On June 11, 2022, the Blue Jays called up top prospect, catcher, Gabriel Moreno from the Buffalo Bisons. Having such anticipation for a catcher was exciting. As we look towards the 2022 Major League Baseball amateur draft, there’s another catcher lurking in the college pool, a local Greater Toronto Area kid.
As I continue to showcase Canadian draft talent pertaining to the Blue Jays, the name Ryan Leitch will catch your interest. Ryan Leitch was born on the 26th of August, 2001 in Whitby, Ontario, Canada. He was a 2019 Sinclair Secondary School graduate and developed his baseball skills as a primary catcher with the popular Toronto Mets program. Ryan’s makeup, tools, Perfect Game State ranking of 19 overall, and 3rd overall in his position resulted in his name being called in the 2019 MLB Draft in the 30th round by the Cincinnati Reds.
However, Leitch committed to Marshall University in West Virginia in NCAA Division 1 in Conference USA, where he played his first season in 2020. His freshman year was shortened and affected by the global pandemic, resulting in just 38 at-bats in 14 games with six hits, six runs, and one home run. In 2021, he appeared in 32 games with 127 plate appearances, 111 at-bats, 29 RBI on 29 hits, 17 runs, and 10 home runs. He finished that season with a .261 batting average. After the college season, Leitch stayed down south to play summer ball for the Macon Bacon in the Coastal Plain League. He recorded 27 hits, 12 RBI, and three home runs, scoring 18 times. He also recorded a .990 fielding percentage with 85 putouts, 10 assists, and caught 9 runners stealing. 2022 is what turned heads, but we’ll get to that.
Blue Jays could replenish farm-system catching depth with Canadian prospect Ryan Leitch
Ryan Leitch is 6’2”, at an athletic 205lbs, with an overall athletic agile frame. His fundamentals and tools behind the dish are above satisfactory. He possesses a strong arm with good POP, with an aggressive approach. The talk of the draft is what he offers offensively. This season (2022), Leitch made noise. His 2022 numbers had him see 239 plate appearances, with a career-high of 39 runs, 43 RBI on 12 home runs, 66 hits, with a .307 batting average. Ryan offers a ton of tools in the box or at the plate; the only concern is his walks to strikeouts this past campaign, walking 17 times while striking out 52. His overall college numbers in 3 seasons are 99 games, 410 plate appearances, 364 at-bats, 62 runs, 101 hits, 23 home runs, 75 RBIs, 34 walks, and 99 strikeouts.
The Blue Jays have two catchers in their top 30 prospect rankings. Moreno, who was called up recently as well as Luis Meza, a recent international free agent signing. After being previously drafted out of high school, Leitch has shown exceptional development and would be a great candidate for the 2022 draft and the Blue Jays. Such draft pick for the Blue Jays I’d estimate to be in between rounds 6-10. Ryan would be a great farm system guy, with the opportunity to develop.