Will June see 2 1st rounders like 2010?

 * Could 1B Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.), left, of the Ontario Blue Jays and OF Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.) of the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians give Canada two first rounders for the first time since 2010. ....  

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Adam Morissette: Juniors score 8 in 8th to beat Puerto Rico


By Bob Elliott

St. PETERSBURG, Fla. _ A casual reader or listener from all my appearances on The Fan 590 should know one thing:

In my opinion Rogers Communications bungled, fumbled, mangled and butchered their presidential search from Nov. 5 to Jan. 31 when they already had one.

But I’m going to tell you this:

Do yourself a favor.

Tune into Rogers Sportsnet radio Sunday afternoon to listen to the Blue Jays game from Dunedin. Thanks to the Jays and Rogers being good corporate citizens the opposition is the Canadian National Junior Team.

You’ll hear all about C Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.), Jeff Francis (North Delta, BC) and LHP Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.

Paying attention in March of 2015 is a must for this could be Canada’s best draft since 2010, when RHP Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Tex.) and C Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) went in the first 22 picks in North America.

The Canucks have two possible first rounders in their lineup in 1B Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays and OF Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.) of the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians.

That’s what some of the 28 scouts from 23 teams were predicting as the Canadian Juniors opened with an 11-10 win over a high school team Puerto Rico -- thanks to eight runs in the eighth -- at the Walter Fuller Complex.

Who will be the top Canadian selected?

Naylor or Orimoloye?

Orimoloye or Naylor?

One veteran scout said: “The centre fielder has all the tools, he might be the best athletic outfielder from Canada since Larry Walker.”

Said another: “The centre fielder runs better than the first baseman, the first baseman has more power, the arms are the same, Demi plays a skill position. I like the outfielder. You could see both go in the first round.”

Added one: “Naylor has a ‘now” tool. Power. You have to dream on the other guy. Naylor put on a better show in batting practice than Gareth Morgan ever did.”

(Morgan (Toronto, Ont.) was selected in the second round by the Seattle Mariners from the Ontario Blue Jays) and given a $2 million US bonus.)

And finally: “There’s no comparison ... they’re not even in the same league. Naylor is way up here. Everyone knows the draft is a crap shoot. If Naylor fails I still see him hitting 25 homers up to double-A.”

We asked 11 scouts who would go first?

The final count was 5-5 with one “I’ll he happy to take either.”

So, you be the judge.

Although it might be tough judging the first few innings facing knuckleballer R. A. Dickey. Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) starts for Canada.

Orimoloye is ranked 16th by the Perfect Game Scouting Service among the top 500 high schoolers in North America, while Naylor is 33rd.

Naylor made the Baseball America All-American high school first team. Orimoloye earned second team honors. Orimoloye is ranked 39th on BA’s top 50 list of high school and college players.

Naylor had the better day Friday with a homer over the 365 sign in right centre and a single. He made a diving stop at first, but also forced a throw to third which led to an unearned run.

Orimoloye showed his 6.5 speed to beat out an infield hit.

“How lucky are these Canadian kids?” asked Chris Buckley, former Blue Jays scouting director, who holds the same position with the Cincinnati Reds, watching Canada take infield and gazing at the coaching staff.

“Have a base-running question, ask Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar, have a pitching question ask Chris Reitsma (Calgary, Alta.), who pitched seven years in the majors.”

Coach Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, Ont.) has assembled a first-rate staff and a roster which looks like it’s headed for a shoot-around. No less than 11 players are 6-foot-4 or taller. There is 6-foot-8 Matt Ianni (Ottawa, Ont.), 6-foot-6 Jackson Wark (St. Albert, Alta.), 6-foot-5 Austin Shields (Dundas, Ont.), plus Michael Brettell (Fonthill, Ont.), Cooper Lamb (Burlington, Ont.), Tristan Pompey (Milton, Ont.), Darren Shred (Brampton, Ont.), Kristan Storrie (Langley, BC), Nicholas Virdo (Brampton, Ont.), Niall Windeler (Toronto, Ont.), Soroka and Orimoloye all 6-foot-4.

The San Diego Padres, Tampa Ray Rays, Washington Nationals and the Reds each had two scouts on hand. Only the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Anaheim Angels, Atlanta Braves and the Jays were absent.

Scouts figure Jean-Francois Garon (Terbonne, Que.), Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.), Soroka, Pompey, Orimoloye and Naylor will go in the first 10 rounds ... depending upon signability.

Kobe Hyland (Spruce Grove, Alta.) knocked in the winning run in cap Canada comeback. Matt Jones (Whitby, Ont.) picked up the win and R. J. Freure (Burlington, Ont.) the save.

This training camp goes towards shaping Team Canada’s roster for the World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan Aug. 28-Sept. 6.

Before that comes the draft, June 8-to-10.

And before that comes Sunday afternoon.

Make sure you pay attention.