by Mason McRae
The Toronto Blue Jays have had their fair share of Canadian talent, from Russell Martin to Michael Saunders and all the way back to the good ole Paul Quantrill days. All of them had an impact on the franchise, but none won the city a championship and the Jays could look to the 2020 Draft as a way to build their team around some skilled Canucks.
Last year, the Jays saw a chance to kickstart their rebuild with canadian talent. They snatched Dasan Brown in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft and in the upcoming draft year, they’ll have another chance.
Let’s take a look at the four best Canadian hitters in the 2020 Draft. Two of which, could alter the franchise.
The best player in the 2020 draft from the depths of Canada, goes to GTA product David Calabrese. The Maple native and Arkansas commit is a plus-plus runner, a trait the Jays gained last year, with Brown. Now, Calabrese isn’t as good of an athlete in regards to Brown – but the bat is much more polished and has some loft to it. Both Brown and Calabrese are true centre fielders with plus bat speed, but Calabrese looks like he could go a round earlier in the upcoming draft. MLB Pipeline had him their top 100 draft prospects list, he just missed out on mine – as he’s currently my 117th ranked prospect in the class.
Next up, another GTA native, Burlington’s Owen Caissie – now, Owen is the second best player in Canada as of now. But he lacks the upside one of the players below has – so what? Caissie doesn’t have franchise-altering talent, that’s not to say he can’t be an impact corner-outfielder with some juice in his bat. He’s a true RF with a lean frame and compact swing with the most power in the class. He’s more of a round 4-5 talent, but will more-then-likely get taken at the end of the draft as a lottery selection. If Calabrese gets taken before the Jays have a chance, or has a price range out of the Jays’ range similar to last year where the Jays settled with their backup plan in the third round, then Caissie becomes a serious candidate to watch for an overslot deal with the Jays.
The third best hitter from Canada, is SS Austin Gomm. The best player for Canada at the 18U world championship doesn’t have the upside of Calabrese nor the power of Caissie. But, the Port Credit (yes, another GTA guy) product has a really easy swing that makes lots of hard contact. He’s probably more of a second baseman at the next level, but he’s got room to grow at short still. I doubt Gomm is taken until the end of the draft as a lottery ticket, but the Draft is a crapshoot and he could get an overslot at the end of day one (similar to Phillip Clarke) if the Jays realize they have a little extra money to dish out.
Last but not least, is catcher – Maschouche, QC’s Ralphier Pelletier. An advanced defender behind the plate who could catch in the MLB today, he has elite receiving skills and a plus-arm that could take David Calabrese’s speed and wipe it out. Ralph is an interesting prospect because he has the tools most can’t say they have – and if he can add some meat on his bones and gain strength in his swing – we could be looking at the best canadian Catcher, better than Russell Martin. Ralph is the least talented of the four today, but could be the best if he grows as a hitter.