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Vancouver Canadians, The Draft, and other Notes

Wow, that sort of snuck up on me. With all the focus on the draft, Lansing’s young pitchers, and everything Blue Jay, I’d lost sight of the most important things…..Opening Day for the Canadians! The season kicks off Friday with a quick road trip to Tri-City before the Nat opens for business on Monday where the C’s will host Spokane. After spending all season attempting to ‘predict’ the ThreePeat in ’13 roster, I don’t actually have a roster to hand. So, in its stead, I’ll make one more prediction. I reckon the 2013 Vancouver Canadians have already made their way north are going to be introduced to the media/fans today. With that in mind, a few themes that should bear out.

One player I had hoped would be in Vancouver and was more than surprised when he was sent to Lansing out of spring training was Seth Conner. With his age, and experience level, I thought it was a natural fit for Seth to spend this season in Vancouver before joining a full-season team in 2014. His role with Lansing has been a bit odd as well. As the back up catcher he has not been getting a ton of at bats, so what’s the benefit of sending him there? It’s possible that the Jays organization thought he would be better served working day to day with the coaches, more experienced catchers in Lansing.

With starting catcher (and ex-C) Santiago Nessy returning from the disabled list on the 5th of June, Conner was assigned to

Nessy ups and fires

Nessy ups and fires

Vancouver. Which was probably the plan all along. However, as per my colleague Jay at Jays Journal, he was re-assigned to Lansing shortly thereafter as Nessy is now back on the DL. Hard to predict now how this will play out. According to Lugs play by play man, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, Santiago’s injury is not that serious, so still a chance that Seth lands in Vancouver in the near future.

So, let’s tentatively pencil in Conner as the Canadians starting backstop. Similar to last year’s draft, although, as I said in my last post, not to the same extent, the Jays used their college senior strategy to save a bit of slot money. One of those picks was the 10th rounder used on Garrett Custons. As a twenty-two year old senior, you’d expect Custons to sign quickly and fly straight to Vancouver. His situation is slightly complicated in that he probably has armed forces commitments, so I’m not willing to put him on the C’s roster.

The Jays also took Canadian Mike Reeves with their 21st round pick. Reeves, a Peterborough, Ontario native put up good numbers as a senior with the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. I’d bet my first born’s college fund on Reeves ending up in Vancouver.

That leaves us with two catchers. With 2012 stalwarts Dan Klein and Tucker Frawley yet to be assigned a team, I think we can safely guess that they will be Nat Bailey returnees.

There you go. I’ve stuck my neck out and predicted the catching position for Vancouver. Not an entire roster, agreed, but a start.

In other news, Blue Jays insider Shi Davidi sheds some light on Matt Smoral’s development at extended spring training. Reading the piece, it’s hard not to get excited about this kid. The most interesting bit for C’s fans though, is the quote near the end.

“I would think he’s going to start in the Gulf Coast League,” says GM Alex Anthopoulos, “and if he performs there, at some point, depending on how those teams in Bluefield and Vancouver do, we might slide him up there.”

I think the Canadians record come late July, early August will go a long way towards deciding what prospects we see at the Nat this season. A point where the prospect versus team debate comes together. As Lansing have found out this year, having a ton of prospects doesn’t always mean a winning record. However, a winning record will generally mean an influx of prospects late in the season. Last year, for C’s fans, it provided an opportunity to see Daniel Norris, D.J. Davis, Santiago Nessy, and Dwight Smith Jr.

This year? I really hope another successful season on the field means players such as Smoral and Alberto Tirado find themselves on a plane north.

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