Blue Jays Draft

Blue Jays – 2021 MLB Draft Canadian Prospect Watch: Calvin Ziegler

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Members of the Toronto Blue Jays ground crew prepare Sahlen Field for the final game of the MLB regular season for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Baltimore Orioles on September 27, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. The Blue Jays were forced to move all their home games to Sahlen Field due to COVID-19. (Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Members of the Toronto Blue Jays ground crew prepare Sahlen Field for the final game of the MLB regular season for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Baltimore Orioles on September 27, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. The Blue Jays were forced to move all their home games to Sahlen Field due to COVID-19. (Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays could very well land arguably the best Canadian prospect in this year’s draft out of Kitchener, Ontario, right-handed pitcher, Calvin Ziegler.

Ziegler will be the hottest arm out of Canada in this year’s draft; in my opinion, he’ll be the highest Canadian draft pick in 2021. He’s ranked 123rd on MLB’s top draft prospect list.  This is not a pitcher I would have wanted to face when I was playing elite ball in high school. At best, I saw 92mph down in New York in my 18U year.  Seeing 97mph is a different world on its own.

Background

Calvin Ziegler is a right-handed pitcher, 2021 graduate and a division 1 commit to Auburn University.  He was a member of St. Mary’s High School and a pitcher with the Great Lake Canadians out of the Canadian Premier Baseball League (CPBL). He is currently competing with the TNXL Academy, located in Florida, as he prepares for the draft.

Ziegler also represents Canada, as a part of the Junior National Team.

If we’re talking about exposure and notability, this kid’s resume and ingredients are out in the public for digestion.  He’s ranked no. 98 of 500 top combined high school and college prospects, no. 100 on ESPN’s prospect list, 268th on Baseball America’s top 500 prospect list, and 134th on MLB Pipeline Prospect rankings.

The Toronto Blue Jays could very well land arguably the best Canadian prospect in right-handed pitcher Calvin Ziegler.

Since 2019, my evaluation looked like this:

“His delivery is 99% consistent and repetitive.  His arm is strong and loose and has a very simple wind-up/delivery.  Calvin is built to last 6-7 innings while maintaining a consistent minimum of 88-90 all outing.  He has a fastball between 90-92, touching a max of 93 MPH at the Blue Jays T12 tournament in Toronto in 2019.  He spins an effective curveball with late break at an 11-5 movement – this is a key pitch to the belt and can throw for a strike; the curveball is recorded between 75-79 MPH.  His changeup is quite effective and works down at the knees with late spin and falls off the fingers in great change of speeds at 74-77 MPH.  Ziegler carries a great demeanor with a great IQ in working each match-up.  He’s quick to the plate with runners on and gets a ton of ground balls when not executing a strikeout.  Ziegler is about an above-average hitter at a 55 on the 20-80 scale; has a fluent and fundamental swing, can read pitches, has approach and can get on base with short cuts.”

Hearing the pop of the catcher’s mitt at the Rogers Center in the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays Tournament 12 showcase drew a lot of eyes to the mound. Ziegler was dominant.  Fast-forwarding to now, his dominancy continues, slating 51 strikeouts in 35 innings between throwing in Florida and Ohio.

Scouting and Evaluation Report

Grade Scale

Fastball: 60          Changeup: 45     Slider: 50              Command: 50    Arm Strength: 55

Synopsis

Calvin Ziegler, tossing from north-paw, stands 6’0”, 205lbs. He’s an athletic build, frame equally distributed from lower to upper half with long Limbs.  Solid deep-game starting pitcher that has hitting ability.  Has a loose arm from the right side with a great repetitive delivery, fundamentally sound mechanics off the mound, and strength from the hips and lower half accompanied by a long reach with a step towards the plate and long limbs.

Calvin throws a hard fastball, increasing from his 2019 average of 89-91mph, he now sits comfortably at 91-94mph, topping at a firing 97mph with 2200-2300rpm. His fastball is effective, thrown with confidence, and can work both sides of the plate.  His curveball mixes well in counts, sitting at 82-84 on average and 2100-2400 rpm.  His slider, probably his most dominant off-speed pitch, is confusing and unexpected to hitters, with good biting movement.  He’s dropped velocity on purpose to hitters with a good low-working changeup, averaging between 84-88mph, 1500-1600 rpm.

Ziegler is smart on the mound, he can read hitters and has mental notes of previous at-bats.  His approach is methodical and his repertoire is surgical.  As a young prospect, I compared him to Mike Sokora of the Atlanta Braves in 2020; I am now going to be bold with a comparison to Jacob deGrom, with more of an approach and fastball usage perspective.

Next. When enough is enough, even at a time of need. dark

Would Ziegler fit a Blue Jays uniform well?  I think if the 2021 Canadian JNT spring camp was to happen, the Blue Jays would have seen an upfront closer hands-on look at the right-handed prospect.  We can expect this kid’s name called!

A kid with such talent could be a starting arm for the Blue Jays in years to come; probably in the above-average time frame, similar to Alek Manoah’s quick climb.  Calvin would be impactful and a strong contender for a Blue Jays starter role

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