With the season soon coming to an end for the Vancouver Canadians, are there any prospects who could move up a level yet this season?
The Vancouver Canadians’ season could be coming to an end.
The Northwest League’s playoff format is one of two halves, and although the C’s have shown bright spots this year, their timing of wins has been such that their effect on the standings has been minimal.
As much as winning is an important factor in any sport, the minor leagues of baseball are meant for player development, with the ultimate goal being a World Series championship for the major league team.
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As the season draws to a likely playoff-less closure for the C’s, we can start to look at what prospects will be finding their way up the ladder to the Lansing Lugnuts, or will be seeing their season come to an end. Lansing is right in the thick of a playoff pursuit, much more so than the C’s are at this point in time, and could benefit from the promotion of some of the organization’s best prospects.
Yorman Rodriguez, Vancouver’s leader, in every offensive category, already finds himself in Lansing where he has continued his hot streak, batting .389 through his first eight games.
Other than Rodriguez who could be sent up? Who are some of the standout performers from this season?
Here I’ve picked my three players who I could see being sent up a level, as well as a player who has exceeded expectations.
The first player I think will be sent up a level, maybe even two levels all the way to Dunedin is Alek Manoah. The giant pitcher has dominated in his sporadic and limited appearances since joining the Canadians. Our own Cameron Black-Arujo got the chance to talk to Manhoah last week, so if you want to find out even more about him check out his article.
The Blue Jays’ eleventh overall selection only joined the team recently, but has been a welcome addition both on and off the mound. He’s quite the personality in the clubhouse, making friends even in his short time here. On the field, his size and skill are undeniable advantages, both of which have been talked about at length.
Manoah should find himself in Lansing to end the year, maybe even Dunedin if the organization feels that he is rested enough after a gruelling college season.
Another guy who could also find himself higher up the system is yet another pitcher. Adam Kloffenstein or “King Kloff” as he calls himself on Twitter is Toronto’s eleventh ranked prospect and is still only an 18 year old. What makes him special is the variance of his pitching arsenal. While most guys his age and at this level rely on one or two pitches, Kloffenstein can reliably throw up to five. This variance has led him to an ERA of 2.36, earning himself a spot on the Northwest League all-star team.
The only thing which could hinder the possibility of Kloffenstein garnering a call-up would be the risk of exhaustion. It’s still his first season, and he has been pitching regularly since the beginning of it, therefore the powers that be may want to rest him before challenging him with more advanced batters.
After the two special arms, the decision becomes a little harder to make. Who is the third potential call-up from the Vancouver Canadians? Well, there is a mishmash of names who could be called up to the Lugnuts. These names include Tanner Morris, Will Robertson, and Trevor Schweke.
All three of Morris, Robertson and Schweke have impressed this season and all look very comfortable at the NWL level. As for who should go up, we have to look further at the profiles of each player.
Morris and Schweke are near interchangeable, so much so that they swap position between second base and shortstop on a nightly basis. Both players have similar batting averages, however, Schweke has the edge when it comes to on-base percentage. Lansing is fairly strong offensively, and are pretty set at both SS and 2B with Jordan Groshans and Otto Lopez. Schweke does sometimes play first base, but it is not his main position. In the end, unless the Lugnuts are looking for some depth or to give guys a rest before the playoffs, neither of Schweke or Morris will be heading to Michigan.
Roberston, on the other hand, could offer something different. While his offensive numbers are similar to the aforementioned pair, he is an outfielder- a position which the Lugnuts are short on. With a possible playoff run on the horizon, Roberston could be the most likely option of the three for a late-season call-up.
I’ve mentioned the two outstanding pitchers and the mishmash trio of offensive contributors. Who is the player that has outplayed expectations? That player is 34th round draft pick Luis Quinones, who has stood out as one of the C’s best, yet most unknown pitchers in 2019. At time of writing, he has an ERA 0.86 through 21 innings, and has only allowed nine hits. Not bad for a 34th round pick! He is unlikely to warrant a call-up to Lansing, but the fact he has already found a level of success in the professional game is a statement in and of itself.
The Vancouver Canadians playoff hopes may be getting dimmer by the day, but the talent is there and is brewing nicely for the future of the Toronto Blue Jays.