Yesterday in Canadian Content: A look at Blue Jays Canadian Prospects Pt.1 the Bisons Mike Nickeas, New Hampshire’s outfielders Mike Crouse and Dalton Pompey, and Dunedin’s Marcus Knecht were featured.
In Part 2, the focus will shift to the Canadian Prospects plying their trades in the Jays lower level minor leagues. I would once again like to give credit where credit is do. I was inspired to look at the Canadian Prospects within the Jays system after reading Canadian Baseball Network’s George Farelli article on 2014 Canadians in the Minors.
The Blue Jays upper minor league teams were lacking in Canadian pitchers, but that isn’t the case in the lower levels. Actually I may start calling the Lansing Lugnuts the Lansing Canadians, there as soooo many talented Canadians playing there.
C Mike Reeves (23)- Reeves has split time between Dunedin and Lansing, but is currently with the Lugnuts. The Jays liked Reeves so much that they drafted him once in 42nd round in 2009 and again in 21st round of the 2013 draft. In 2013, Reeves appeared in 55 games with the Vancouver Canadians in his first pro season and handled himself very well. There doesn’t seem to be too much power in that bat but he has handled the running game well catching 37% of stolen base attempts and he has only allowed 2 passed balls in 2014. I really like Reeves because he seems to have a good approach at the plate….look at those K/BB numbers.
IF/DH Justin Atkinson(20)- The Surrey BC native was taken in the 26th round of the 2011 draft. He has caught my eye a couple times this season. Originally drafted as a shortstop he’s is being converted to a corner infielder. The B will need to develop his power if he wishes to get to Toronto, but he already is demonstrating a good approach at the plate. Atkinson has dealt with some injuries this year limiting him to just 6 games in June. I would like to see Justin get more time at 2nd because Mitch Nay and Matt Dean will most likely get playing time over Atkinson….for now. Look for him to continue up the ladder.
RHP Tom Robson (21)- Another product of British Columbia, Robson was taken in the 4th round in 2011. Hes got a very high ceiling and hasn’t disappointed in his first two seasons with Bluefield and Vancouver. Robson is on the shelf having suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which he tried to pitch through before he told the Lugnuts training staff about the discomfort. Here’s hoping that Dr. Andrews can work his magic to allow Robson to be good as new in 2015 or 2016.
LHP Shane Dawson (20)- This product of Drayton Valley, Alberta was taken in the 17th round of the 2012 draft. Dawson has succeeded at each level since becoming a pro with a record of 7-10, 3.05 ERA while striking out 142 in 132.2IP. In Lansing, Dawson has seen his K/9 (7.39)decrease and BB/9 (3.86) increase over last year, but has decreased his LOB% (78.0%). Vince Horsman had some very kind words for Dawson, “He really has a feel for when to add on or when to take away from his pitches. And again, he competes out there.” Some say that Dawson’s ceiling is as relief pitcher.
RHP Andrew Case (21)- Case is from St. John, NB. Case went undrafted, but signed with the Blue Jays after he pitched a no-hitter in the inaugural Tournament 12. Andrew’s story is a really good one best told by Alexis Brudnicki from Canadian Baseball Network. Case has demonstrated very good control with an impressive 16.7% K-BB and has done a good job of stranding base runners with a 86.2 LOB%. Case has held opponents to a .232 batting average but he has ran into a rough patch in July. Case needs to improve on his 0.65 GO/AO ratio if he wants to have a chance to move up the ladder.
RHP Jordan Romano (21)- Romano is from Markham, Ont. He was taken in the 10th round of this years draft. Romano is a tall 6’4″ power arm who looks to be a reliever but can also swing the bat. Jordan was moved up to Bluefield after just 3IP with the GCL Blue Jays. He has yet to allow a run in 7 appearances, so things are looking good so far.
OF Nathan DeSouza (19)- DeSouza is from Milton, Ont. and taken as a 17 year old in 2012 as a 805th overall pick in the 26th round. He signed for $100, 000. This is his third season in Bluefield. He was 2 and half years younger than his opponents in his first year, but now he is only 0.7 years younger. DeSouza hasn’t advanced beyond Bluefield because he hasn’t produced, but that might be changing this year. DeSouza has only appeared in 3 games but is already showing a better eye at the plate. I haven’t seen him play but I am going to assume that he needs to work on his defence considering he has played ever game of his minor league career in left field.
GCL Blue Jays
RHP Sean Ratcliffe (19)- Ratcliffe is from Pickering, Ont. He is a 18th round selection from the 2013 draft. Sean appeared in 8 games in 2013 for the GCL Blue Jays, all in relief. Sean didn’t show good command averaging 45 BB/9, but he did strike out 8 in 8 IP. This year Sean hasn’t seen too much action and the results have been mixed when he has pitched.
Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed taking a peak at the Canadians that Alex Anthopoulos and his group scout have been able to gather. Many of these guys won’t make it to Toronto, but the experience that they are gathering will benefit Baseball Canada. I think that Alex should continue to use late round picks on Canadian baseball players and give them an opportunity to succeed.
Good Luck to all Canadians across the minor and major leagues.