Elliott: Zero Canadians in Futures Game for second time in 20 years
By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
For the second time since the creation of the Sirus-XM Futures Game there will not any Canadian talent on display Sunday afternoon.
The 20th annual Futures Game takes place at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Sunday at 4 p.m.
That’s not to say that Canada has not produced any talent. Four Canadian-born players are on the latest MLB.Pipeline top 100 prospect list: 1. Vlad Guerrero (Montreal, Que.), occupying a spot not held by a Blue Jays prospect since OF Derek Bell; 14. Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) currently with the Atlanta Braves; No. 32 Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) at double-A San Antonio and 50. Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC) who is at triple-A Memphis.
Guerrero is rehabbing in the Gulf Coast rookie league and Soroka is on the Braves roster, but on the disabled list for a second time.
Besides Guerrero mid-season all-star berths went to:
OF Jacob Robson (Windsor, Ont.) Double A Eastern League (West Division) All Star Team in the Detroit Tigers system.
OF Jim Adduci (Burnaby, BC) Triple A International League All Star Team, also in the Tigers system.
RHP Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) Double A Eastern League (East Division) All Star Team in the Blue Jays organization.
1B Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) Double A Texas League (South Division) All Star Team with the San Diego Padres.
RHP Rowan Wick, North Vancouver, BC - Double A Texas League (South Division) All Star Team, also with the Padres.
Last week RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, Ont.) earned Triple A Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week and RHP Jordan Balazovic (Mississauga, Ont.) earned class-A Midwest League Pitcher of the Week honours.
Away back when in 1999 when the great idea of having a Futures Game -- there will be more general managers and scouting directors on hand for pre-game infield than any other time this season -- Allan Simpson (Kelowna, BC), Baseball America founder and his staff, led by John Manuel, set the rosters. Canuck players miss both Simpson and Manuel, now a scout with the Minnesota Twins.
Now, Jim Callis, of MLB.com Pipeline, editors at Baseball America and MLB.com writers devoted to covering prospects, are involved in the selection process, but ultimately the Major League Baseball office in New York makes the call on the players invited to participate. The best young prospects who make up the Team USA and the World rosters.
When the parade of flags takes place pre-game, you won’t see anyone carrying a Canadian flag out to the mound.
Before you cancel your Baseball America or Sirus-XM subscriptions or quit clicking on MLB.com you should know:
_ About five Canadian players were under consideration for selection from lists of players approved by clubs in order to be named.
_ Four of them had played in the Futures Game previously.
_ In addition, a couple of the players being considered had been called up during the selection process.
Four players have been able to partake in the all-star game ceremonies and the Futures Games twice before, while Rob Zastryzny (Edmonton, Alta.), Jim Adduci (Burnaby, BC), O’Neill and Soroka have been on the move recently -- from triple-A to the majors and some back again.
Players who appeared at double-A and above this season: 3B Jesse Hodges (Victoria, BC) Double A Tennessee; LHP Evan Grills (Whitby, Ont.) Double A Hartford; 3B Abraham Toro (Longueuil, Que.) Double A Corpus Christi and class-A Buise Creek; LHP Conor Lillis-White (Toronto, Ont.) Triple-A Salt Lake and Double-A Mobile Bay; RHP Daniel Procopio (Toronto, Onnt.) Double A Mobile; 3B Eric Wood (Pickering, Ont.) Triple-A Indianapolis; RHP Dylan Rheault (Garson, Ont.) Double-A Richmond; class-A San Jose and Triple-A Sacramento; RHP Curtis Taylor (Port Coquitlam, BC) Double A Montgomery; class-A Charlotte; RP Andrew Case (St. John, NB) and Connor Panas (Toronto, Ont.) both at Double-A New Hampshire.
Since 1999 Canadians have made 33 appearances in the Futures Game with Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC), Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC), Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.), Aaron Myette (New Westminster, BC) and Naylor each being named twice.
Futures Game Participants (1999-2017)
Name Year Team
Phillippe Aumont 2008 Mariners
Erik Bedard 2001, 2002 Orioles
Jeff Francis 2004 Rockies
Tyson Gillies 2009 Mariners
Vladimir Guerrero 2017 Blue Jays
Rich Harden 2003 A’s
Shawn Hill 2003 Expos
George Kottaras 2006 Padres
Pierre-Luc LaForest 1999 Devil Rays
Brett Lawrie 2009, 2010 Brewers
Jordan Lennerton 2013 Tigers
Kyle Lotzkar 2012 Reds
Adam Loewen 2005 Orioles
Trystan Magnuson 2010 Blue Jays
Scott Mathieson 2005 Phillies
Russell Martin 2005 Dodgers
Chris Mears 1999 Mariners
Justin Morneau 2002, 2004 Twins
Aaron Myette 1999, 2000 White Sox
Josh Naylor 2016 2017 Marlins, Padres
Ntema Ndungidi 2000 Orioles
Tyler O’Neill 2016 Mariners
James Paxton 2011 Mariners
Dalton Pompey 2014 Blue Jays
Michael Saunders 2007 Mariners
Scott Thorman 2003 Braves
Rene Tosoni 2009 Twins
Phillippe Valiquette 2010 Reds
(Bold indicates played in majors)