By Bob Elliott
The list of players scout Jay Lapp has drafted for the Milwaukee Brewers over the years outnumbers most scouts.
Alexandre Periard, Mark James, Mehdi Djebbar, Chris Dennis, Cam Robulack. Adam Arnold, Nicholas Bucci, Marcus Knecht, Nick Fogarty, James Kottaras and Chandler McLaren.
Some signed with Milwaukee. Some went back to school only to re-surface, as Knecht did Tuesday with the Blue Jays, and others were released. But thanks to Lapp, the Brewers have been the most active club when it comes to drafting Canadians and with the most in the minors.
So, who did Lapp land in this year’s draft, which wrapped up on Wednesday?
Windsor right-hander Joel Pierce in the ninth round and North Vancouver outfielder Rowan Wick in the 18th.
A bad year? Not really.
How many Canadian scouts signed a pitcher currently closing games for a major-league club. Lapp, 48, drove from London in the midst of a storm to sign John Axford of Port Dover at an indoor workout inside The Baseball Zone in Mississauga before the 2008 season. Now, Axford has completed all four save opportunities for the Brewers.
That’s why Lapp, 48, is the winner of the Jim Ridley Award in memory of the late Jays scout as we hand out our 17th annual scout-of-the-year honours.
Periard has a 2-4 record with a 4.71 ERA at double A- Huntsville Stars, Dennis of Amherstburg, has six homers and 29 RBIs at class-A Wisconsin while teammate Nick Bucci of Sarnia is 3-2 with a 1.74 ERA, earning Midwest League all-star honours.
A total of 32 Canadians went in the 2010 draft, 10 fewer than a year ago. But the total of seven in the first 10 rounds was the second best since 2002.
Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish and new Canadian head scout Jamie Lehman drafted seven homebrews to lead all teams.
SCOUTS HONOUR ROLL
PREVIOUS WINNERS OF THE JIM RIDLEY AWARD
Bill Scherrer Buffalo, N.Y. Marlins
Bill MacKenzie Ottawa Rockies
Tim Harkness Hampton, Ont. Padres
Ed Heather Cambridge Jays
Wayne Norton Port Moody, B.C. Orioles
Walt Jefferies Paris, Ont. Jays
Claude Pelletier Ste-Lezare, Que. Mets
Jim Kane Brampton Braves
Ken Lenihan Bedford, N.S. MLB
Dick Groch Marysville, Mich. Brewers
Walt Burrows Brentwood Bay, B.C. MLB
Alex Agostino Montreal Phillies
Howie Norsetter Sydney, Australia Twins
Greg Hamilton Ottawa Canada
Jim Ridley, a two-time winner.