* Who will the top Canuck be: LHP Rob Zastryzny (Edmonton, Alta.) University of Missouri, slugger Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC), Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) or LHP Travis Seabrooke (Peterborough, Ont.). .... 2013 Canadian draft list 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors 2013 Canadians in College Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
Five years ago Brett Lawrie made his mark in the Dominican Republic.
Lawrie hit five homers for Canadian Junior National Team in a doubleheader in the Dominican off five 90 MPH fastballs. Milwaukee Brewers scout Tom McNamara was there and Lawrie moved into first-round status.
Travis Seabrooke didn’t hit any homers, but he took a leap forward last month.
More than once this week a scouting director has told us “our Latin America scout phoned in and said that the best pitcher on the island last month was the tall lefty from Canada.”
After a week busing from one major-league complex, which were closed to the public, the juniors moved into the capital of Santo Domingo.
“The fans seemed a lot more excited, it was a more intense atmosphere than our guys had seen before, pretty electric,” said Seabrooke on Wednesday of the crowd he estimated at 1,000.
The 6-foot-5 Seabrooke fanned seven in five scoreless at Estadio Quisqueya facing the best the Dominican high schoolers eligible to sign after June 1.
“It was best game of the year ... so far,” said Seabrooke. “From a velocity stand point I wasn’t throwing as hard as I have. But I could put my curve and changeup pretty much where I wanted.
“I had confidence in my offspeed pitches, no matter the count, I could double up or triple up with a curve or change if a hitter was in a fastball count.”
The Peterborough teen-ager, who pitches for Scott Van de Valk’s Ontario Terriers, allowed two hits in his dominant outing. The lefty may be on the rise, but he still won’t be the top Canuck.
That honour will go to Edmonton lefty Rob Zastryzny of University of Missouri.
Slugger Tyler O’Neill from Maple Ridge, B.C. and Port Hope right-hander Cal Quantrill are ranked in the top 100 prospects by either Baseball America or Allan Simpson’s Perfect Game scouting service.
Seven scouting directors tell us Zastryzny will be the top Canuck possibly being selected on Day I as the first 73 players are chosen. Top HS player drafted ... there is a split (almost 50-50 between O'Neill and Quantrill, although one evaluator said Seabrooke will be the top high school arm chosen from Canada."
Of course, that leaves 23 other teams to say Quantrill or O’Neill are the top man.
Previous top Canucks who made the majors were Justin Morneau, Ryan Dempster, Phillippe Aumont, Jason Dickson, Chris Reitsma, Scott Thorman, Adam Stern, Kevin Nicholson and Lawrie.
Victoria B.C. right-hander Nic Pivetta from New Mexico Jr. College, Mississauga’s Malik Collymore, the Ontario Blue Jays infielder, Washington State third baseman Adam Nelubowich of Stony Plain, Alta. Toronto infielder Daniel Pinero or the Ontario Blue Jays, Peterborough’s Mike Reeves of Florida Gulf Coast University, along with Zastryzny, O’Neill and Quantrill, could go all go in the top 10 rounds.
Last year the draft was reduced from 50 to 40 rounds as 27 Canucks were drafted. In 2011, eight Canadians were drafted between the 41st and 50th round.
While Quantrill is the son of Paul Quantrill, who pitched 14 years in the majors, Seabrooke is the son of Glenn Seabrooke selected 21st over-all by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1987 draft from Dick Todd’s Peterborough Petes.
“My father told me how scouts told him he’d go with at this pick or that pick and he slid,” Seabrooke said. “I know I won’t necessarily go where I’ve been told I’ll go. Hopefully on Friday.”
A total of 73 players (first two rounds, plus lottery picks) will be selected Thursday night and rounds 3-through-10 will take place Friday.
Seabrooke has signed a letter of intent to attend Boston College.
“When I began playing I didn’t want to grow up to pitch college ball, I wanted to pitch in the pros,” said Seabrooke. “There’s a very good chance of signing, but to get an education and play in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) is appealing too.”