Phils sign Ben Pelletier, cracks top $ix-figure bonu$ list

By Bob Elliott

Canadian Baseball Network

As the June draft near many baseball figured LHP Jeff Degano (Surrey, BC) and OF Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.) were in line for a six-figure singing bonus.

Who knew OF Ben Pelletier would too?

Especially when Pelletier was selected in the 34th round (1014th overall).

Philadelphia Phillies Montreal-based scout Alex Agostino knew.

He might have known after Pelletier (Varennes, Que.) earned MVP honors with Score International in Oldsmar, Fla. last summer, as he hit .529 (46 hits) with 12 doubles, four triples, a home run and 34 RBIs.

He may have known when the 6-foot-2, 200 pounder earned a scholarship from the University of South Florida Bulls.

Maybe it was when he hit a home run at the Area Code Games in Long Beach Calif. the only player to deep at cavernous Blair Field (during the morning with a heavy marine layer hanging overhead) during batting practice (or after three games played). 

Or when he hit five out at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the class-A Staten Island Yankees.    

Or possibly with Baseball U Tucci Lumber he hit .455 (5-for-11) with a double and an RBI at the 2014 WWBA World championship in October at the Roger Dean Sports Complex in Jupiter, Fla. 

The Phillies gave Pelletier roughly ninth-round money (a $135,000 US signing bonus) and signed him to a 2016 contract. 

He’s headed to Clearwater, Fla. for two months to train with the Phillies, work on taking batting practice, then return to Montreal for a year of school and then report to training camp next March.

“He had a good body, an average arm, has shown average speed, he has good power as a left fielder,” said Agostino. “Ben came to our work out and (general manager) Ruben Amaro asked ‘who is this guy?’ 

“Ben is a guy you can take late and dream about. His parents (Nathalie Pelletier and Sylvain Labatt) are happy ... and proud as they should be.”

Agostino has success with RHP Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (Montreal, Que.) a 17th round choice in 2011. Splitting the season between class-A Clearwater and class-A Lakewoof, Dygestile-Therrien is 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA and three saves in 25 games. He’s walked seven and struck out 34 in 41 2/3 innings.

Dygestile-Therrien’s fastball clocked at 88-91 mph his draft year has improved and now he’s developed into a better prospect, with the patience the Phillies have shown. 

The Montreal-based scout also selected RHP Colin Kleven (Langley, BC) in the 33rd round in 2009. This season Kleven is a combined 6-4 with a 3.63 ERA at double-A Reading (three starts) and Clearwater (13). He had walked 28 and struck out 67 in 89 1/3 innings.

Agostino signed 31st round pick LHP Nick Fanti of Hauppauge N.Y. this year, who had signed a Letter of Intent to attend Marist University.

The Suffolk County Coaches Association named him the 48th recipient of the Carl Yastrzemski award, given to Suffolk’s best player on Long Island. Fanti pitched back-to-back no hitters finishing the season 7-1 with a 0.67 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 52 innings. He allowed 14 hits (only two for extra bases) and walked 19 and had six pickoffs. Phillies scout Sal Agostinelli saw and liked Fanti as well.   

Fanti’s idol is Steven Matz of nearby East Setauket, NY, who made his debut with the New York Mets this season.

When Agostino drove Fanti to Philadelphia for his physical, interim president Pat Gillick stopped by for a 15-minute visit to speak to the lefty, his mom, Laura, his father, also named Nick and Agostino. 

“I’m sitting there listening to Gillick -- me a little kid who grew up in St. Bruno -- this was a dream,” Agostino said. “Nick has four older daughters and he’s living a dream.”

Not a bad draft for Agostino, who didn’t get any of the big Canuck names.

Agostino drafted RHP Shawn Hill (Georgetown, Ont.) in the sixth round in 2000 and C Pete Laforest (Hull, Que.) in the 16th round in 1995.

Both played in the majors -- Hill for the Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres and now is Canada’s best at the Pan Am Games, Laforest with the Tampa Bay Rays.

And Agostino hopes Pelletier and Fanti add to that total.  


Top signing bonuses to Canadins

Year    Round    Team    Position    Name     Home Town     School/Team    Bonus
2010 1 Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon, The Woodlands, Tex., The Woodlands HS, $6.5 Million
2002 1 Orioles LHP Adam Loewen, Surrey, BC, Whalley Chiefs/Canadian Jr National Team, $3.2 Million
2015 1 Marlins 1B Josh Naylor, Mississauga, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian Jr National Team $2.25 Million 
2014 2 Mariners OF Gareth Morgan, North York, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian National Jr Team $2 Million
2015 1 Braves RHP Michael Soroka, Calgary, Alta., Calgary PBF Redbirds/Canadian National Jr. Team $1,974,700 

2007 1 Mariners RHP Phillippe Aumont, Gatineau, Que. ABC/Canadian National Jr Team $1.9 Million
2002 1 Rockies LHP Jeff Francis, North Delta, BC, University of British Columbia, $1.85 Million
2008 1 Brewers C  Brett Lawrie, Langley, BC, Langley Blaze/Canadian National Jr Team $1.7 Million
2000 1 Braves INF Scott Thorman, Cambridge, Ont. Team Ontario/Canadian National Jr Team $1.125 Million
2010 1 Rangers C Kellin Deglan, Langley, BC, Langley Blaze/Canadian National Jr Team $1 Million

1997 1 Padres SS Kevin Nicholson, Surrey, BC, Stetson College, $830,000
2015 2  Yankees 2nd LHP Jeff Degano, Surrey, B.C. Indiana State $650,000 
2013 3 Mariners OF Tyler O’Neill, Maple Ridge, BC, Langley Blaze, $650,000 
2002 2 Reds INF Joey Votto, Etobicoke, Ont., Etobicoke Rangers $600,000
2007 1 Reds RHP Kyle Lotzkar Tsawwassen, BC  Langley Blaze/Canadian National Junior Team $594,000

1997 1 Orioles OF Ntema Ndungidi, Montreal, Que., Academie Baseball Canada, $500,000
2010 16 Yankees LHP Evan Rutckyj, Windsor, Ont. Windsor Selects/Detroit Jet Box $500,000
2015 4 Reds CF Miles Gordon, Oakville, Great Lake Canadians/Canadian Jr. National Team
2007 1 Blue Jays RHP Trystan Magnuson, Vancouver, BC, University of Louisville $462,500
2014 4 Brewers OF Demi Orimoloye, Orleans, Ont., Ottawa-Nepean Canadians/Canadian Jr. National Team $450,000

2005 3 Indians OF Nick Weglarz, Stevensville, Ont., Team Ontario/Canadian National Junior Team $435,000
2006 4 Dodgers INF Kyle Orr, Victoria B.C., Victoria Mariners $435,000
1996 2 Red Sox RHP Chris Reitsma, Calgary, Alta., Calgary Rockies $425,000
2005 3 Tigers C Chris Robinson, Dorchester, Ont., University of Illinois $422,500
2015 5 Cubs LHP Ryan Kellogg, Arizona State $376,700

1997 1 White Sox RHP Aaron Myette, Surrey, BC, Central Arizona Community College $375,000
2001 3 Braves OF Adam Stern, London, Ont., University of Nebraska $348,000
2007 3 Rockies C Lars Davis, Grande Prairie, Alta., University of Illinois $337,000
2011 4 Blue Jays RHP Tom Robson, Ladner, BC, Langley Blaze, $325,000 
2009 6 Phillies RHP Steven Inch, Edmonton, Alta. Vauxhall Academy/Canadian National Junior Team $300,000

2004 7 Reds LHP Philippe-Alexandre Valiquette, St. Laurent, Que. Academie Baseball Canada/Canadian National Junior Team $300,000
2002 20 Padres C George Kottaras, Markham, Ont., Connors State College $300,000
1994 32 Mariners LHP Jordan Zimmerman, Carsland, Alta., Blinn Jr. College $300,000
1999 3 Twins C Justin Morneau, New Westminister, BC, North Delta Blue Jays $295,000
2013 5 Orioles LHP Travis Seabrooke North Monaghan, Ont. Ontario Terriers $291,800 

2013 10 Cardinals SS Malik Collymore, Mississauga, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays, $275,000 
2010 3 Blue Jays OF  Marcus Knecht, North York, Ont., Connors State College $250,000
2014 6 Astros, RHP Brock Dykxhoorn, Goderich, Ont., Central Arizona College $250,000 US
2004 16 Brewers RHP Alexandre Periard, St-Eustache, Que. Academie Baseball Canada/Canadian National Junior Team $243,000
2003 4 Braves 3B Jamie Romak, London, Ont., London Badgers $240,000

2004 11 Mariners OF Mike Saunders, Victoria, BC, Victoria Mariners/allahassee College $237,500
2010 4 Padres INF Chris Bisson Orleans, Ont. University of Kentucky $234,000
2007 4 Royals RHP Mitch Hodge Vancouver, BC, White Rock Titons/Canadian National Junior Team $225,000
1995 3 Rangers RHP Ryan Dempster, Gibsons, BC $200,000
2004 5 Rangers C Mike Nickeas, Vancouver, BC, Georgia Tech University $200,000

2007 6 Reds RHP Evan Hildebrandt, Abbotsford, BC, Abbotsford Cardinals/Canadian National Junior Team $200,000
2007 16 Mariners RHP Colin Buckborough, Niagara Falls, Ont., Bullett Proof Prospects/Canadian National Junior Team $200,000
2001 5 Brewers RHP Judd Richardson, Caledon, Ont., U of Miami Ohio $185,000
1996 3 Blue Jays RHP Yan Lachapelle, Gatineau, Que., Academie du Baseball Canada $185,000
1993 2 Brewers SS Danny Klassen, Leamington, Ont., John Carroll HS, Port St. Lucie, Fla. $180,000

2010 7 Brewers RHP Joel Pierce, Windsor, Ont. $175,000
2001 5 Mariners 2B John Cole, Kanata, Ont., University of Nebraska $170,000
2003 5 Yankees RHP Cory Stuart, White Rock, BC, University of British Columbia $170,000
2001 5 Dodgers RHP Steve Nelson, Cole Harbour, N.S., Dartmouth Mooseheads $165,000
2005 7 Marlins RHP Chris Leroux, Mississauaga, Ont., Winthrop University $152,000

1997 2 Indians RHP Robbie Vael, Surrey, B.C., Eastern Utah $150,000
2011 8 Brewers C Dustin Houle, Langley, BC, Langley Blaze//Canadian National Junior Team $150,000 
2011 11 Reds RHP Vaughn Covington, Vancouver, BC, Vancouver Cannons/Canadian National Junior Team $150,000
2010 10 Astros LHP Evan Grills  Whitby, Ont., Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian National Junior Team $150,000
2009 15 Dodgers 3B Jeff Hunt, Cambridge, Ont., Intercounty Terriers/Canadian National Junior Team $150,000

2008 16 Jays OF Mike Crouse, Port Moody, B.C. North Shore Twins/Canadian National Junior Team $150,000
2010 16 Jays OF Dalton Pompey, Mississauga, Ont., Oakville Royals/Canadian National Junior Team $150,000
2010 32 Rangers RHP Steve McKinnon  Duncan, BC, Nanaimo Pirates/Canadian National Junior Team $150,000
2009 5 Cubs SS Wes Darvill, Langley, B.C. Langley Blaze/Canadian National Junior Team $144,200
2012 7 Brewers LHP David Otterman, Vancouver, BC, UBC $141,700 

2008 11 Rays RHP Brad Furdal  Ancaster, Ont., Inter County Terriers/Canadian Junior Team $140,000
1995 24 Blue Jays LHP Mark Curtis, St. Albert, Alta., Penscaola Jr. College $135,000
2015 34 Phillies OF Ben Pelletier, Varennes, Que..Patriotes Rive Sud/Score International
2008 16 Reds OF Carter Morrison, Langley, BC, Langley Blaze/Canadian National Junior Team $132,000
2006 7 Twins 1B Jonathan Walterbury, Whitby, Ont., Ontario Blue Jays $128,500

2009 8 Brewers OF Chad Stang, Surrey, B.C. Midland College  $125,000
2003 48 Mets SS Jonathan Malo, St-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Que., Northeastern Oklahoma A&M $125,000
2001 6 Blue Jays SS Lee Delfino, Pickering Ont., East Carolina University $122,500
2006 7 Blue Jays OF Jonathan Baksh, Mississauga Ont., Florida Tech University $122,500
2007 6 Mets RHP Guillaume Leduc, Boucherville, Que., Academie Baseball Canada $120,000

2003 40 Twins RHP Adam Hawes, Victoria Harbour, Ont., Connors State Jr. College $118,000
1993 2 Expos RHP Martin Mainville, Montreal, Que., Academie Baseball Canada $115,000
2000 6 Expos RHP Shawn Hill, Georgetown, Ont., Team Ontario $115,000
2011 15 Cubs C Justin Marra, Toronto, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays $110,000 
2004 7 Brewers RHP Craig Langille, Bedford, NS, Dartmouth Juniors $107,000

2003 4 Giants RHP Brooks McNiven, Vernon, BC, University of British Columbia $105,000
2012 6 Pirates 3B Eric Wood, Pickering, Ont. Blinn College $100,000 
2015 10 Blue Jays C Owen Spiwak, Mississauga, Ont. Odessa College $100,000
2013 13 Mariners 3B Lachlan Fontaine, North Vancouver, BC North Shore Twins $100,000 
2012 15 Yankees RHP Dayton Dawe, London, Ont., Ontario Terriers $100,000 

2008 16 Brewers RHP Stosh Wawrzasek, Langley, BC, Langley Blaze/Candian National Junior Team $100,000
2011 26 Blue Jays SS Justin Atkinson, North Surrey BC, Langley Blaze/Canadian National Junior Team $100,000
2012 26 Blue Jays RHP Nathan DeSouza, Milton, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays//Canadian National Junior Team $100,000
2010 34 Reds SS Brandon Dailey, Brantford, Ont., Ontario Terriers/Canadian National Junior Team $100,000
2007 35 Pirates RHP Tom Boleska, Burlington, Ont., High Point University $100,000