UBC Birds: Taylor, Webb, plus Pop, Saucedo

 RHP Alex Webb (Surrey, BC), above, and RHP Curtis Taylor (Coquitlam, BC) are two reasons big things are expected from the UBC Thunderbirds.  

RHP Alex Webb (Surrey, BC), above, and RHP Curtis Taylor (Coquitlam, BC) are two reasons big things are expected from the UBC Thunderbirds.  

By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network

Louis Armstrong sang it.

So did the legendary Ella Fitzgerald in Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off:

“You say either and I say either,
You say neither and I say neither
Either, either Neither, neither

“You like potato and I like potahto
You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto.”

And around the new University of British Columbia Thunderbirds you may hear scouts humming the tune but to different lyrics:

“You say Curtis Taylor.
I say Alex Webb,
Taylor-Webb, Webb-Taylor
Let’s watch them both be drafted.”

Both T-Bird right-handers are expected to be selected this June: most scouts like the upside of Taylor (Coquitlam, BC), while others think that UBC’s best arm this season will be Webb (Surrey, BC).

Pitching for the Kelowna Falcons in the West Coast summer league, Taylor was ranked eighth and Webb 14th among the top 30 prospects by Perfect Game USA.

Taylor also earned NAIA Baseball Preseason All-America Team from Perfect Game. 

And on the other hand Webb earned NAIA pre-season pitcher of the year honors and was projected to be the No. 3 prospect. by Baseball America.

At the moment most might say Webb is the better pitcher, while Taylor, a year younger, has the upside. Coaches like Webb because he will win right now, while the scouts like Taylor because of what they imagine down the road. 

Scouts were there to see both, Taylor, a junior. and Webb, a senior, in Lewiston, Id. and in California.

Webb scored the win with six scoreless inning as UBC beat Northwest Nazarene Crusaders 8-3. He allowed three singles while walking one and striking out six in Lewiston. 

And Webb had a no decision in a 6-5 loss to the Westmont Warriors at Santa Barbara, Calif. as he allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings.

Taylor had a no decision in a 4-2 win against Corban as he allowed two unearned run in 4 2/3 innings as he walked three and struck out seven.

And in Cali, Taylor took the loss giving up five runs -- three earned -- on five hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings as he fanned four. 

Last spring for UBC, Taylor was 4-2 with 12 saves and a 1.02 ERA as the UBC closer. In 24 games, including two starts, he walked 13 and fanned 51 in 53 innings holding opponents to a .153 average.

Webb was 10-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 15 games making 13 starts. He walked 22 and fanned 97 in 88 innings holding opposing hitters to a .215 average.

Webb, who pitched for coach Russ Smithson and the White Rock Tritons, was named the NAIA West Group Pitcher of the Year in the 2015 and earned a place on the Capital Academic All-America College Division Team with a cumulative GPA of 3.64.

Taylor also pitched in the BC Premier League for the Coquitlam Reds, legendary coach Bill Green and Shawn Bowman.

Baseball America
By J.J. Cooper
NAIA
How They’ll Finish
Team    2015 Record

Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)    46-12
St. Thomas (Fla.)    48-18
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)    41-19
Davenport (Mich.)    51-12
Oklahoma City    46-13
Tabor (Kan.)    54-12
Keiser (Fla.)    40-14
The Masters (Calif.)    42-14
Oklahoma Wesleyan    49-14
Bryan (Tenn.)    44-18
Defending Champion: Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

Player of the Year: Lucas Erceg, 3b/rhp, Menlo (Calif.).

Pitcher of the Year: Alex Webb, rhp, British Columbia.

TOP PROSPECTS, 2016 DRAFT
3. Alex Webb, rhp, British Columbia: Webb, a 6-foot-3, 228-pound senior, had a breakthrough season in 2015 (10-3, 2.15, 97 SO/88 IP).

4. Bryan Saucedo, rhp, Davenport (Mich.): A 29th-round pick of the Brewers out of high school, Saucedo has one of the best arms in NAIA with a low-to-mid 90s fastball.

By Perfect Game

Top 100 NCAA sophomores list
One Canuck made the top 100 sophomores in former Ontario Blue Jays RHP Zack Pop (Brampton, Ont.) with the Kentucky Wildcats.

He had a 4.50 ERA in 11 games making two starts last spring. He walked eight and fanned nine in 16 innings. 

RK Player POS B-T HT WT School Hometown ST Last Drafted
1. Tanner Houck RHP R-R 6-5 210 Missouri Collinsville IL Blue Jays ‘14 (12)

40. Zachary Pop RHP R-R 6-4 205 Kentucky Brampton ON Blue Jays ‘14 (23)