Blue Jays 2022 Draft Watch: Top Canadian Pitching Prospects
The Blue Jays are weeks away from selecting the building blocks for the future of the organization. As we’ve strolled through the past four weeks of the season, the bullpen and starting rotation struggles are very apparent, in conjunction with the inability to produce runs. This omelet of issues will cook perfectly well with the need to draft pitching.
The Blue Jays may be in a position to make moves before the trade deadline to ensure a safe pitching situation, as a playoff possibility is still very present. What sort of moves may this include? Trading away prospects, position players, as well as pitching. With this possibility, drafting some mound presence may be a priority. The Blue Jays also have the luxury of shopping on their own street, with some solid Canadian arms listed in this year’s MLB amateur draft. Which Canadians may get their names called?
Blue Jays 2022 Draft: Canadian Pitching Prospect Possibilities
1. RHP Adam Maier, University of Oregon
Adam Maier is a popular Canadian name; he’s a right-hander, with two college seasons, split between two schools. He started at the University of British Columbia and is now a sophomore at the University of Oregon. In two college seasons, he went 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 34.2 innings, striking out 41, and only walking 10 hitters. In 2021, he played for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod league. Through three seasons, he finished with a 3.88 ERA in 60.1 innings, allowing 26 earned runs, with 68 strikeouts, and 19 walks.
Maier delivers four pitches from a ¾ arm slot, with a fastball topping 92-93mph with bite, and a slider is his out-pitch. The slider has phenomenal movement and is worked in any count. His sinker has been of dominance as well, sitting between 95-97mph. Maier can easily be the top Canadian pitching prospect in this year’s draft.
2. LHP Antoine Jean, University of Alabama
The southpaw kid from Montreal, PQ, Canada was previously drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2019 but he took the school route to the University of Alabama instead.
As a current Junior, he’s put up a 10-2 record with Alabama, with a 3.51 ERA, striking out 61 and walking 35 in 77 University innings-pitched. His combined numbers in University and the Cape Cod League (Falmouth Commodores) total a 10-4 record with a 3.88 ERA, 77 strikeouts, 45 walks, and 43 earned runs in 99.2 innings.
As Jean has recovered from injury, he hopes to continue to develop his repertoire and fastball velocity which sits 87-89, with projection and capability to rise to the low 90s. He also throws a good changeup and developing slider. His strikeout-to-walk ratio between University and the Cape is what gets scouts watching. We’ll see if the Blue Jays see what Minnesota saw 3 years ago.
The Blue Jays could have options right here in Canada, as 4 Canadian pitchers will be draft-eligible, bringing tools and skills to this year’s selection.
3. RHP Turner Spoljaric, Toronto Mets Baseball Club/University of Oregon commit
Turner Spoljaric, son of ex-blue jays pitcher Paul Spoljaric, from the Toronto Mets is the talk of Ontario High School pitchers. He’s currently committed to the University of Oregon, and very well may be the highest Canadian high school draft pick.
His development and pitch repertoire has been displayed at events hosted by Perfect Game Baseball, the TNXL Academy, Tournament 12 hosted by the Blue Jays, as well as the future stars series, Prep Baseball Report, and the Canadian Pacific Baseball League.
Turner is a 6’2” righty with four pitches, highlighted by a fastball with run sitting 91-92, with a max at 93mph. He also throws a newly developed slider with a mix of an above-average changeup and a very effective curveball. Spoljaric is very athletic, with a tall slim build and a lot of physical projection. This is a pitcher that can be polished by a Major League program. He currently competes in the MLB Draft League for the West Virginia Black Bears.
4. RHP Jonah Tong, Toronto Mets Baseball Club, North Dakota State University Commit
Another Toronto Mets right-hander that has shown tremendous development and skills off the mound. Just like Jordon Romano, Jonah Tong comes from Markham, Ontario, Canada. He attends Bill Crothers Secondary School and is also in the MLB Draft League.
The Draft League has listed his fastball at 92-93mph average with a max of 96mph, with a 125 RISE+ and 105 HOP+. His curveball is an average of 2675 RPM with a top 2875, 80% WHIFF. The changeup has an 80% WHIFF, 78% strike, and 78mph average exit velocity. This kid is consistent, with a repetitive and fluent delivery, good reach to the plate, and a composed approach. He has developed well, and matured athletically, with good physical projection.
These are pitchers that can be good additions to the Blue Jays organization; regardless, these guys will hear their names called at some point. The projections for the high school pitchers are very positive, giving them a chance to be selected again, later in their college careers.