* LHP Travis Seabrooke (Peterborough), above, of the Ontario Terriers, teammate RHP Cal Quantrill (Port Hope) and INF Daniel Pinero (Toronto) of the Ontario Blue Jays all impressed at the Major League Scouting Bureau at Connorvale Park in Etobicoke. We ask who was the best on the field? Who bettered his stock the most? Who had the best secondary pitch? Who showed the most power and who was the best of players in 2014-15. .... 2013 Top Canadians eligible for draft 2013 Canadians in the Minors 2013 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2012-13 Canadians at Canadian schools
By Bob Elliott
One by one the 35 invites to the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau invites filed out of Connorvale Park.
One by one the scouts and cross checkers departed.
“I’ve been coming to these for years,” said one evaluator, “this might have been the best ever. It was just the right size.
“All the plays were made, everyone belonged, the kids performed well and players opened eyes.”
We’ve been going to Bureau camps since 1990 or 1991 and we’ve never heard that line.
The most often departing line I’ve ever heard from scouts is “next year is going to be really good,” and the next May the same scouts will say “next year is going to be really good.”
One sleep by one we move closer to the three-day June 6-8 draft of high schoolers and collegians.
There were 24 draft eligible players for this June and another 11 eligible for the 2014-15, invited by Canadian scouting director Walt Burrows (Brentwood Bay, BC).
Strike-throwing machine Chris Kemlo (Oshawa) set a Bureau camp record for most consecutive strikes thrown during batting practice wearing his blue Montreal Expos visor.
A total of 23 scouts from the 16 different teams -- the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres and the longest-serving scout in Canada Murray Zuk (Souris, Man.)
Claude Pelletier, the Mets Canadian scout, won top honours as bringing the most powerful man to town: his scouting director Tommy Tanous, the former Blue Jays scout.
Much like in 1995 when Pelletier worked for the Los Angeles and Team Canada was trying to qualify for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Pelletier asked Eddie Bane to come in and look at a young right-hander. He grew up to be a Cy Young award winner named Eric Gagne.
So we asked some questions of a few of the men with special eyes:
1. Who was the best on the field?
RHP Cal Quantrill (Port Hope) of the Ontario Terriers, his teammate LHP Travis Seabrooke (Peterborough) and INF Daniel Pinero (Toronto) of the Ontario Blue Jays, each had two votes, while INF Malik Collymore (Mississauga), Ontario Blue Jays and OF Toby Handley (Whitby, Ont.) Ontario Terries received one vote each.
Quantrill was clocked at 87-94 MPH and had some base runners in his three innings of work.
“If you asked 20 scouts, who had Canadian coverage 10 would probably say he’s the best high schooler in the country and 10 would say Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC),” said a scout.
Quantrill has signed a letter of intent to attend Stanford University.
Opposing scouts worry if the Toronto Blue Jays, who hired Paul Quantrill as a consultant in January, could draft Cal pay him the amount of a suggested slot ... and then sweeten the pot by making his father Paul the highest paid consultant in baseball.
“The best and most consistent pitcher was Quantrill,” said another.
Seabrooke was at 86-to-91 MPH going nine up, nine down.
“I was impressed with what he showed, this was a big day for him and he came through with flying colors,” said a scout.
“On this day I liked him better than Quantrill,” said another, “but then my club falls in love with lefties.”
Pinero ran a 6.85 60, two days after being clocked at 6.86 at the Perfect Game Pre-Draft Showcase in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“That’s the first time we’ve seen him clocked under 7.0 and the one aspect of the game you can’t improve is speed, he’s worked hard,” said one veteran scout.
Pinero was eligible for the draft last year went undrafted and has signed a Letter of Intent to attend the University of Virginia in the fall.
“The speed was a good sign, but I don’t think he projects as a shortstop, so he would have to play third and I have not seen the power from him yet,” said another evaluator. “He’ll need that for the pros, but we had not seen the speed until this week. Maybe the power will come.”
Collymore arrived after the game, after attending the Perfect Game Pre-Draft Showcase in Cedar Rapids, making a school visit and flying into Buffalo.
The infielder was ranked the No. 1 prospect in Cedar Rapids when he ran a 6.54 60, hitting a homer in the game and leaving the yard three times in 10 swings during batting practice.
Collymore has committed to a four year school -- University of Missouri -- and a two-year school -- Blinn College.
2. Who surprised you the most, improving his stock?
Pinero had three votes, followed by RHP Sean Ratcliffe (Ajax) of the Ontario Blue Jays with two votes and C Tyler Hardie (Georgetown, Ont.) Ontario Blue Jays, RHP Dylan Brooks (Dorchester, Ont.), Ontario Nationals, Collymore and Seabrooke with one each.
“Usually I don’t like tall shortstops -- all that bending at 6-foot-6 is not good for the back,” said an NL scout of Pinero. “But the more I see him, the more I like him.”
Said another: “Pinero showed some running speed that we had never seen before.”
Ratcliffe is this year’s version of Chris Leroux (Mississauga) drafted in the ninth round by the Tampa Bay Rays as a catcher in 2002, part of the best draft class ever when nine Canucks went in the first 10 rounds: LHP Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) Whalley Chiefs (fourth over-all in North America) Orioles; LHP Jeff Francis (North Delta, BC) University of British Columbia (ninth over-all) Rockies; Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) Etobicoke Rangers second round, Reds; RHP Jesse Crain (Toronto, Ont.) University of Houston, second round, Twins; Leroux; RHP Rob Harrand (Regina, Sask.) San Diego State University, ninth, Phillies; RHP Terry Forbes (Cole Harbour, N.S.) Nova Scotia Selects, ninth, Mariners; LHP David Davidson (Thorold, Ont.) Team Ontario, 10th, Pirates and C Luke Carlin (Aylmer, Que.) Northeastern University, 10th, Tigers.
The only better year was 2007 when 10 Canucks went in the first 10 rounds: RHP Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, Que.) ABC, 11th over-all Mariners; RHP Kyle Lotzkar (Tsawwassen, BC) Langley Blaze 53rd over-all, Reds; RHP Trystan Magnuson (Vancouver, BC) Louisville, 56th over-all Blue Jays; C Lars Davis (Grande Prairie, Alta.) University of Illinois, third, Rockies; RHP Mitch Hodge (Vancouver, BC) White Rock Tritons, fourth round, Royals; RHP Evan Hildebrandt (Abbotsford, BC) Abbotsford Cardinals, sixth Reds; RHP Guillaume Leduc (Boucherville, Que.) ABC, sixth, Mets; OF Tim Smith (Toronto, Ont.) Arizona State University, seventh, Rangers; RHP Chris Kissock (Fruitvale, BC) Lewis-Clark State College, ninth, Phillies and C Joel Collins (Richmond Hill, Ont.) University of South Alabama, 10th, Blue Jays.
But enough of the past, let’s get back to the 6-foot-4 Ratcliffe who had caught in the past and has spent time on the mound.
“He’s a hard thrower and he’s going to throw real hard some day with that frame,” said an area scout.
“Off what I saw he can put away the gear,” said a veteran scout.
Hardie homered off Daniel Procopio (Toronto) of the Toronto Mets pulling a ball down the right field line.
“He’s improving and was one of the three best throwing to the bases,” said a scout. “I know Procopio pitched Monday in Cedar Rapids and was 88-91 MPH, but he’s the same guy who was 92-94 MPH in Florida with the Canadian Junior National Team against the Detroit Tigers last month at ESPN Wide World of Sports.”
“Brooks had a good day, he needs to repeat his delivery, I’d like to see him again,” said a scout.
“Collymore has really improved of late,” said an evaluator.
3. Who had the best secondary pitch?
Seabrooke’s curveball four votes, Procopio curve and Quantrill’s slider one vote each.
“After watching what I saw, I now believe in Travis Seabrooke,” said one scout.
“Of all the people at Connorvale? It’s easy. As long as Denis Boucher is in the park, Denis Boucher has the best curve ball in the park,” said a scout.
Boucher formerly pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Montreal Expos and now scouts for the New York Yankees.
4. Who showed the best power?
O’Neill, who was three time zones away, had three votes, Collymore two and Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) a 2015 draft choice, one.
“There aren’t any real power guys from Ontario in 2013,” said one.
“I like O’Neill, but not as much as my two cross checkers who saw him in Florida, so what they say carries more weight than me,” said a scout.
“The best power I saw was Naylor, he was hitting them off the tops of the trees into the parking lot during batting practice,” said another.
“There was not much power shown, but if you pinned me down I would say Collymore,” said a scout. “His game is speed.”
5. Who was the best of the down the road players (2014-15)?
Class of 2014 -- OF Gareth Morgan (North York), Ontario Blue Jays five votes, 1B Mitchell Bigras (Sarnia) Sarnia Braves.
Class of 2015 -- OF Josh Naylor (Mississauga), Ontario Blue Jays, five votes, OF Demi Orimoloye (Orleans) Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, four votes, OF Brandon Peart (Barrie), Ontario Athletics, one vote.
“I saw Morgan hit probably the second longest home run I’ve ever seen,” said a scout. “He hit it Saturday at the University of Toronto to straightaway centre. It was the longest since Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC) at the midget nationals in Red Deer in 1998.”
“Naylor no doubt,” said a scout. “I’m glad I didn’t park in right field.”
“Bigras has the face, as the older scouts used to say, he looks like a player and his swing isn’t bad either,” said another scout.
“Everyone says all Canada can produce is slow-footed sluggers, well come and check out Orimoloye, he’s one of the most athletic players I’ve ever seen in this country,” said another.
Name Hometown School/Team Round Team
3B Eric Wood, Pickering, Blinn College, 6th, Pirates
RHP Jeff Gibbs, East York, Maine, 9th, Diamondbacks
INF Maxx Tissenbaum, Toronto, Stony Brook, 11th, Padres
RHP Dayton Dawe, London, Ontaro Terriers, 15th, Yankees
RHP Javir Rakkar, Brampton, Stony Brook, 26th, Cubs
CF Damion Smith, Windsor, Windsor Selects, 27th, Diamondbacks
3B Shaun Valeriote, Guelph, Brock, 39th, Blue Jays
Name Hometown School/Team School Round Team
3B Johnny Caputo, Toronto, Toronto Mets Stony Brook 12th, Athletics
LHP Ryan Kellogg, Whitby, Ontario Prospects, Arizona State 12th, Blue Jays
RHP Brock Dykxhoorn, Goderich, Ontario Nationals, West Virgina, 20th, Reds
OF Julien Service, Whitby, Ontario Blue Jays, North Texas CC, 21st Orioles
RHP Jake Marks, Bright’s Grove, Maine, 28th, Mets
1B Bryan Saucedo, Toronto, Ontario Blue Jays, Riverside CC, 29th, Brewers
OF Jacob Robson, Windsor, Ontario Blue Jays, Mississippi State, 30th, Padres
RHP Christian Botnick, Brampton, Ontario Blue Jays, No school, 34th, Cubs
OF Derek Jones, Brampton, Ontario Blue Jays, Rose State, 39th Brewers