Top 12 of 2012: #9 – 23 Canadians in big-leagues in 2012
As part of Baseball Canada’s year in review, we are counting down the Top 12 Stories of 2012. Many great stories have occurred over the course of the year and today we take a look at #9.
When the dust settled on the 2012 baseball season 23 Canadians had appeared on rosters of big-league clubs which was the fourth highest, only behind the United States, Dominican Republic and Venezuela of players playing Major League Baseball.
The season also provided some feel good stories as 2007 1st round pick Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, QC) made his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Phillies, while 29 year-old Jim Henderson (Calgary, AB), of the Milwaukee Brewers, reached the big league for the first time after 10 seasons in the minor leagues.
Minnesota Twins left-hander Scott Diamond (Guelph, ON) solidified himself as a bona-fide MLB starter as he led the Twins with 12 wins and was tops among Twins starter with a tidy 3.54 ERA. Seattle Mariners outfielder Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) also had a breakout year as he belted 19 homers and had 21 stolen bases to become a power and speed threat for the Mariners.
Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC) played in 134 games in 2012 after battling health issues in both 2010 and 2011.The 2006 AL MVP had a solid second half and finished with 19 home runs, 77 RBI and a .267 batting average.
Joey Votto, the 2010 NL MVP, was on a MVP pace early in the season before knee surgery sidelined the slugger for nearly two months. Votto finished the season with a .337 average, 14 home runs, 56 RBI and hit .389 in the NL Division Series where his Reds lost in five games to the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
Other Canadians who participated in the post-season were Russell Martin (Montréal, QC) with the New York Yankees, George Kottaras with the Oakland A’s and Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, BC) with the Texas Rangers.
Dempster was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers prior to the trade deadline and is now a free agent. The 35 year old had double digits in wins for the fifth consecutive season amassed a combined 12 wins with both the Cubs and Rangers.
Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC), Scott Richmond (Vancouver, BC) and Shawn Hill (Georgetown, ON) were three Canadians that played for Canada’s only MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2012.
To view a complete list of MLB Canadians in 2012, please click here.
Top 12 Stories of 2012
12. Les Smeyers becomes 20,000th coach
11. Baseball Canada adopts Challenger Baseball
10. Eight umpires at International Events
9. 23 Canadians in MLB in 2012
8. To be revealed December 5th