, coached by former big-league brothers Rob and Rich Butler, since age 12. He has a college commitment to Arizona State.


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