Elliott: 2018 CBN Draft Blog; Day 1 (1-2)
Be sure to follow along as we update you as it happens here on the Canadian Baseball Network!
Here we go ...
By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Another draft of high schoolers and collegians.
Forget free agency, the next three days have more impact on an organization than anything done in January.
We kind of like the old days better when only the first round was public .... but whether it is Joey Votto ( Etobicoke, Ont.) taking a phone call in drama class ("If we draft you will you sign?) from the Cincinnati Reds, to Scott Thorman (Cambridge, Ont.) going for a morning round of golf to kill the nerves, to whatever ....
Organizations and lives are shaped the next three days, allthough as Bobby Mattick used to say "Drafting is the easy part, signing is the difficult job."
Draft details: It all begins on Monday at 7 p.m. ET with the first round through the supplemental second round being covered by MLB Network.
Rounds 3-to-10 will take place on Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m. ET, and will be available on MLB.com. for you listening pleasure.
And to finish things off on Wednesday rounds 11-to-40 will beginning at noon.
6:22 PM our Reps: While decisions are made in war rooms after talks with general managers, scouting directors and agents, each team will have draft representatives in Studio 42 at Secaucus, NJ. A year ago the Canadian contingent consisted of Claude Pelletier (St-Lazare, Que.) of the New York Mets; Murray Cook (Sackville, NB) of the Detroit Tigers; Gord Ash (Toronto, Ont.) of the Milwaukee Brewers) and Denis Boucher (Lachine, Que.) of the New York Yankees.
This year the number is down from four to one: Cook. He returns to make sure that the Tigers table runs smoothly. He’ll be joined by former Tiger manager Jim Leyland.
Work horse Duane Ward, who averaged 113 innings for six seasons for the Blue Jays from 1988-92, saved 45 games in 1993 and earned two World Series will represent the Blue Jays. Ward also leads the Blue Jays Academy on their cross-country tour of Canada. Scout Matt O’Brien, of Clermont, Fla. who has been an area supervisor with the Blue Jays since 2010.
Hall of Famer Andre Dawson is at the Chicago Cubs table. Ever since he retired Dawson worked for the Miami Marlins, until Derek Jeter’s new group fired Hall of Famer Tony Perez, Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine and Dawson.
Besides Dawson, Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda will be at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tony Gwynn Jr., the son of the Hall of Famer by the same name, will assist the Padres.
Former Blue Jays include Mookie Wilson with the New York Mets, John McDonald with the Cleveland Indians, Mickey Morandini with the Philadelphia Phillies; and Darren Oliver is with the Texas Rangers.
The other names in the crowd include Bo Jackson of the Kansas City Royals, Art Howe, of the Houston Astros, former Wyoming Cowboys two-sport man at shortstop and quarterback and former No. 1 overall pick Mike Moore of the Seattle Mariners.
6:41 PM The forecast: Ah we’ve seen better years as far as numbers. Yet two players -- Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays and Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) going the first night -- and maybe a third -- does not make 2018 a bad year.
RHP RJ Freure (Burlington, Ont.) of the Pitt University Panthers and RHP Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ont.) of the Great Lake Canadians could also be among the first 78 picks.
7:00 PM WOW: Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline predicts C Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) will go sixth over-all to the New York Mets. Slot money for 6th over-all is $5,525,200 US, although clubs and players can agree to any amount they chose.
Baseball America, Perfect Game and MLB Pipeline, Naylor going anywhere from 12th (Blue Jays), 16th (Rays), 18th (Royals), 25th (Diamondbacks), 29th (Indians), 32nd (Rays) and 37th (Orioles) in their various mock drafts.
When you are ranked 25th or 29th it would have been easy to slide out of the top 30. Naylor may have moved the other way.
Earlier ... at 5:34 PM: ESPN's Keith Law reported: "I've also heard the Mets may try to cut an under-slot deal with Canadian infielder Noah Naylor at 6th.
7:15 PM Tigers take Mize No. 1: Detroit selected Auburn junior right-hander Casey Mize first over-all. Mize had his summer coaches, his parents and his whole Auburn team on hand, including freshman Edouard Julien (Quebec City, Que.) who has 17 homers.
Some scouts are so excited about Julien that they wanted to drafted him this year .... they will have to wait until 2020, his junior year. Julien earned all-tourney honours at the Raleigh regional.
7:47 PM No Noah: The New York Mets selected OF Jarred Kelenic, a high schooler from Waukesha Wis.
7:53 PM Stormy Weathers in San Diego: LHP Ryan Weathers went to the San Diego Padres. His father David Weathers was a third round pick from Motlow Community College in 1988. Weathers pitched at class-A St. Catharines after having his going away party at Davy Crockett Park. He then pitched at class-A Myrtle Beach, class-A Dunedin, double-A Knoxville and triple-A Syracuse in the Blue Jays system. He pitched in 15 games for the 1991 Jays, two for the 1992 Jays and 14 for the Jays, earning back-to-back World Series games.
8:00 PM: Braves add pitching: Alex Anthopoulos was spotted twice during spring training evaluating RHP Carter Stewart, a high schooler from Melbourne, Fla. not far from Chipper Jones’ home of De Land, Fla. His wing men have seen an arm or two: manager Bobby Cox on one trip and Hall of Famer Tom Glavine on another.
8:19 PM Canuck forecast: Nine Canadians in top Perfect Game’s top 500: 33. Noah Naylor, Ontario Blue Jays 64. Tristan Pompey, Kentucky, 205. RJ Freure, Pitt, 322. Kole Cottam, Kentucky 333. Nick Trogrlic-Iverson, Central Arizona, 370. Eric Cerantola, Great Lake Canadians, 407. Michael Brettell, Central Michigan, 440. Denzel Clarke, Toronto Mets, 465. Ben Abram, Ontario Terriers.
Eight Canadians in top Baseball America’s top 500: 20. Noah Naylor, Ontario Blue Jays 51. Tristan Pompey, Kentucky, 241. RJ Freure, Pitt, 321. Eric Cerantola, Great Lake Canadians, 356. Michael Brettell, Central Michigan 361. Kole Cottam, Kentucky, 383. Denzel Clarke, Toronto Mets, 441. Ben Abram, Ontario Terriers.
MLB.Pipeline’s top 200: 28. Noah Naylor, 52. Tristan Pompey, 189 Eric Cerantola. In all, only seven Canadian high schoolers are listed. A decrease in talent or residue from MLB abandoning the Scouting Bureau.
8:23 PM: Another SS for the Jays, no-no Noah: The Blue Jays selected SS Jordan Groshans, a Texas HSer with the 12th pick He was ranked 49th by Perfect Game, 38th by Baseball America.
Baseball America Scouting Report:
Groshans might never wind up at Kansas with his older brother, Jaxx, thanks to his performance throughout last summer and this spring at Magnolia High in Texas. A 6-foot-4, 190-pound shortstop, Groshans has quick bat speed and plus raw power and he showed the ability to square up elite pitching on the summer showcase circuit in 2017. He hit 90-plus mph velocity hard all over the field in multiple events, including a home run against a 95-mph fastball from New York righthander Lineras Torres Jr. in the Perfect Game All-American Classic. Over the summer, Groshans used a big leg kick to start his load and when he was on time it didn't hinder him, instead helping him generate more power. But there were instances where Groshans would get out on his front side and fly open early, leaving some scouts to question whether the big leg kick would create more timing issues as he advanced against better pitching. This spring, Groshans has quieted the leg kick and improved his balance and hand path to the ball, attempting to lift the ball less frequently and has been hitting lasers the entire season. He's also added around 10 pounds of muscle while maintaining his lean body. Groshans has an above-average arm and he's shown good defensive actions at a number of infield positions, though most scouts believe he will eventually move to third base with a chance to be an above-average defender as he continues to fill out his frame.
Perfect Game Scouting Service:
Jordan Groshans is a 2018 SS/3B/RHP with a 6-4 190 lb. frame from Magnolia, TX who attends Magnolia HS. Long and loose athletic build, plenty of room to get stronger. 6.65 runner, has good footwork in the middle infield, long arm slot with a good carry on his throws, can improve his release quickness, charges the ball well. Right handed hitter, has a simple path to contact, hits the ball out front with excellent raw bat speed, loose and quick hands, hits the ball hard to the pull side, showed his game power with a long home run on a 92 mph fastball, really stood out in all aspects at the plate. Also pitched, fastball up to 88 mph from a tall delivery with a high arm circle, limited lower half use, have seen up to 91 mph in the past. Lots of similarities to 2016 PG All-American Ryan Vilade. Good student, verbal commitment to Kansas. Selected for the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic.
8:41: If the Hat fits wear it: The Mariners selected RHP Logan Gilbert 14th overall from the Stetson Hatters. As our Kevin Glew points out Gilbert is a teammate of Canadian JNT alum LHP Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.). Onyshko, who has a 2.70 ERA for Stetson this year, was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round in 2014 and is eligible again for this year's draft.
Noah selected by the Indians: C-3B Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays went to Cleveland, 29th over-all. One Hall of Fame scribe suggested Naylor might be Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) in reverse. Martin started out as a infielder his first year in the minor, was converted by Logan White and now under John Gibbons is seeing time at third base. Naylor can play third and catch ... and oh yes he can hit. Slot money for 29th is $2,332,700 US. Mike Kanen was credited with drafting Naylor.
33. Noah Naylor, c/3b, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School
L-R, 6-0/195, Mississauga, Ont.
College Commitment: Texas A&M
Naylor's lefthanded bat and high-level athleticism have many scouts speculating that he might be better off starting his career at a less physically challenging position such as third base, although few have any issues with his defensive future behind the plate. The top-ranked Canadian prospect's draft stock can't be hurt by the fact that his former first round draft pick brother, Josh, is currently tearing up the Double-A level as a 21-year old.
With 29th Pick, Indians Pick Up Versatile Catcher Noah Naylor
Noah Naylor, C/3B, St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS, Mississauga, Ont. (BA Rank: 20)
Ht: 6-0 / Wt: 195
Bats: L / Throws: R
Commit/Drafted: Texas A&M
Canada Rank: 1
Scouting Report: The younger brother of current Padres prospect Josh Naylor, Noah is an impressive draft prospect in his own right, albeit a different sort of hitter than his brother. Whereas Josh showed immense power as an amateur, the younger Naylor is more hit over power, handling the offensive game from foul pole to foul pole but with the same long track record of success that Josh was afforded as a member of the Canadian Junior National Team. There are some scouts who would say Naylor has the best hit tool among all prep hitters in the 2018 class, led by a pure swing and the ability to adjust pitch-to-pitch, while also manipulating the barrel in each part of the strike zone. While he doesn’t have the elite power his older brother possesses, he does have present pop—it just doesn’t always show up in games. Many scouts think the power will continue to develop and improve, however. How high a team has Naylor on their board will depend on where they see him defensively. He’s a good enough athlete to catch and has a strong arm, but he can get lazy at times behind the dish and needs a lot of refinement. Some teams think he can turn into a solid third baseman, where he’s played frequently with Canada and over the showcase circuit while making all the routine plays. If neither of those work out, Naylor’s bat should still be good enough to play in a corner outfield position.
Only 11 Canucks have been selected higher
2010 1st (2nd) Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon The Woodlands, Tx., The Woodlands HS
2002 1st (4th) Orioles LHP Adam Loewen Surrey, BC Whalley Chiefs/Canadian National Junior Team/Chipola College
2016 1st (8th) Padres RHP Cal Quantrill Port Hope, Ont. Stanford University
2002 1st (9th) Rockies LHP Jeff Francis North Delta, BC University of British Columbia
2007 1st (11th) Mariners RHP Phillippe Aumont Gatineau, Que. Academie Baseball Canada/Canadian National Junior Team
2015 1st (12th) Marlins 1st 1B Josh Naylor, Mississauga, Ont., Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian Jr National Team
2008 1st (16th) Brewers C-INF Brett Lawrie Langley, B.C. Langley Blaze/Candian National Junior Team
1988 1st (19th) Expos RHP Dave Wainhouse Scarborough, Ont. Washington State University
2010 1st (22nd) Rangers C Kellin Deglan Langley Blaze/Canadian National Junior Team
1997 1st (27th) Padres SS Kevin Nicholson Surrey, BC Stetson College
2015 1st (28th) Braves RHP Mike Soroka, Calgary, Alta. PBF Redbirds/Canadian Junior National Team
2018 1st (29th) Indians C-3B Noah Naylor, Mississauga, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays/Canadian Junior National Team
10:25 PM Bo knows picks: Former Kansas City Royals OF Bo Jackson gave the best interview of the night ("Bo is there any advice that you could give to these your players here tonight at the draft?" Bo: "Well, I have been talking to them all day ... giving them pointers and they probably don't realize that I will be billing them $25,000 ... and that is the Friends and Family plan.") and then he dominated the mike. Well, not really but of the Royals five picks two came back-to-back as Jackson read off Jackson Kowar form Florida with the 33rd pick and LHP Daniel Lynch of Virginia at 34th. The Royals also selected RHP Brady Singer, of Florida. Singer was the Blue Jays first pick three years ago but they refused to sign him after a shadow showed on his X-rays.
11:09 PM Jays draft Mr Marlin's son: With their second choice the Blue Jays chose Duke RF Griffin Conine, son of former Florida Marlin Jeff Conine, 52nd over all. He was ranked 55th by Perfect Game and 50th by Baseball America.
Perfect Game Scouting Report:
55. Griffin Conine, of, Duke (JR)
L-R, 6-1/200, Weston, Fla.
Previously Drafted: Never Drafted
Conine is the son of former Major Leaguer Jeff Conine and Griffin certainly has the tools to be a successful professional player. With plus bat speed, raw power and arm strength he possesses an intriguing set of overall tools that translate and profile well in right field at the next level. He's suffered a bit of a down year statistically, but the tools still stand out and are wildly impressive as he's finishing the season strong down the stretch.
Griffin Conine, OF, Duke
4YR • 6-1 • 200 • L-R •
The son of two-time All-Star and 17-year major league veteran Jeff Conine, Griffin entered the spring as one of the best college power hitters in the 2018 class. He hit 13 home runs during his sophomore season with Duke and had a loud summer in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .329/.406/.537 with nine home runs in 42 games. His junior campaign has been disappointing, however, as Conine hit just .211/.344/.436 through his first 38 games with significant strikeout concerns. In that same span of games, Conine has struck out 45 times (27.6 percent) and has struggled to make contact with offspeed offerings of varying quality, frequently expanding his zone and swinging over the top of pitches below the strike zone. When he does hit the ball, he usually hits it hard. The plus raw power that he possesses hasn’t disappeared, as evidenced by a laser beam home run that he hit in March against Virginia—which left the bat at 111 mph with an 18-degree launch angle. Conine’s impressive summer on the Cape and bloodlines will keep him in consideration as a day one selection, but his swing-and-miss concerns have only grown as he’s striking out at the worst rate in his career. As an outfielder limited to a corner, much of his value will come from his bat. Some scouts even wonder if Conine might eventually have to move to first base, although he does possess an above-average to plus arm.
11:42 PM: Reviews on the Blue Jays first pick Jordan Groshans: Scout one: "A nice, solid pick, nothing risky about it at all." Scout two: "He has some power, but I think his future is at third base."