By Bob Elliott
He showed up at his first Ontario Prospects camp wearing a catcher’s mitt.
No problem there.
Except ... for the fact Ryan Kellogg was a lefty.
Coaches Rob and Rich Butler asked Kellogg to try the mound, which was a wise move.
Especially since the lobby headed by Chicago White Sox infielder and Blue Jays coach Mike Squires to allow lefties playing time in the infield and behind the plate was not picking up any steam.
Kellogg never stopped pitching for the Prospects and the Canadian Junior National Team to earn a scholarship to pitch for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The next pitch for the Whitby lefty will likely be wearing a uniform of a Chicago Cubs affiliate after the Cubs chose Kellogg in the fifth round on Tuesday.
“He’s shown durability in his innings logged in his three years at Arizona State,” said Tim Wilken, former Blue Jays scouting director from Chicago. “He’s been basically the same guy as his high school years, maybe he has improved a tick.
“He’s always pitched well and he’s always won. He has that feel for pitching.”
The Jays pitched an eight-round shutout before choosing Etobicoke’s Connor Panas from Canisius in the ninth and Mississauga’s Owen Spiwak in the 10th.
Wilken wasn’t the only Cubs official to check in on Kellogg, whom the Jays drafted in the 12th round in 2012. He saw him pitch seven innings allowing three runs on nine hits in a no decision against Oregon State.
Jason McLeod, senior vice-president of amateur scouting, Matt Dorey, director of scouting, assistant scouting director Lucas McKnight, cross checker Ron Tostenson, of Kelowna, B.C., area scout Steve McFarland and scouting assistant Shane Farrell, son of Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, all saw Kellogg pitch.
The Cubs train in Phoenix, so in a way it would be like a team which had its spring training in Florida flocking to University of South Florida games in the spring to see a highly-ranked draft-eligible player.
“The reason why we like him is because he’s been extremely consistent, he’s been able to pitch and been able to win,” said Wilken.
Kellogg’s velocity does not light up the radar guns at 96 MPH.
Nope, all you see are zeros light up the scoreboard. One scout described his velocity as “fringy to average,” adding “yeah, all he does is win.”
“Everyone in our organization is solidly excited to get him,” said Wilken. “You can tell how much we liked him by how many people went to see him.”
Slot money for the 143rd pick in North America is $376,700. One scout compared Kellogg’s build (6-foot-5, 225 lbs) -- but not velocity -- to lefty Geoff Zahn, who pitched for the California Angels, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cubs before coaching at the University of Michigan.
How good was Kellogg?
Well he went 28-6 in three seasons at Arizona State, including 11 wins over ranked opponents (four in 2015, three in 2013 and four in 2014).
Only two Canadian college pitchers won more games and they pitched four springs. Devon Stewart of Maple Ride, B.C. who went to the Cleveland Indians is also on the list.
Top NCAA Division I Canadian pitcher by wins
Steve Carter, Windsor, 42-12, 3.74, Coastal Carolina, 2001-04
Shane Davis, Belmont, Ont., 35-12, 4.18, Canisius, 2008-11
Ryan Kellogg, Whitby 28-6 3.50 Arizona State 2013-15
Rob Nixon, Welland, Ont. 28-9, 2.61 Adelphi, 2008-11
Kai Tuomi, Sault, Ste. Marie, Ont., 24-10, 3.89 Evansville, 2004-07
Jordan Thomson, Toronto, 24-16, 4.18 Northeastern, 2001-04
Josh Sawatzky, Altoona, Man. 24-17, 3.99 Niagara/Canisius, 2004-08
Ali Simpson, Campbell River, BC, 23-17, 4.76 Bethune-Cookman 2009-2013
R.J. Swindle, Vancouver, 21-13, 3.13, Charleston Southern 2002-04
Kris Dabrowiecki, Toronto, 21-13, 4.22 Northeastern, 2005-08
Devon Stewart, Maple Ridge, B.C. 21-21, 4.31 Canisius, 2012-15
Andrew Albers, North Battleford, Sask. 20-18, 4.48, Kentucky 2005-08
Jason Mandryk, Langdon, Ont., 18-6, 3.41 East Carolina, 1999-2002
Scott Robinson, Ajax, Ont., 18-6, 4.68, Maine, 2002-06
Chris Howay, New Westminster, B.C. 17-7, 4.13 McNeese State, 2000-01
John Axford, Port Dover, Ont. 17-14 4.67 Notre Dame, Canisius, 2002-06