By Bob Elliott
It’s not really the bottom of the ninth ... two out, 0-2 count and down by four. Yet, the Canadian Draft Class of 2011, finds itself in a rough situation. With 20 rounds remaining in the 50-round Major League Baseball draft of collegians and high schoolers this is where the Class of 2011 stands: Maybe down by four or five runs with two out in the sixth and the bottom of the order due up ... time to take a strike. Or maybe decide if you want in the game, best to make a move quickly. Not go throw a bullpen, get a new time in the 60 or take batting practice. It’s best to make an adjustments on the financial demands, it you want to be drafted and have the chance to play pro. If you want to go to school fine, get your education and be drafted later. But consider these numbers ... 17 Canadians drafted in the first two days covering 30 rounds ... 20 rounds remaining. The all-time low since Canadians became eligible for the draft in 1991 was year two when only 20 players were selected in 1992, led by RHP Justin Adam (Windsor, Ont.) of the Windsor Selects who went to the Kansas City Royals in the seventh round. The next lowest total was in 1991 when only 24 players were drafted led by OF Jason Wuersch (Leamington, Ont.) of the Windsor Selects who went in the 11th round to the New York Yankees. It’s like in 2008 when the Blue Jays selected LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC) from the University of Kentucky 37th over-all and LHP Jake Eliopoulos (Newmarket, Ont.) 68th over-all. Neither signed. Neither side is without blame. A prominent Canadian major leaguer asked after the Aug. 15 deadline if the players had signed. Told no, he asked “don’t they understand you don’t make your money getting INTO the game, you make your money IN the game. That’s when I made my money.”
Something to watch ... as the draft concludes are national bragging rights. British Columbia enters the day with the lead in players selected. Only twice -- in 1997 and in 2004 did B.C. have more players drafted than Ontario. SS Kevin Nicholson (Surrey, BC) who went in the first round to the Padres, RHP Aaron Myette (Surrey, BC), sandwich pick to the Chicago White Sox; RHP Robbie Vael (Surrey, BC) who went in the second round to the Cleveland Indians; RHP Matt Borynk (Victoria, BC) went to the Los Angels Dodgers in the 13th round; 16th (483th); LHP Jordie Gerk (Kelowna, BC) was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 16th and C Trent Kitsch (Kelowna, BC) went in the 25th round to the Colorado Rockies led the charge in 1997. And seven years later B.C. boyos were led by C Mike Nickeas (Vancouver, BC), who went in the fifth round to the Texas Rangers; OF Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC), an 11th round choice of the Seattle Mariners; LHP R.J. Swindle (Vancouver, BC), a 14th round selected of the Boston Red Sox; RHP Bobby Scott (Victoria, BC), a 20th rounder to the Blue Jays; OF Adam Parliament (Pentiction, BC) a 26th rounder to the Atlanta Braves and RHP Ryan Patterson (Duncan, BC) a 29th round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers.
By teams: Cubs 3, Blue Jays 2, Giants 2, A’s 1, Braves 1, Brewers 1, Diamondbacks 1, Mets 1, Padres 1, Phillies 1, Reds 1, Royals 1, White Sox 1.
Trivia time: OK, so our first two winners were Ruben Lipszyc (Calgary, Alta.) who knew LHP Steve Wilson (Victoria, BC) was the first-ever Canadian drafted in 1985 and Marc Picard (Windsor, Ont.) who knew that OF Jason Wuersch (Leamington, Ont.) was the first high schooler ever drafted. Picard is a wise man, but he was in the Wuersch house in his past life as a Yankee scout so our judging panel is examining the issue.
Now, we asked which was the last province to have a player drafted and what was the player's name? Let us know at email@example.com
12:39 PM: Both BC and the Chicago Cubs extend their lead as LHP Sheldon McDonald (Spruce Grove, Alta.), ace of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds goes in the 33rd round. Four Canucks exceeded the Cubs pre-draft prediction of three. INF Steven Wickens (Whitby, Ont.) the former Ontario Blue Jay, now at Florida Gulf Coast University went in the 33rd round to the Minnesota Twins.
12:48 PM-1:04 PM: Bidness is picking up. Three Canucks go in a span of 11 picks ... as the Red Sox and scout Chris Pritchett take LHP Ben Dartnell (East St. Paul, Man.) who pitched for Les McTavish' Vauxhall Academy in the 34th round (1042nd over-all) ... and seven picks later the New York Yankees and scout Denis Boucher (Lachine, Que.) jump into the Windsor pool again selecting RHP Skylar Janisse (Maidstone, Ont.) of the Windsor Selects and Greg Hamilton's (Ottawa, Ont.) Canadian Junior National Team ... and four picks after that scout Wayne Norton (Port Moody, BC) finally dips his toes into the talent pool selecting OF Cory Scammell (Edmonton, Alta.) of the Edmonton Cardinals, the FX Academy where he played for coach Mark Randall and Canadian Junior National Team.
1:15 PM: My feed on the fritz ... Ryan Thompson (Fort McMurray, Franklin Pierce) to the Yankees and Leslie Williams (Scarborough, Ont.) to the Blue Jays.
1:29 PM: All better now ... Yanks take RHP Ryan Thompson (Fort McMurray, Alta.) of the Franklin Pierce Ravens where he dominated the wood-bat Northeast-10 conference with 13 BBs, 114 Ks in 95 IPs, while going 11-1, 1.23 in 13 starts.
1:32 PM: Blue Jays take RHP Leslie Williams (Scarborough, Ont.) from Northeastern University, a senior sign for the former two-way Team Ontario and Toronto Mets stud.
1;54 PM: Oops, we have our first oops ... we missed 3B Eric Wood (Oshawa, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays, who went three picks ahead of Williams in the 37th round at 1126 over-all. Wood went undrafted as a RHP in 2010, but his bat showed well for the Ontario Blue Jays at the Connie Mack World Series in Duane Ward's hometown of Farmington, N.M. A's scout Matt Higginson (Oakville, Ont.) has been on Wood for some time.
1:57 PM: After a missing a year due to injury, RP Chris Cox (St. George, Ont.) came off his red-shirt season to impress Jays scout Jamie Lehman (Brampton, Ont.) who selected Cox in the 39th round from coach Mike McRae's (Niagara Falls) excellent Canisius College program.
1:59 PM: Phillies scout Alex Agostino selects 3B Brendan Hendriks (Cochrane, Alta.) in the 40th round, another Vauxhall Academy and Canadian Junior National Team product.
2:10 PM: With 10 rounds remaining the Chicago Cubs and the Blue Jays are tied for the lead for most Canadians drafted, while BC holds a 10-9 lead over Ontario.
2:17 PM: Brewers scout Jay Lapp (London, Ont.) selects 3B Jalen Harris (Toronto, Ont.) who spend the summer playing with the Victoria Mariners. He has major-league defence right now ... And one round later Kansas City Royals scout Jason Bryans took INF Joey Hawkins (Whitby, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays.
2:21 PM: LHP Shane Davis (Belmont, Ont.) dominated everywhere when he pitched for Canisius College except on draft day. Jays scout Jamie Lehman (Brampton, Ont.) saw that that came to and end selecting another of Mike McRae's (Niagara Falls, Ont.) players from Canisius.
2:39 PM: Often players are selected in the 30th or 40th round, go to school and jump up to being a top 10 round picks. LHP Jake Eliopoulos (Newmarket, Ont.) is headed the other way. He was a sandwich pick of the Jays in 2009 chosen 68th over-all in North America, did not sign; was selected in the 15th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers a year ago, didn't sign and now he's a 43rd round choice of the Jays.
2:47 PM: Brewers scout Jay Lapp (London, Ont.) gets another one in the 44th round ... maybe the fastest player in the country OF Steve Adam (Tecumseh, Ont.) of the Windsor Selects.
Time unknown (mind is mush): Scout Claude Pelletier (Ste-Lezare, Que.) , the Mets scout, jumped on hard-throwing RHP Andrew Marra (La Salle, Ont.) to select him in the 45th round. Marra, who pitches for the Windsor Selects and the Canadian Junior National Team, has signed a letter of Intent to the University of Toledo.
We remember RHP Robert Nixon (Welland, Ont.) pitching elite ball for the Niagara Rebels and Scott Bullett's Bullet Proof Prospects, under pitching coach Mike Simpson years ago. Now, as a college senior with Adelphi University, Nixon went in the 46th round to the Cleveland Indians He earned Second-Team All-American by Rawlings honours this season.
And in the 50th, the Blue Jays selected RHP Eric Brown (Thunder Bay, Ont.), a Northwest Slam grad, from the University of British Columbia.
Looks like 35 players is the final count ... which is three more than a yer ago and the second most since 2006.
How 'bout a job well done for the Alberta boyos! Seven players selected after zero in 2010.
Drafted by: Blue Jays 7, Cubs 4, Brewers 3, A’s 2, Giants 2, Mets 2, Phillies 2, Royals 2, Yankees 2, Braves 1, Diamondbacks 1, Indians, Mariners 1, Padres 1, Reds 1, Red Sox 1, Twins 1, White Sox 1. By Province: Ontario (including one going back a generation) 17, British Columbia 8, Alberta 7, Quebec 2, Manitoba 1.
All-time totals: Ontario 315 (with C Justin Marra No. 300); British Columbia 213; Quebec 92; Alberta 75; Saskatchewan 24; Manitoba 18, Nova Scotia 13, New Brunswick 12, Newfoundland three and Prince Edward Island two.
And trivia answer: The 10th and final province to have a player selected in the draft was Prince Edward Island and the first player selected from there was C Cass Rhynes (Cornwall, PEI).