*LHP Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.) was the apple of the scout's eye at the Major League Baseball Bureau Camp run by Walt Borrows in Etobicoke ... 2012 Canadians in the Minors 2012 Canadians in College 2012 Canadians draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
That Ryan Kellogg can draw a crowd.
The Whitby lefty drew cross checkers from the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s to Etobicoke’s Connorvale Park on Tuesday morning.
Kellogg is the best prospect in Canada with the annual three-day draft of high schoolers and collegians set to begin in 17 days on June 4.
A member of Rich and Rob Butler’s Ontario Prospects since 2006 when he was playing 12U, Kellogg is expected to go between the third and sixth rounds.
Besides the cross checkers, Hall of Famer Pat Gillick was scheduled to arrive for “another look at Kellogg” before a rainout elsewhere changed his travel plans.
A total of 25 scouts from the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Florida Marlins, the Mariners, Cubs, A’s and Phillies were at the camp run by Walt Burrows, Canadian director of the Major League Scouting Bureau.
Roughly 45 players were on display at the invite-only affair, throwing to bases, taking part in infield drills, facing live pitching and being timed in the 60-yard dash at Connorvale, where Joey Votto played his career and was overlooked by scouts the first year he was draft-eligible in 2001.
The next spring, only Cincinnati Reds scouts such as John Castleberry, Casey McKeon and Bill Scherrer — who selected Votto in the second round — and Yankees scout Dick (The Legend) Groch, who was in town on draft day 2002 to sign Votto, foresaw the future Reds first baseman’s power.
“Kellogg was the same as always, very consistent,” said one scout. “I’ve seen him nine times. Five times he was at 89-91 and the other, like today, he was 87-89.”
Scouts have compared Kellogg to Whitby lefty Evan Grills, who pitched for the Canadian Junior National Team, and was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 10th round in 2010.
“He competes like Grills, he has pitchability like Grills, but he had more velocity than Grills,” said one scout.
London right-hander Dayton Dawe of the Ontario Terriers was the next best high schooler on display.
Windsor outfielder Damion Smith ran a 6.84 and Whitby outfielder Julian Service of the Ontario Blue Jays, who ran a 6.93, were the fastest at the camp.
Former major league Tim Harkness, who played first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets, was at the Bureau camp watching his grandson, Bowmanville lefty Brodie Harkness, of the Ontario Blue Jays. The younger Harkness, who is eligible for the 2013 draft, has been compared to Guelph lefty Scott Diamond, who has begun this season with 14 scoreless innings for the Minnesota Twins.
His grandfather has been compared to Casey Stengel. Both were at the 50th anniversary of the opening of Dodger Stadium in April.
“We spoke to Tommy Davis, who told me to keep working hard,” said Brodie. “What impressed me most about the Stadium was how clean they have kept the ball park.”
The Dodgers flew in former players from the 1962 team, the first to play at Dodger Stadium: Larry Burright, Ken McMullen, Wally Moon, Ron Perranoski, Pete Richert, Ed Roebuck, Norm Sherry, Daryl Spencer, Stan Williams, Maury Wills, Davis and Harkness.
“A lot of guys are gone, Don Drysdale, John Roseboro, Jim Gilliam, Willie Davis. Duke Snider, Johnny Podres,” said Harkness. ”I think there’s only about 15 of us left.
“Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and a few other players came over to talk with us.”
It’s never too early for scouts to begin looking.
The best of the youngsters at the bureau camp were Ontario Nationals right-hander Dylan Brooks of Dorchester, Ont., and Mississauga infielder Malik Collymore, who ran a 6.97, of the Ontario Blue Jays.
When Dan Duquette was hired as general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, he hired former Jays scout Gary Rajsich as scouting director. Rajsich hired Oakville’s Tyler Moe to scout Canada.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have also hired Doug Mathieson, coach of the powerful Langley Blaze team, to scout Canada. Langley has produced the likes of first-rounders Kellin Deglan and Brett Lawrie, plus minor-leaguers Kyle Lotzkar, Ryan Lennerton, Tyson Gillies, Tom Robson, Wes Darvill, Dustin Houle, Colin Kleven and Justin Atkinson, plus Mathison’s son Scott, now pitching in Japan.