Oh Canada! Canucks Becoming Sought After Baseball Players

 The Jays are one of many clubs that are starting to pay more attention to talents coming out of the great white North. And who can blame them when the likes of Joey Votto – who just landed a $39 million extensionafter taking off like a rocket in 2010. If they can grab some of that talent a little earlier than has been the case, maybe they can land the next great Canuck!  Since the Jays have seemingly increased their chase for Canadian talent, drafting a few guys in 2010 and chasing both Brett Lawrie and Russell Martin, I thought it would be important to keep close tabs on what Canadians are out there to be had. It’s obvious that the Jays are now focused on finding the next Canadian gem and to make headway in getting Canadians all over to think of the Jays as Canada’s team. 

First, here’s an updated list of MLB, Minors, and Just Drafted Canadian Talent in Baseball. I’ll also touch on the best future talent available in the 2011 draft. 

Canadians in MLB or on the brink of being in MLB 


First Basemen: 

Second Basemen: 

Short Stops: 

  • None, a weakness of Canadian development programs

Third Basemen: 


Starting Pitching: 

Relief Pitching: 

Outside of the list above, the following players have signed big bonuses (above $200,000) in the minors and are in order of the year they were drafted and most can still be found in the minors: 

2010 - 4 players: $1,984,000 

2009 – 1 player: $300,000 

2008 – 1 player: $1,700,000 

2007 – 7 players: $3,918,500 

2006 – 1 player: $435,000 

2005 – 2 players: $857,500 

2004 – 4 players: $980,500 

2003 – 1 player: $240,000 

2002 – 4 players: $5,950,000 

2001 – 1 player: $348,000 

2000 – 1 player: $1,125,000 

1999 – 1 player: $295,000 

1997 – 3 players: $1,705,000 

1996 – 1 player: $425,000 

1995 – 1 player: $200,000 

Other Notable Canadians who received less than $200,000: RHP Chris Leroux (FLA – $152,000), OF Dalton Pompey (’10 – TOR $150,000), LHP James Paxton, unsigned, RHP Steve McKinnon (’10 – TEX – $150,000), Jake Eliopolous (’09 – TOR – unsigned), RHP Nicholas Purdy and INF Randy Schwartz – both with TOR. 

You can clearly see that from 2002 onwards, Canadians really started to get noticed and the pace of consistently high ranking bonuses stepped up as a result. A lot of credit needs to be given to both coaching and scouting within Canada, both of which became integral parts of the talent that has arisen from Canada. However, you also have to credit great Canadian players such as Larry Walker, Ryan Dempster, and Justin Morneau how provided Canadian ball players with stars to look up to and surely created some of the more recent interest in baseball in Canada. That’s something which goes a long way to increasing the number of and overall talent of players in competitions. 

Although a lot more attention is being paid to talent in Canada, it does look like the teams signing Canadians to big contracts are a group of ATL – TEX – TOR – NYY – BOS – BAL – KC – MIN – PIT – SD – CHW and OAK. The remainder have been fairly timid in their chase of Canadian talent. 

Top Canadians for the upcoming 2011 draft (courtesy of Canadian Baseball Network)

  • 1 – Tom Robson – RHP – 6’4″ 190 lbs, from Ladner BC (ranks 72nd on Baseball America’s top 100 HS list for ’11 draft)
  • 2 – Skylar Janisse – RHP – 6’4″ 200 lbs, from Maidstone ONT
  • 3 – Ali Simpson – LHP – 6’2″ 180 lbs, from Campbell River BC
  • 4 – Justin Atkinson – INF – 6’0″ 175 lbs, from North Surrey BC
  • 5 – Peter Bako – C – 6’1″ 190 lbs, from Mississauga ONT
  • 6 – Roberto Suppa – RHP – 6’5″ 205 lbs, from Connor ONT
  • 7 – Dustin Houle – C-3B – 6’1″ 185 lbs, from Penticton BC
  • 8 – Blake Carruthers – OF – 5’11″ 190 lbs, from Calgary Alberta
  • 9 – Danny Britton-Foster – RHP – 6’2″ 215 lbs, from Ladysmith BC
  • 10 – Cory Scammell – OF – 6’5″ 210 lbs, from Edmonton Alberta

If interested in the numerous players who have signed letter of intent to play throughout the U.S. and Canada, you can find their names and information here. I expect that the Jays are working hard towards finding a gem in this group and that they’ll likely draft one or a few in the ’11 draft. 

I look forward to seeing whether Brett Lawrie, Nicholas Purdy and Marcus Knechtcan become homeland heroes in Toronto within the next few years. They all have the talent to make big impacts in The Show and would definitely become more than easily marketable players for the Toronto Blue Jays, Canada’s team. The “Winter Tour” that has been travelling across the country this off season is another indication of Toronto’s increased dedication to becoming a prominent part of the Canadian conscience from coast-to-coast. If it works, it could provide the Jays with a much larger market than the majority of MLB Teams and create revenues that would result in more star caliber players sticking with the Jays. 

Therefore, Canadian baseball player success, if the Jays can scout and select the appropriate players, could also lead to many years of Jays success. With that in mind…. 

Go Canada Go! 

- MG 

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Tags: Adam Loewen Ali Simpson Brett Lawrie Dalton Pompey Justin Atkinson Marcus Knecht Michael Crouse Peter Bako Skylar Janisse Tom Robson

  • http://5thStarter.blogspot.com 5thStarter

    Hey Mat,

    Great profile, but I have some things to add: Cale Iorg was born in Canada when his father played here, and is close to the Majors in the Tigers system.

    Jake Eliopoulos turned down somwhere in the neighbourhood of $300K from the Jays after being drafted in the third round of 2009.

    Jameson Taillon is half-Canadian (His mom was born and raised in Toronto) and, although it’s a stretch, I like to consider him Canadian too.

    I did a similar profile on potential Canadian players for the next WBC. It’s in my archives, and I’d invite you to take a look at it. (2 posts, 1 for pitchers, 1 for position players)

    • Mat Germain

      I did ponder putting Jameson on the list and had him there until the last minute, but seeing as he pitched for the USA under 18 team, it would be quite a stretch to label him as a Canadian player.

      Jake should have signed while he had the chance, but for now it looks like the Jays saved themselves $300,000 and some heartache.

      I will definitely check out your post and thanks for the comment!

  • Mat Germain

    Just wanted to add this great BA piece about Canada’s rise as a baseball country and the Jays interest in its players.


  • steve

    great work! 1 player that was overlooked though was Pete Orr. He’s a utility man on the Phillies, and is capable of playing ss. He has recieved quite a bit of playing time so far this season…and is a great defensive player…sort of like a Johnny Mac.

    • Mat Germain

      Right, he slipped through for some reason, even if he is one major fan favorite for his gritty play. He’ll be added!

      Thanks for that Steve.