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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Canada
By Alan Simpson
(National ranking in parentheses)
1. NICK WEGLARZ, 1b (National rank: 136)
School: Lakeshore Catholic HS.
Hometown: Stevensville, Ontario.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: Dec. 16, 1987.
College Commitment: High Point.
Scouting Report: The Braves drafted Canadian Scott Thorman with the 30th pick in 2000 because of his tremendous power potential, and the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Weglarz is the best power-hitting prospect Canada has produced since. He has long arms and generates good bat speed and leverage but has mechanical issues that will need to be corrected. Weglarz’ bat will have to carry him because he’s a below-average runner and limited to first base, though he’s mobile around the bag and his arm plays well enough to allow him to play in the outfield on occasion. Scouts got their best chance to see him this spring when he made trips to Florida with Canada’s junior national team and the Montreal-based ABC academy. He was not overly impressive the first time through but showcased his raw power the second time. He was also a member of Canada’s junior national squad that trekked to the Dominican Republic for a series of exhibition games in mid-May. Weglarz is one of the youngest players in this year’s draft. There is no clear consensus where he’ll be drafted, but he should go somewhere between rounds three and five. He’s the only Canadian attending school north of the border projected to go that early.
OTHERS TO WATCH
(Numbers in parentheses indicate rank in Canada)
Lots Of Projects In Canada
Unlike Weglarz, a fellow Ontario high school product who has committed to Oklahoma State, RHP Ivan Rusova (2) has no Division I options. He’s also almost two years older. Rusova is slightly built at 6-foot-1 and 178 pounds, but has excellent arm speed from a three-quarters slot and can generate fastballs up to 93 mph, though he’s more commonly in the 90-91 range. He suffers from command issues and tends to slow down his arm to throw strikes.
RHP Mark James (6) is a third Ontario high school product with expectations of being drafted in the first 10 rounds. He pitched well on the junior national team’s spring trip to Florida and was the top prospect at a workout for elite Canadians staged in mid-May by the Major League Scouting Bureau. James doesn’t throw much harder than 86-87 mph, but he has an athletic body and is projectable. His mid-70s curveball has good bite and rotation, and his changeup has a chance to be an average pitch.
SS Marcel Champagnie (11) was a lightly regarded prospect at the time he attended a Perfect Game USA showcase in Iowa in late April, but he dazzled scouts. He showed lightning-quick actions and an excellent arm at shortstop, along with 6.4-second speed in the 60-yard dash and surprising hitting ability. Canadian scouts remain skeptical.
RHP Brad Cuthbertson (3) and LHP Aric Van Gaalen (8) attended junior colleges in the U.S. in 2004, before transferring back home to Canada to attend the Prairie Baseball Academy, based at Lethbridge (Alberta) Community College. The 5-foot-11 Cuthbertson, a transfer from Midland (Texas) Junior College, is a bulldog on the mound. His fastball routinely registers 92-93 mph and he maintains his velocity deep into games, though he must learn to keep the pitch down more consistently. He is just learning to throw a slider. The 6-foot-6 Van Gaalen, a transfer from St. Petersburg (Fla.) Junior College, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 16th round in 2002 and the 37th round in 2003 before being passed over a year ago. A sinking fastball from 84-88 mph is his best pitch.
C Lars Davis (9), a third Lethbridge CC product, was drafted by the Devil Rays in 2003. He has an above-average arm, good catch-and-throw skills and above-average power potential, but has holes in his swing. He has committed to Illinois and is in line to replace Canadian Chris Robinson behind the plate for the Illini.
Six-foot-3, 220-pound RHP Jonathan Forest (4), a well-traveled product of St. Hubert, Quebec, ended up at the University of British Columbia after spending two years in Florida at Miami-Dade Community College and Chipola Junior College. He’s had trouble throwing strikes, but his fastball has generally ranged from 90 to 92, and touched 95.