Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: Canada

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game
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.  Please visit this page for all of the links to Perfect Game's 2013 Draft Preview content.

Canada State-by-State List

Canada may never produce another draft class to rival 2002, when lefthanders Adam Loewen (Orioles) and Jeff Francis (Rockies) were selected with the fourth and ninth picks overall, and future National League MVP Joey Votto (Reds) was chosen in the second round.

But this year’s crop is noteworthy by Canada’s modest standard as both catcher Tyler O’Neill and righthander Cal Quantrill are solid candidates to go as early as the second round, with rising middle infield prospect Malik Collymore in the mix to be taken a round or two later. Moreover, University of Missouri lefthander Rob Zastryzny, another candidate for the second round, was born in Edmonton, and New Mexico JC righthander Nic Pivetta, a projected third- to fifth-rounder, is a product of a Victoria, B.C., high school.

Two legitimate Top 100 talents
WEAKNESS: Depth of pro-ready prospects
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 4

British Columbia
BEST SUMMER-LEAGUE TEAMS: Langley (B.C.) Blaze; Ontario Blue Jays

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Tyler O’Neill, c/ss, Garibaldi HS, Maple Ridge, B.C.
The latest in a growing line of top prospects to play for the Langley Blaze, a high-powered travel team based in suburban Vancouver, O’Neill has increasingly drawn comparisons to two former Blaze first-rounders: infielder Brett Lawrie (Brewers, 2008) and catcher Kellin Deglan (Rangers, 2010). As a hitter, O’Neill is viewed as farther ahead of Lawrie at a comparable stage, but his lack of a defined position may keep him out of the first round.

WILD CARD: Cal Quantrill, rhp, Trinity College Prep HS, Port Hope, Ontario.
All logic says the Toronto Blue Jays will draft Quantrill—especially after the Jays hired his father Paul, a Canadian who pitched for the Jays from 1996-2001, as a consultant in February. There is increasingly speculation in the scouting industry, however, that Toronto may need to utilize their second-round pick (47th overall) in order to secure Quantrill, and not wait until their selection in the third round (83rd), as Quantrill’s stock has continued to rise through the course of the spring.

Nic Pivetta, rhp, New Mexico JC (Attended high school in Victoria, B.C.)
Top 2014 Prospect: Gareth Morgan, of, North Toronto Collegiate HS
Top 2015 Prospects: Josh Naylor, 1b, St. Joan of Arc Catholic HS, Mississauga, Ontario; Demi-Lade Orimoloye, of, St. Matthews HS, Orleans, Ontario


Draft History:
Adam Loewen, lhp, Fraser Valley Christian HS, Surrey, B.C. (2002, Orioles/1st round, 4th 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)
2012 Draft: David Otterman, rhp, University of British Columbia (Brewers/7th round)


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 0/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 14/4.


Best Athlete:
Malik Collymore, 2b/ss, Port Credit HS, Mississauga, Ontario
Best Hitter: Tyler McNeill, c/ss, Garibaldi HS, Maple Ridge, B.C.
Best Power: Tyler McNeill, c/ss, Garibaldi HS, Maple Ridge, B.C>
Best Speed: Malik Collymore, 2b/ss, Port Credit HS, Mississauga, Ontario
Best Defender: Daniel Pinero, ss/3b, St. Michael’s HS, Toronto
Best Velocity: Cal Quantrill, rhp, Trinity College HS, Port Hope, Ontario
Best Breaking Stuff: Cal Quantrill, rhp, Trinity College HS, Port Hope, Ontario
Best Pitchability: Cal Quantrill, rhp, Trinity College HS, Port Hope, Ontario


(rounds 1-3)

1. TYLER O’NEILL, c/ss, Garibaldi HS, Maple Ridge, B.C
O’Neill’s ability to swing the bat—both for average and power—is what sets him apart from almost any high-school hitter in the 2013 draft. But his inability to lock in on a set position probably has him on the outside of the first round looking in. Scouts still have hopes that the short, powerfully-built O’Neill, whose father is an 11-time Canadian weight-lifting champion, will find his way as a catcher, but a hernia that prevented him from squatting comfortably a year ago impaired his development behind the plate, and a sore elbow this spring while with Canada’s junior-national team on a barnstorming tour to Florida relegated him to mostly a DH role. Even when healthy, the 6-foot, 215-pound O’Neill has been somewhat reluctant to catch, though he has the raw arm strength desired in the position. The versatile O’Neill settled in as an all-star shortstop when unable to catch as a junior, but his lack of flexibility and grinder-like approach in the field makes him a better fit as an offensive second baseman (along the lines of stocky Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla), or corner outfielder. In British Columbia baseball circles, O’Neill has drawn constant comparisons to another former top Langley Blaze prospect, Brett Lawrie, an offensive-oriented player who enhanced his first-round candidacy in 2008 by moving behind the plate—though that experiment ended early in his pro career, and Lawrie has since settled in as a third baseman with the Toronto Blue Jays. Scouts who saw both players as high-school seniors say O’Neill is more advanced than Lawrie in most areas. Not only is he stronger and faster, and also possesses a stronger arm, but O’Neill had a much better year with the bat. With a short, quick, compact swing, O’Neill handles wood with ease; his raw power, in particular, has emerged this spring, especially with his ability to drive balls long distances to the opposite field. On Blaze’s 23-game exhibition trek to spring-training bases in Arizona in March, where 40-60 scouts typically gathered for most games, O’Neill hit a resounding .714 with five homers. O’Neill committed to Oregon State, but his growing stature as a prospect this spring makes it increasingly unlikely that he will ever play a game at the collegiate level.

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