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Vancouver Canadians Skeleton Roster Announced!

In preparation for today’s meet and greet with the media, the Vancouver Canadians let us know who we would getting introduced to by officially announcing their skeleton roster yesterday.  Now, ‘skeleton’ may be a bit of a misnomer as, looking through the various positions, it only looks like the infield is a bit light, with no listed first basemen.  Quite the change from last year when the C’s flew north with three of their seven infielders pencilled in as first basemen.

With nobody on first, one has to assume that position will be filled by incoming 2014 draftees, and, as per my last post, 15th rounder and West Viriginia Mountaineer grad Ryan McBroom will be one of them.  This is a bit of a disappointment.  Earlier in the above linked piece, both myself and Ewen Ross claimed that sources we had in extended were certain California bopper Rowdy Tellez would be on the plane.  Although Bluefield’s roster has not been confirmed yet, this link seems to say the left-handed prospect will begin the season in the Appalachian League.

I don’t want to seem like the world’s biggest moaner, complaining at the beginning of every Canadians season about the lack of prospects on the team.  But I was really hoping to see Tellez….and maybe one of Jacob Anderson or Anthony Alford.  Other than that, I am absolutely ecstatic with this roster.

There are legitimately two top ten Blue Jays prospects here to START the season and at least two more in the mix for top 15.  The two that still have their reputations in tact are the ones coming from extended.  Although many predict that one day Franklin Barreto moves off short (whether it be to centerfield or third base) for the Canadians he’s going to play shortstop every day.  The buzz I’ve been getting all spring is that the 2012 IFA can do it all.  Despite his smallish size (5’9″ 174 pounds) he barrels the ball up on a consistent basis with gap to gap power.  He won’t hit a ton of homers, especially in the Nat, but I can see him living in the alleys, leading the C’s in extra-base hits.

The adjectives I’ve been getting to describe Dominican right-hander Miguel Castro have been ‘lights-out’ and ‘cheddar’.  This kid throws hard, something we haven’t really seen at the Nat since Roberto Osuna in 2012.  Probably the best pitching prospect since Osuna as well.  He’s only thrown 12 innings stateside so am fully expecting a few growing pains, but a low to mid-90s fastball and good curve at 6’5″ 190??!  Am guessing we’ll see quite few scouts taking a load of notes in the lower bowl of the Nat.

Alberto Tirado and Jairo Labourt will start the first two games of the season.  Seeing them in Vancouver is bittersweet.  While I’m thrilled with the opportunity to watch them pitch, having them here means they weren’t very good in Lansing.  And that’s putting it mildly.

Tirado, especially, created a ton of buzz this off-season with all three of the prospect writers I compared putting him in the Jays top 10, one as high as third.  Lansing’s young, projectable staff was meant to dominate the Midwest League, dragging the Jays organizational prospect stock up with them.  Unfortunately it hasn’t quite worked out that way.  Tom Robson and Adonys Cardona are injured, Chase DeJong is struggling and both Tirado and Labourt are back in short-season ball.

Both struggled mightily with their mechanics which led to ballooning walk rates.  Labourt tipped the scales at 12.86 walks per nine while Tirado was slightly better at 8.78.  Jairo has been back in extended for awhile and the reports I got were all positive so hopefully he has made the necessary adjustments.  Both should get by in the Northwest League on stuff alone but how they command their fastball will go a long way towards how we feel about them going forward.

Quick hit thoughts:

There are three catchers on the roster which means one of them will be checking the internet daily to see if the Jays get first round pick (11th overall) Max Pentacost signed.  He’ll surely head to Vancouver once done meaning one of the backstops here will be out.

As mentioned above, there are five listed infielders but no first basemen.  Barreto will play short every day.  All the other positions may be quite fluid.  Returnee David Harris, who mainly played second last year, is the only listed third basemen.  Looking at the stats from extended (and take them with a grain of salt as the article says) Harris has had an excellent spring, leading the Jays in average, OPS and home runs.  I can see the Houston native sticking at third, simply because he is only one with any pop.  Both listed second basemen, former Bluefield Blue Jay Alex Maldonado and 2013 C Christian Vasquez, will struggle to slug their weight.

Timothy Locastro is nominally listed as a shortstop, but he played mainly second (making 2B this years position du jour) for Bluefield last year.  I’m actually really looking forward to see the New York native play.  The reports I get are that he is a ‘dirt on the uniform’ type of player.  I can see him floating around the infield to maximize his playing time.

The outfield only has one returnee in Brendan Kalfus.  The other four I honestly know very little about so may have to wait to actually see them before giving any sort of report.

Sean Hurley tied Harris for the extended lead in home runs and is 6’4″ 235 so may provide some pop.  Oddly, despite being a 24th round pick last year out of Central Arizona College he spent the entire season in the GCL.  A bit old for that league and he wasn’t particularly successful either.

Boomer Collins did quite well in the GCL last year but at 24 you’d expect so!  He’ll be old for this level as well, but from what I can gather he’s a great organizational soldier and a good teammate.

Jonathan Davis apparently had a great extended and has flashed some excellent speed.

I’ll take some more time for individual reports as I start to see actual games.  Something that is, finally, not far away.

The Barreto has landed! (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

The Barreto has landed! (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

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