By Bob Elliott
We are no longer talking in years or months.
Now, the June 5 draft of amateur high schoolers and collegians is days away.
Gareth Morgan has been pegged to be the top Canadian selected in the 2014 draft for the past two years -- maybe even longer.
And he will be the top Canuck selected.
Will it be on June 5 on Day I? Or will it be Day II on June 6? It depends whom you ask:
“To some teams that haven’t drafted a lot of Canadians he’s a risky pick, but his ceiling is higher than most,” said one evaluator. “And the majors is pitching, pitching, pitching and so is this draft. That works to his advantage: not many have shown his power. He could be in the first 50 picks or so.”
MLB.com has Morgan rated 71st on its combined list of high schoolers and collegians, while Allan Simpson’s Perfect Game Scouting Service has Morgan listed 99th.
“Clubs that are focused on position players will have him high on their boards in either the first or second round,” said an AL scouting director. “You know there is value in right-hander power, and coupled with a shortage of high school/college bats this year will move him up. I expect he goes the first day.”
Morgan has impressed with gigantic blasts during batting practice with the Ontario Blue Jays and the Team Canada Junior National Team. It was not until a spring trip to Arizona with the Langley Blaze before a large audience of scouts that he put on his most consistent display during game action.
“I saw him in Arizona, and I see him as a late first rounder,” said a national cross checker from the National League.
Despite the fact that there are 30 teams, the first round this year consists of 27 picks as the New York Yankees lost their first-round pick, originally 18th overall, for signing free agent Brian McCann, the Texas Rangers lost their first-round pick (22nd overall) for signing free-agent Shin-Soo Choo, and the Atlanta Braves lost their first-round pick (29th overall) for signing free-agent Ervin Santana.
Next comes the compensation round, which consists of seven picks, and the competitive balance round of seven additional picks. All of which means the start of the second round will be the 42nd pick overall held by the Houston Astros.
“I don’t think he’s a first rounder, he is a possible second rounder, but for sure he’s a third rounder,” said another scouting director. “But what’s that old saying: ‘it’s not the round -- it’s the size of the bonus.’”
RHP Zachary Pop (Brampton, Ont.), Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian Junior National Team/Langley Blaze
Moved up when his fastball was clocked at 93 MPH in Fla. vs. Tigers extended.
He ranked 253rd on PG top 500 list (down from 244th)
RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, Ont.), Central Arizona College
Struck out 114 Ks in 78 innings to lead the nation as he went 9-4, with a 2.77 ERA and two CG in 13 games. Six times he had double-figure strikeout outings. Listed 91st on Allan Simpson’s top 200 JUCO prospects (down from 66th) and No. 1 on PG’s top 26 JUCO players in Az.
3B-C Mitchell Robinson (Cloverdale, BC), Langley Blaze/Canadian Junior National Team/C-Florida International
Received a lot of attention from scouts in Arizona, going 7-for-13, with two doubles, and a triple. He homered against the Phillies minor leaguers and doubled off the Jays' Brandon Morrow.
Ranked 251st on Allan Simpson’s PG top 500 list (down from 242nd)
RHP Cody Chartrand (Nanaimo, BC), Lewis-Clark State College
Ha started and closed for NAIA powerhouse with 14 BBs, 26 Ks, in 37 2/3 innings going 5-0, with four saves and a 2.15 ERA in 12 games making six starts. Opponents are hitting .217.
9th on PG’s top 25 prospects in NAIA ... 2nd on PG’s top 7 college list in Idaho
RHP-INF Michael Foster (Pickering, Ont.), Northeastern University
Scouts are still split on Foster: on days he throws 92 MPH striking out two for a save against Central Michigan, he’s a pitcher. On days when he hits two homers -- “one a majestic bomb” -- as he did against Hofstra, he’s a position player, as he’s hitting .290 with seven doubles, a triple, three homers, 30 RBIs and a .765 OPS in 43 games.
2nd of PG’s top 10 in Massachusetts
3B-1B Robert Byckowski (Etobicoke, Ont.), Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian Junior National Team/C-Florida Gulf Coast University
Solid plate discipline, five singles, two RBIs at St. Pete’s
PG’s 5th Canuck HSer
OF Jean-Francois Garon (Terrebonne, Que.), Royals de Repentigny/Langley Blaze/Canadian Junior National Team
Former hockey puck and quarterback. Some scouts wonder whether he’d be in a better position if he entered next year’s draft.
PG’s 8th of 11 HSers in Canada
RHP Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.), Oral Roberts University
Has come on strong of late with nine saves -- 11 BB, 38 Ks in 32 2/3 innings. He’s 2-4, with a 2.48 in 24 games holding opponents to a .217 average.
22nd on PG top 30 list in Oklahoma
LHP Tyrell King (Calgary, Alta.), Paradise Valley Community College
Drafted by White Sox last year (34th) and having a better year: 70 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings as he’s 3-2 with three saves in 12 games, 1 GS, averaging 8.92 Ks per 9 innings
12th on PG top 26 JUCO players in Az.
C Chris Shaw (Winnipeg, Man.), Midland College
Like a lot of Texas JUCO players, has some fat numbers: 18 doubles, 10 homers, 48 RBIs, with a .372 Avg. and a 1.145 OPS in 46 games. The Brewers drafted in 2012 (38th)
139th on PG’s 200 PG top JUCO prospects ... 35th on PG’s top 56 top JUCO prospects in Texas
3B Brendan Hendriks (Cochrane, Alta.), University of San Francisco
Turned down $100,000 when drafted by Phillies (40th) in 2011. Hit a solo homer in 19th to beat No. 2 ranked Cal-State Fullerton. Hs 18 doubles, three triples, four homers, 33 RBIs, a .282 average an a .836 OPS in 46 games.
Listed 66th (down from 43rd) on PG’s top 124 collegians in Calif. and was ranked 15th best on PG’s best from the New England summer college league
RHP-OF Tristan Clarke (Brampton, Ont.), Great Lake Canadians/Dbacks Team BC/Canadian Junior National Team
Two triples vs. Mid Atlantic Rookies at Jupiter. Most like him in the field, some like him off the mound.
10th of PG list of top 11 Canadian HSers.
OF Emmanuel Forcier (St-Hyacinthe, Que.), Oral Roberts University
Hitting .276 with five doubles, two triples, 11 RBIs, and a .731 OPS in 40 games. Could be a senior sign next June if not a draft.
25th of PG’s top 30 college players in Oklahoma
RHP Skylar Janisse (Maidstone, Ont.), Windsor seniors/Langley Blaze/Central Michigan University
Academically ineligible from CMU so will likely sign. Performed well in Arizona, working six innings allowing three runs against Reds and Cubs extended prospects. Drafted in 34th by NY Yankees in 2011
OF Sasha LaGarde (Montreal, Que.), Mercer University
A late bloomer, who attended Chippola College (Jose Bautista, Adam Loewen, Russell Martin). He has hit eight doubles, eight homers and knocked in 40 runs, while hitting .313 with a .914 OPS in 45 games. He’s 8-for-13 stealing.
25th on PG list of top 40 college players in Georgia.
INF Charles Leblanc (Laval, Que.), Academy Baseball Canada/Ohio Warhawks/Canadian Junior National Team/C-University of Pittsburgh
Two strikeouts in 17 plate appearance on FLA fall trip and hit a two-run homer vs. BC in Canada Games. He was drafted by Brewers in 2013 (32nd).
LHP Conor Lillis-White (Toronto, Ont.), University of British Columbia
Only semi-perfect for UBC with a 7-0 record and an 0.57 ERA, and one save in 13 games all but three of them starts. He’s held opponents to a .144 average. Has walked 31 and fanned 67 in 63 2/3 innings.
INF Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Montreal, Que.), Academy Baseball Canada/Langley Blaze/Canadian Junior National Team
Fastest man in at the Rogers Centre during T12, a 6.44, 60, but he’s not considered a good base runner. He had four hits including two triples in win over Cubs minor leaguers at Az.
OF Andris Rizquez (Hamilton, Ont.), Central Arizona College
Earned Az Juco 1st Team honours and is hitting .328 (with seven doubles, five triples, two homers) and 28 RBIs, with a .711 OPS in 56 games as well as 21-for-25 stealing bases.
19th on PG list of top 26 JUCO players (up from 42nd) in Arizona
LHP Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.), Vauxhall Academy/Canadian Junior National Team/C-Stetson University
85-88 MPH in spring ... 4 BB, 5 Ks in 5.2 IP vs. Toronto Blue Jays plus inter-squad game ... Touched 90 MPH at MLB camp in Vauxhall
6th on PG top 11 HSers in Canada
INF Joel Lutz (Medicine Hat, Alta.), Lubbock Christian University
Big power to opposite field and the corner guy has an Indy job waiting if undrafted. He has Texas-sized numbers with 22 doubles, a triple, 14 homers and 56 RBIs, while hitting .345 with a 1.145 OPS in 49 games.
79th of PG’s top 84 college players in Texas ...
C-OF Travis Wacker (Oakville, Ont.), Field House Pirates
Has a big huge number on him from MLB Scouting Bureau. While an injury prevented him from competing in T12, he was one of five Canadians named to the Rawlings prospect list at the Perfect Game Field Spring Top Prospects showcase in Iowa. (OF Canice Ejoh. Toronto, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays was the other. Ran 6.75 60 at Welland Bureau camp.
INF Scott Wilcox (Burlington, Ont.), Western Kentucky University
Ontario Blue Jays grad hitting .314 with 13 doubles, two homers, 29 RBIs and an .829 OPS in 49 games.
26th on PG top 30 (down from 23rd) collegians from Kentucky.
OF Austen Swift (Etobicoke, Ont.), Ontario Blue Jays
Fared well at Jupiter: two hits vs. East Cobb, single vs. Dulin and double vs. DBAT at Jupiter. Was 3-for-6, with a double, two RBIs, two stole bases at T-12. Switch hitter was clocked at 6.75, 60 at Northeast Showcase in Bristol, Conn.
2015 draft (12 months away)
OF-1B Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.), Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian Junior National Team
One scout said Naylor “might have an 80 for raw power” on a 20-to-80 scale especially after putting on a show at Cubs facility in Mesa, hitting one ball 450 feet. A power bat who is compared to Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach in Minneapolis
13th on Perfect Game’s list of top 500 HS prospects (up from 17th), 43rd on Allan Simpson’s top 200 combined list, 1st Team PG All-American pre-season honours
LHP Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.), Arizona State University
Seven scoreless in win over Stanford with other wins over Oklahoma State, Oregon State, UCLA and Cal for a 6-2 record and a 3.24 ERA in 12 starts walked 15 and fanning 50 in 77 2/3 innings. Kellogg allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings to record his fourth consecutive quality start and his sixth of the season. He did not walk a batter for the 12th time in 27 career starts, including his sixth this season.
47th on Allan Simpson’s top 200 combined list of HSers and collegians
INF Daniel Pinero (Toronto, Ont.), University of Virginia
Playing the No. 1 defensive position -- shortstop -- on the No. 1 team in the country for most of the season despite the fact he’s a freshman. He’s draft eligible due to his age. He’s hitting .267 with four doubles, 15 RBIs and a .686 OPS in 42 games.
Ranked PGs’s 5th college player in Virginia
OF Demi-Lade Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.), Ottawa-Nepean Canadians/Canadian Junior National Team
An interesting hitter for how many prospects swings and miss during batting practice and then hit a nasty low and away slider for homer vs. Phillies extended players at Al Lang
Ranked 215th on PG’s list of top 500 HSers (down from 187th) and earned PG 3rd Team All-American honours.
RHP Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.), Calgary PBF Redbirds/Canadian Junior National Team
Considered the best high school arm in the country by most as pitching coach Chris Reitsma has built up his arsenal: fastball with command, curve, slider (second best pitch), change.
3rd best PG HS in Canada ... 366th on PG top 500 HS list (down from 336th)
RHP R.J. Freure (Burlington, Ont.), Ontario Blue Jays
Fanned five in 4 1/3 innings IP vs. Rays Scout Team and was “awesome” in 2 2/3 scoreless with Ks in 4-3 win over Houston Banditos White.
342nd on PG top 500 HS list (down from 316th) fourth on PG Canadian HS list
RHP Kristjan Storrie (Langley, BC), Langley Blaze/Canadian Junior National Team
Arrived when he hit 91 MPH vs. Tri-state at PG in Jupiter and 90 MPH 3 times vs. Ontario Blue Jays. He has been in that range in most outings since last October.
146th on PG top 500 HS list (down from 140th) and fifth on PG Canadian HS list, earning second team PG All-American Pre-Season honours
RHP Matt Ianni (Ottawa, Ont.), Ottawa-Nepean Canadians/Canadian Junior National Team/Langley Blaze
Has hesitant over-the-head delivery like Hideo Nomo, but then delivery returns to normal and was 88-91 MPH at St. Pete and 92 in Arizona although like most youngsters his secondary pitches need some work.
141st on PG’s top 500 HS list (up from 149th) and sixth on PG HS Canadian list. Has earned Second Team PG All-American Pre-season honours.
3B Johnny Caputo (Toronto, Ont.), Stony Brook University
Hitting .244 with nine doubles, a homer, 15 RBIs and a .632 OPS. Was drafted by the A’s in 2012 (12th)
Top PG college player in New York
C-RHP Darren Shred (Brampton, Ont.), Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian Junior National Team
Doubled vs. Texas Sun Devils in Jupiter and knocked in game-winning RBI in 4-3 win over Houston Banditos White, three RBIs in all in Jupiter.
Seventh on PG HS list.
OF Brett Siddall, (Windsor, Ont.), Canisius College
Hitting .333 with a .901 OPS thanks to six doubles, two triples, three homers and 24 RBIs.
8th on PG college list in New York.
2016 draft (24 months away)
RHP Cal Quantrill, (Port Hope, Ont.), Stanford University