State Report: Canada
High school talent dominates the Great White North
See also: Baseball America's Complete 2010 Draft Map
|THIS YEAR'S CROP
||One for the books
||Solid, not spectacular
||Not up to par
||Nothing to see here
Scouts aren't always sure how to judge Canadian high school prospects when they play local competition, so the Canadian junior national team is an important crucible for most of the best prospects in the country. Baseball Canada does a great job sending the junior team south during the spring, playing quality junior-college and low-level minor league competition with wood bats. British Columbia, which has produced the likes of Jason Bay, Jeff Francis and Justin Morneau, is typically the hottest province for Canadian talent, but this year it looks like it's Ontario.
|NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS
1. Kellin Deglan, c, R.E. Mountain SS, Langley, B.C. (National Rank: 51)
2. Evan Rutckyj, lhp, St. Joseph's HS, St. Thomas, Ont. (National Rank: 193)
3. Evan Grills, lhp, Sinclair SS, Whitby, Ont.
4. Joel Pierce, rhp, Massey SS, Windsor, Ont.
5. Rowan Wick, of, Carson Graham HS, North Vancouver, B.C.
6. Dalton Pompey, of, Fraser SS, Mississauga, Ont.
7. Brian Smith, lhp, St. Mary's Catholic HS, Woodstock, Ont.
8. Jordan Boston, of, Heart Lake SS, Brampton, Ont.
9. Jonathan Paquet, rhp, Champlain St. Lawrence College
10. Jesen Dygestile-Therrien, rhp, Edouard Montpetit HS, Montreal
11. Mike Ellis, rhp, Fleetwood Park SS, Surrey, B.C.
12. Phil Diedrick, of, Pickering HS, Ajax, Ont.
13. Adam Reynolds, rhp, Guelph
14. Brandon Kaye, rhp, British Columbia
15. Mark Hardy, lhp, British Columbia
16. Sammie Starr, ss, British Columbia
Kellin Deglan, c
R.E. Mountain SS, Langley, B.C.
As a member of Canada's junior national team, Deglan has been steadily improving his stock as he has performed well in games against pro players in extended spring training exhibitions. Deglan has gotten bigger and stronger every year, and he spent a week living and working with Twins star Justin Morneau, a British Columbia native, in the offseason. He is an advanced receiver and has a strong arm, consistently displaying pop times around two seconds flatand has worked hard to maintain his balance and footwork behind the plate. . Scouts do have a couple of questions regarding Deglan's swing. He has long arms, which can lead to a long swing, and he sometimes swings around the ball and can be attacked inside. But he also has a lot of strength and when he pulls his hands inside the ball, he can use his arms for leverage, which gives him intriguing power potential. When you combine all those things, it's easy to see why teams see a lot of potential in Deglan. He also has great makeup and the leadership qualities that teams look for in catchers. Because of his premium position and lefthanded power potential, Deglan could go as high as the back half of the first round, but grades out as more of a second- to third-round talent.
Evan Rutckyj, lhp
St. Joseph's HS, St. Thomas, Ont.
At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Rutckyj (pronounced ROOT-ski) is a big-bodied lefthander with a chiseled frame, thanks to his time spent as a youth hockey player and his current offseason workout of choice, boxing. He's relatively new to pitching, so he looked a bit raw on the showcase circuit last summer. He has worked hard with a private pitching coach and during his time with the Canadian junior national team to smooth out his mechanics and develop his secondary pitches. His delivery is looser now than it was in the summer, and he's getting better extension. His arm action is pretty clean, but he needs to keep working to repeat his delivery and throw strikes more consistently. His fastball sits in the 87-91 mph range, touching 92, and his slider is 80-81. The slider shows occasional fringe-average break and there's enough rotation to work with, but it's still a work in progress. As his background may suggest, Rutckyj has a real tough-guy mentality on the mound. He is a project and the team that drafts him will need to be patient with his development.
Think Young And Projectable
Teams that are hung up on velocity might pass on lefthander Evan Grills
, and they'd miss a pitcher who makes up for his average velocity with savvy and a track record of winning. Grills has been pitching with Canada's national teams since he was 14 and thrives in big situations. He throws his fastball in the 87-89 mph range and flashes 90s, though he's touched higher in the past. He mixes in a two-seamer with good life, an average curveball, a below-average slider and a changeup. Grills has a tall, loose and athletic body. His delivery isn't picture-perfect, and he sometimes falls off the mound a la Mitch Williams. He still throws all his pitches for strikes, attacks hitters and breaks a lot of bats. He's committed to San Jacinto (Texas) JC.
One asset for Canada's top prep players is their youth; the next four players discussed are all 17. Righthander Joel Pierce
is 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, with arms down to his ankles, in the words of one scout. His arm length helps him throw 90-92 mph, but he'll need to shorten his arm action. He gets swings and misses with his fastball because of its run and sink. He mixes in a slider and changeup that show flashes, but he needs to be more consistent and confident with them. Pierce could be a single-digit pick and is committed to Coastal Carolina.
Outfielder Rowan Wick
is a thick 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds. He has played catcher and has a strong arm, but doesn't have the mobility or receiving skills to play behind the plate as a pro. He'll have to watch his body and will probably end up in left field or at first base. Wick's frame and strength draw comparisons to another Canadian, Indians prospect Nick Weglarz. He has strength in his lefthanded swing and should have more as he matures. His trigger can be a little slow, although he has squared up good velocity in games the national team has played against extended spring training teams, and he hit a double off of a Gerrit Cole fastball in a game last summer. What really gives Wick trouble is his recognition of breaking balls and offspeed stuff.
Switch-hitting outfielder Dalton Pompey
emerged late as one of Canada's top prep prospects. Another national team alumnus, he stands 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds. He has a wiry build but is athletic with deceptive strength. He has quick hands and caught up to former big leaguer Mike MacDougal and an Astros prospect throwing 100 mph during the team's tour through Florida this spring. He's a solid-average runner and some scouts see him as a tweener—not fast enough for center field and not strong enough for a corner. If he doesn't sign, he'll head to NAIA St. Francis (Ind.).
Lefthander Brian Smith
has been mostly 84-87 mph in the past and took his stuff up a notch when the Canadian junior team recently traveled to the Dominican Republic. He worked at 87-90 mph, sitting at 88 with a solid changeup and an above-average curveball. He's a work in progress but could go pretty good in a year thin on lefthanded pitching.
The talent in Canada drops off a bit at this point. Righthander Mike Ellis
is shorter than his listed 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds. He throws his fastball in the 87-88 mph range with a curveball and changeup and has good command of all three of his pitches. He profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter or a long man out of the bullpen and has a lot of polish to his game. Like Deglan, he is committed to Florida International.
Outfielder Phil Diedrick
has strength from the left side of the plate, but really struggles with recognizing breaking balls and is a poor runner, limiting his profile. Six-foot-1, 190-pound outfielder Jordan Boston
has strong hands and bat speed, and would be a perfect draft-and-follow if the process were still around. He's a classic Canadian late-bloomer and is committed to Alcorn State. Righthander Jonathan Paquet
, a St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC recruit, was a 46th-round draft pick by the Angels last year. He's 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds with arm strength. His fastball sits in the mid-80s and has been up to 92 mph, though it's a straight fastball that is easy for hitters to see. His curveball is soft and loopy and he hangs it a lot. Righthander Jesen Dygestile-Therrien
is a bit of a project but has the size and clean arm scouts look for in a pitching prospect.