I came across a really good article (2014 Canadians in the Minors) at Canadian Baseball Network from George Farelli and decided to take a look at how the Toronto Blue Jays Canadian Content are doing in 2014.
Growing up watching the Jays I always wondered why they didn’t corner the Canadian prospects market. I waited patiently for the like of Rob Ducey, Denis Boucher, the Butler brothers (Rob Butler and Rich Butler), and Paul Spoljaric to turn into stars with the Jays…alas that never happened. We got to see the likes of Corey Koskie, Matt Stairs, and Paul Quantrill have some success with Canada’s only MLB team. Brett Lawrie is currently filling the role of Captain Canada for the Jays right now, well not at the moment but when he comes off the DL he will.
According to George Farelli, there are 95 Canadians playing minor league ball in 2014. Surprisingly,the Blue Jays top the list with the most Canadians (12) in their farm system, followed by Philadelphia (8). In Part 1, we will focus on the Canadian players the Toronto Blue Jays have on the Buffalo Bisons, New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Dunedin Blue Jays.
C Mike Nickeas (31)- Originally drafted by Texas in the 5th round in 2004. He was included in the R.A. Dickey trade and has only appeared in one game with the Blue Jays. The Vancouver native is a nice Triple-A player that is currently a mentor for the Jays Top Catching Prospect A.J. Jimenez.
OF Mike Crouse (23)- Drafted by Toronto in the 16th round in 2008. A British Columbia native, Crouse has struggled to put all his tools together. Crouse has speed, extra base power, and uses his speed to play a decent LF/RF. Crouse started the year very well, but has cooled of considerably since May. Crouse could find his calling as a 4th outfielder that can hit LHP as he is hitting .305/.374/.516 against LHP this year.
OF Dalton Pompey (21)- If you haven’t heard of this young man…..well you are not a true Blue Jays fan. Pompey was drafted in 2010 in the 16th round out of Mississauga, Ont. and has steadily moved up the ladder through five seasons in Toronto’s farm system. Widely considered the organizations Top Position Prospect Pompey will be sky rocketing up all the prospect lists this off-season. Pompey doesn’t project as a power hitting OF but he does project as an impact CF whose speed and defence can impact a game. It took some time for Pompey to adjust to Double-A pitching, but he is hitting a lot better of late with .410/.452/.615 in his past 10 games. He could see Triple-A this year…maybe.
OF Marcus Knecht (24)- Knecht is a 3rd round draft pick back in 2010 out of Toronto, Ont. He is an average fielder, with a smooth swing and a mature approach at the plate. He has good speed but doesn’t use it to steal bases. This is his third season in High-A FSL and he has been unable to impress. Marcus has been unable to generate any power or produce with any consistency in 2014, with the exception of a phenomenal May. Time is running out for Marcus to start moving up the ladder.
Surprisingly all the Canadians in the Jays upper minor system are position players, where is Scott Richmond when you need a Canadian pitcher. It would be great if 2 or out the 3 outfielders were able to make it to Toronto as regular contributors in the next two years. Look for Canadian Content Pt.2 on Sunday and remember to comment.