2. Tanner Kirwer – Sherwood Park, Alberta
Tanner Kirwer was selected in the 20th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Blue Jays after three seasons at Niagara University where he posted a slash line of .329/.415/.451 with 48 extra-base hits over 135 games.
The 25-year old spent the 2021 campaign playing all three outfield positions and started the season in High-A with the Vancouver Canadians. Through 36 games, Kirwer posted a slash line of .285/.420/.474 with 13 extra-base hits, which led to his call-up to Double-A New Hampshire.
Kirwer struggled at first with the Fisher Cats, as he went just 2 for 18 (.111) through his first few games, but he improved each month after that. During the month of August, Kirwer posted a slash line of .254/.361/.437 over 71 at-bats. The 6’0” outfielder does have some pop in his bat as he finished with 23 extra-base hits over 83 combined minor league games, but his biggest asset is his speed on the bases. Kirwer finished the season swiping 43 bases in 48 attempts and over the duration of his minor league career (two seasons) he has been caught just 13 times in 107 chances over 225 games.
1. Jordan Romano – Markham, Ontario
The Blue Jays had one Canadian player on their 26-man roster and his name is Jordan Romano.
Romano finished seventh in the league with 23 saves and among closers with at least 15 saves he had the second-best ERA at 2.14. The right-hander was absolutely dominant this season and was one of the league’s best closers.
The 28-year old Markham product became the Blue Jays closer in May and once he was given that role in the bullpen he was almost unhittable for the remainder of the season. His pitching on the mound was remarkable throughout the season, as he had a sub 2.00 ERA each month from May until the end of the season except for a quick rough patch in July.
May – 13 IP | 1.38 ERA | 19 K | 3 Saves
June – 11 IP | 0.00 ERA | 13 K | 3 Saves
July – 6.2 IP | 8.10 ERA |6 K | 3 Saves
June – 12.2 IP | 1.42 ERA | 21 K | 5 Saves
Sep/Oct – 14 IP | 1.93 ERA | 20 K | 9 Saves
It seemed the bigger the moment the better Romano pitched. In save situations, Romano posted 1.23 ERA and 0.716 WHIP, while in non-save situations he posted a 2.94 ERA and 1.337 WHIP. Overall, Romano finished the season with a 7-1 record and a 2.14 ERA with 23 saves.
One spot the Blue Jays don’t need to worry about this offseason is finding a closer for the 2022 campaign as Romano has claimed that role moving forward. The Blue Jays have four more years of control of the right-hander until he becomes a free agent.
Outside of Romano, which Canadian prospect do you think will have the brightest future?