Elliott: 2019 CBN Draft Blog; Day 2
By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
We heard Tuesday morning Dasan Brown would go in the first 15 picks on Day II.
Of course, we also heard he had a couple of chances to be drafted in the 40s on Monday night.
Whatever, outfielder Brown (Oakville, Ont.) became the top Canadian selected for 2019 and should be in line for the highest bonus ever paid to a Canadian. Slot money for the Ontario Blue Jay is $678,000 US. Brown was chosen in the third round, 88th over-all, by scout Kory Lafreniere (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.)
The highest bonus Canada’s team had ever given a Canadian was RHP Trystan Magnuson (Vancouver, BC) of the University of Louisville selected 56th over-all, who was given a $462,500 bonus in 2007.
Brown was the fourth time since 1985 that the Blue Jays ever selected the top Canuck. He has committed to play this fall for the Texas A&M Aggies.
The other Canucks who were the first Canadians taken in their respective drafts by the Jays were RHP Tom Robson (Ladner, BC) Langley Blaze, selected in the fourth rounmd in 2011, LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC) University of Kentucky Wildcats a first rounder chosen in 2009 and SS Lee Delfino (Pickering, Ont.) of Team Ontario chosen in the fifth round in 1998.
Robson signed, however, the Jays didn’t reach agreement with either Paxton or Delfino. Paxton returned to Kentucky was declared ineligible and wound up pitching in independent ball. Delfino was a star at Eastern Carolina.
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No. 1 with a bullet: The first time Ontario Blue Jays coach Sean Travers saw Dasan Brown he was pitching for the Oakville A’s minor bantam team at Bloordale in Etobicoke.
“He was kind of tiny,” Travers said, “but he always had a big smile on his face and lots of energy. He played with a different passion than anyone else on the field that day.”
The next year Travers met with the Brown family.
“His mother (Patricia Bell) asked what we had in mind?” Travers said. “I told her I loved the talent, but we had a lot to work to do. The mom asked how are you going to develop my son?
Travers said how all players are different and that they’d put in a lot of work.
Brown has been rated as having a 70 speed (on a scale of 80), but when he arrived with the Ontario Blue Jays his swing had a lot of lift. So coach and player argued the age-old debate going on at 1,000 diamonds tonight
“Don’t try to hit home runs,” the coach will say.
“I’m not trying to hit homers,” the teenager would say from Arizona to Kirkland Lake.
Travers recalled Brown hitting a 450 foot homer at Lake Point, Ga. and beat out an infield singled to short the next time up. When Texas A&M recruiters showed to see Brown they loved Brown’s energy. Brown had a routine tourney except for beating out a ground ball to short. The Aggies were in.
“We asked him to embrace his tool set but he has power,” Travers said. “
As soon as he tried to stop hitting home runs -- he hit home runs. The Toronto Blue Jays will be surprised at his power.
“Some may think it is a ridiculous statement but I’m not a scout, I say ridiculous things ‘He’s Mookie Betts.’ He can beat you with a home run or beat you with his speed.”
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Baseball America’s rating No. 1 in province: Dasan Brown, OF, Abbey Park HS, Oakville, Ont. (BA RANK: 96)
Source: HS • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 170 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Texas A&M
One of the fastest players in the 2019 class, Brown is an 80-grade runner who routinely posts sub 4.1-second home-to-first times from the righthanded batter’s box. With centerfield athleticism and instincts, Brown has tremendous upside as a defender in the middle of the outfield, tracking balls well with dynamic athleticism that will allow him to make plays other outfielders wouldn’t dream of getting to. Brown has average raw arm strength, but he needs to improve his throwing accuracy. Offensively, Brown is incredibly raw, and scouts believe he would be a two-year Rookie-ball player who you would need to teach how to hit. He has some bat-to-ball skills that he showed off with the Canadian national team against pro competition this spring, but he’s mostly a fastball hitter who has a line-drive approach and rarely elevates the ball. When he does, it’s with little impact ability as Brown has well below-average raw power in his 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame. A Texas A&M commit, Brown could be a player who teams prefer to see go to school, develop physically and prove he can hit. But if he does figure out the offensive game and takes the next steps, he has exciting upside and is one of the more impressive athletes in the class.
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The swing fits the stadium: A friend of mine told me how the New York Yankees took a risk in the 2011 draft selecting a Colorado high school hitter named Greg Bird.
It worked out.
New York Yankees scout Dick (The Legend) Groch missed out on the left-handed hitting Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.). Groch was in town, however, the Cincinnati Reds grabbed him in the second round.
The Yankees did not miss out on left-handed swinging Jacob Sanford (Cole Harbour, NS). Three years ago Sanford had one scholarship offer -- volleyball at Dalhousie. He walked on with the McCook Community College Indians in Nebraska, won a spot and then a scholarship with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The Yanks took him in the third round, (105th over-all), which carries a slot bonus of $554.300).
And then he exploded.
Sanford won the Conference-USA Player of the Year award winning the triple crown -- the first in the conference’s 24-year history. He hit .398 in making 56 starts in 56 games with 20 doubles, two triples, 22 homers and 66 RBIs with a 1.288 OPS.
Sanford was named a Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist, was listed on the Golden Spikes Midseason Watch List and earned a spot on the Perfect Game/Rawlings Midseason All-American First Team.
Not that Nova Scotia is sparse area for pro players, but Sanford is trying to be the first major leaguer since LHP Vince Horsman (Dartmouth, NS) pitched his last game for the Minnesota Twins on May 13, 1995.
Ranked No. 8 in Kentucky by Baseball America Jake Sanford, OF, Western Kentucky (BA RANK: 324)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 215 • B-T: --- • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Sanford is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound outfielder who put up gaudy numbers this spring in Conference USA. Through 56 games, Sanford posted a .398/.483/.805 line with 22 home runs and 20 doubles. Sanford has plenty of strength and plus-plus raw power, though there are scouts who question how much of that power he can get to against better pitching. Prior to his junior season with Western Kentucky, Sanford had two impressive offensive seasons with McCook (Neb.) JC and he doesn’t have much wood bat track record to speak of. Sanford is fringey defensively, as a below-average runner with a below-average arm that will limit him to left field or first base, putting plenty of emphasis on his bat.
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Wisdom is behind the mask: Why do catchers wind up managers more than guys who play other positions?
Well, they can see the game and as Ernie Whitt used to joke “We’re way smarter than pitchers ... plus infielders and outfielders.”
That was the case three years ago. C Joe Tevlin (Toronto, Ont.) phoned home and told his father, Mike Tevlin, about his roommate and “how he has a chance.” How he shows determination.
Tevlin the catcher was talking about RHP Matt Brash (Kingston, Ont.). Brash, who played for coach Randy Casford with the Kingston Thunder. Now, Kingston is the home of the Kingston Ponies and there used to be a nice ball park, Megaffin Stadium, when it was a member of the Border League in the 1940s.
However, Canada’s first capital was never known as a hotbed of pro players. RHP Jonnie Mazzeo (Kingston, Ont.) was drafted in the 41st round by the Montreal Expos in 1999. There isn’t any 41st round anymore and the Expos are gone too.
Yet Kingston does have a pro history with the likes of RHP Charlie Pester, class-A Burlington A’s, class-D Dubuque Packers. class-D Orlando Seratomas in 1955-56; LHP Arnie Jarrell class-B Toronto Maple Leafs and class-C Kingston Ponies, for three seasons; OF Vinnie McQuaide Kingston Ponies, 1946-47 and finally my grandfather C Edwin (Chaucer) Elliott class-B Concord Marines in 1904, Brantford Indians 1905, Class-D Oswego 1906-07 and the class-D St. Thomas Saints, 1911.
Brash had a 2.43 ERA with a 4-5 record in 14 starts, including three complete games and two shutouts. He walked 29 and struck out 121 in 85 1/3 innings, holding opponents to a .194 average.
Rated No. 2 in New York State by Baseball America Matthew Brash, RHP, Niagara (BA RANK: 288)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 170 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Brash is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound starter who has dominated the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season. After an injury limited him to just 28 innings in 2018 as a sophomore, Brash fell off the prospect radar a bit, but has bounced back in a big way by posting a 2.43 ERA in 85 innings and 14 starts this spring. He’s struck out 121 batters (12.7 per nine) and walked 29 (3.06), while pitching three complete games and being named the MAAC Pitcher of the Year. Stuff-wise, Brash has thrown a fastball in the 90-95 mph range and touched 96 while flashing a plus slider, though the pitch needs to become more consistent to fully earn that grade.
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Blue Jays fourth round pick. Baseball America’s rating No. 1. in Nebraska: Will Robertson, OF, Creighton (BA RANK: 95). Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 210 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Since Creighton moved to TD Ameritrade Park on a full-time basis in 2012, home runs have been very hard to come by for the Blue Jays. In 2015, Creighton hit nine home runs as a team. Robertson is one hitter whose power has played even at TD Ameritrade. His 12 home runs in 2018 were the most by any Creighton hitter since moving to the new stadium, topping future major league Mike Gerber’s 11 in 2014. Robertson reached double digits home runs again in 2019, showing a level, line-drive swing from the left side that provides plenty of contact and some power because of his innate strength. Robertson impressed evaluators last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .300/.380/.435. He has plus raw power to go with an average hit tool. Robertson is more solid than spectacular. He’s a left fielder who can provide average defense in the corner outfield spots with a fringe-average arm. He’s also an average runner. There are a lot of 45 and 50 grades on Robertson’s scouting report. That, combined with his power production and his impressive stint on the Cape Cod League, should help him land a spot in the third to fourth round.
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Blue Jays fifth pick, Baseball America’s rating No. 1 in Virginia 1. Tanner Morris, SS, Virginia (BA RANK: 124)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 180 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A draft-eligible sophomore, Morris has one of the more complete hitting approaches in the class dating back to his days as a high schooler, when he showed impressive barrel control and a contact-oriented look at the plate. He’s hit for high averages in both of his seasons at Virginia, but he’s filled out more physically and started to tap into more extra-base power in 2019. Morris’ swing is naturally suited toward hitting the ball the opposite way and into the left-center field gap, although he’s become a bit more pull-happy as he’s tried to hit for more power. Right now, he has a hit-over-power profile, but scouts believe more power will come in the future. Morris plays shortstop for Virginia, and he’s been fine thanks to a strong arm and high baseball IQ, but he lacks the first-step quickness and short actions necessary to handle the position in pro ball. A well below-average runner, Morris is likely better suited for third base or a corner outfield position, although a team high on his defensive ability might try to keep him in the middle infield at second base. Wherever he winds up defensively, Morris’ hit tool is his carrying trait. He has a strong track record of hitting in the ACC and a productive Cape Cod League appearance in 2018, when he hit .331/.404/.449 in 35 games.
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Bulldog Burgmann: Years ago a scout called me and compared RHP Josh Burgmann to a bulldog after watching compete. “He was like Roger Clemens or Pat Hentgen walking off the mound,” said the scout. Both were known to exit jams and the mound screaming and pounding their fists in their gloves.
And then there was the time the Canadian Junior National Team was in Japan in 2015 at the World Juniors. Playing Taiwan in a must-win situation, Burgmann got the start.
However, his duties changed early on when SS Adam Hall (London, Ont.) and 1B Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) collided and Hall began to limp. He was removed from the game and Peter Hutzal (Calgary, Alta.) moved from DH to short. Burgmann was inserted as the new DH.
No hitting background but no problem ... Burgmann came up with runners on second and third and hit a two-run single the next inning. Just like bantam ball the best starter starts the opener and takes an appearance at-bat.
Burgmann pitched seven innings as Canada scored a 6-2 win.
This spring with the Huskies he was 4-6 with a 3.99 ERA in 14 starts, walking 22 and striking out 101 in 79 innings. He tied for second in Pac-12 with 101 strikeouts.
Selected in the fifth round by the Chicago Cubs and their new area scout Gabe Sandy, slot money for Burgmann is $318,200. We know of two teams who had Burgmann pegged for their next pick.
Ranked No, 4 in the state of Washington by Baseball America RHP Josh Burgmann Washington (BA RANK: 145)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Cardinals '16 (30)
Burgmann was drafted by the Cardinals in the 30th round of the 2016 draft out of high school, but he instead made it to campus at Washington. In his freshman season, Burgmann appeared in just eight games and tossed 13.2 innings before he had to be shut down with a partially torn UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery. During his redshirt freshman season in 2018, Burgmann worked mostly as a reliever and posted a 3.19 ERA. He struggled to locate his secondary offerings, however, and he struck out just 6.10 batters per nine innings while walking 3.77 per nine. He added a slider to his repertoire at that point and during his first full season as a starter in 2019, he finally started to put everything together. Through his first 14 starts and 79 innings, Burgmann posted a 3.99 ERA, but the major improvement was the fact that he was striking out a career-best 11.5 batters per nine while walking just 2.5 per nine. Scouts praise his strike-throwing ability—he almost throws too many, as Burgmann doesn’t like to waste pitches and will frequently give hitters too many hittable offerings inside the zone. His fastball sits in the low 90s but touches 95 mph, and both his slider and curveball are above-average offerings. He also has a solid fourth-pitch changeup. Listed at 6 feet, 205 pounds, Burgmann has a strong, stocky build without much room for further projection, but he has a solid trio of pitches and good strike-throwing to match.
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Blue Jays sixth pick Baseball America ranking No. 21 in California Cameron Eden, SS/OF, California (BA RANK: 320)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 181 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A three-year starter for Cal, Eden broke out as a freshman and quickly took over the team’s starting shortstop job and hit .315/.361/.472 in 54 games during his first stint against Pac-12 pitching. He continued to start at shortstop during his sophomore season, but his offensive numbers fell off in a big way. Eden has moved off of shortstop and played left field and center field this spring, while starting to swing the bat again. Through his first 48 games, Eden was hitting .365/.434/.563 with eight home runs, though he has always struck out at close to a 20-percent rate. Eden has a strong arm and solid range at shortstop and could probably play the infield, though scouts think he profiles best in a utility role. He’s an above-average runner whose speed plays on the bases and in the outfield.
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Around the world and around the mound: The old saying is that there is a story in every locker. When LHP Adam Macko arrives at his next stop -- whether he signs with the Seattle Mariners, who drafted him in the seventh round on Tuesday or whether he attends Purdue University -- he'll take the stories with him.
Let's see, he
_ Was born in Bratislava, Slovakia.
_ Learned the game in Ireland.
_ And then moved to Canada and wound up with the Vauxhhall Academy Jets, a tiny southern Alberta town.
Macko was good enough, but not eligible to pitch for the Canadian Junior National Team. All his paper work has not come in. So, he has been spotted at various showcases that coach Les McTavish set up for him with the Rawlings Southeast 17u National team.
He was rated No. 2 among Canadian prospects by Baseball America
Adam Macko, LHP, Vauxhall (Alb.) Academy (BA RANK: 295)
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 180 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Purdue
A 6-foot, 180-pound lefthander, Macko is a stereotypical pitchability lefthander who doesn’t have the biggest pure stuff but has above-average command and knows how to spot his fastball—a rare trait for a prep pitcher. Last summer at the Area Code Games, Macko threw his fastball in the mid to upper-80s and showed a curveball with big depth and a 2400 rpm spin rate. His curveball and changeup are both solid secondaries that he has good feel to locate, and they could become plus pitches in the future as Macko gains weight and adds more strength and power to his game. He’s committed to Purdue, and he might have to get to campus before teams want to sign him out of the draft, without an average fastball.
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Blue Jays seventh-round pick _ Ranked 24th inn the state of Georgia by Baseball America INF L.J. Talley Georgia (BA RANK: 343)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 203 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A four-year starter for the Bulldogs, Talley is a 6-foot-2, 203-pound infielder who was known for his sure hands defensively, but had a breakout offensive campaign in the SEC this spring. Through 56 games, Talley hit .356/.459/.512 with a career-high eight home runs and more walks (15.7 percent rate) than strikeouts (11.8 percent rate) for the first time in his career. Talley’s offensive improvement puts him on the radar as a senior sign, as he’s routinely hit the ball hard and is now seeing that power translate to games. Defensively, Talley is reliable with the glove and has the defensive actions for the left side of the infield, but below-average arm strength makes him a better fit for second base.
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Blue Jays eighth round pick was ranked 53rd in the state of Florida by Baseball Ameria 1B Angel Camacho, Jacksonville
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
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Listed No. 5 in Tennessee by Basebal America C Philip Clarke Vanderbilt (BA RANK: 162)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 190 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Clarke ranked No. 166 on the BA 500 coming out of high school, with plenty of scouts appreciating his lefthanded swing and power potential. But he was a strong commitment to Vanderbilt and there were plenty of questions about whether he would stick at catcher long term. Clarke didn’t allay those concerns in an impressive freshman season, when he filled the DH role while junior Stephen Scott was the Commodores’ primary catcher. Clarke caught only 13 games that year, but this spring Scott moved back to the outfield and first base while an improved Clarke has been the team’s regular backstop. Clarke is more consistent as a receiver and he’s more durable this season. A below-average receiver in high school, Clarke now is an average receiver. He has a below-average throwing arm, but he has thrown out 37 percent of basestealers in 2019. Clarke’s bat has long been his calling card. His swing can get a little long at times, but he has solid bat speed and power potential, giving him a chance to be an average hitter with average power. If Clarke can catch, he would make a very valuable bat-first catcher. But if he has to move off the position, he’s not ideally suited for first base because he’s only 5-foot-11. Clarke is a draft-eligible sophomore, giving him plenty of leverage this year.
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Blue Jays 10-round pick, ranked No. 7 in Puerto Rico by Baseball America Glenn Santiago, SS, International Baseball Academy, Cieba, P.R.
Source: • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 160 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Florida International
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Kevin Wall, also known as Mr. Bourne, who runs our college wrap extends congrats to the five Canadian players on four Championship teams:
CCCAA, Ryan O'Halloran (Mississauga, Ont.) with Orange Coast.
NJCAA D1, Clayton Keyes (Calgary, Alta.) with Central Arizona.
NJCAA D2, Justin Raspanti (Vaughan, Ont.) and Shane Nixon (Markham, Ont.) with Northern Oklahoma Enid.
NWAC, Trenton King (Surrey, BC) with Lower Columbia.
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Two day totals: There were five Canucks drafted on Day II, one more than the number selected in the first 10 rounds in the past two years.