Short Hops is a new, weekly look at news and information that is of interest to the Canadian baseball community from the pros to the local sandlots!
Baseball America reveals Top 200 MLB Draft Rankings – Junior National Team graduate Eric Cerantola (Oakville, ON), a right-handed pitcher at Mississippi State University, heads a trio of Canadians named to Baseball America’s 2021 MLB Draft Top 200 Prospects list. The Oakville native suited up for the Junior National Team in 2017 and 2018 and was also on Canada’s roster that won a silver medal at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru in 2019. He made the list at #39. Recent Junior National Team hurlers Mitchell Bratt (Newmarket, ON) and Calvin Ziegler (Heidelberg, ON) made the list at 174 and 195, respectively. Cerantola was the lone Canadian to make MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 released in December coming in at #50. The 2021 MLB Draft will take place from July 11-13 in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game in Atlanta.
Baseball America Top 10s – Keeping on the Baseball America train, the highly respected publication just completed their Top 10 prospects for each of the 30 MLB organizations with two Canadians landing inside the top ten with their respective clubs. It was a tough year for prospects with no minor league season due to Covid-19 but Mississauga’s Bo Naylor turned heads at Cleveland’s alternate training site last summer and is the top rated catcher in the organization with Baseball America pinning him as the fourth best prospect in the system. Naylor is a two-time winner of the Junior National Team MVP Award and was Cleveland’s first round pick (28th overall) in 2018. Naylor’s Junior National Team teammate and fellow Mississauga native Jordan Balazovic appeared on the Minnesota Twins’ list at #6. The right-handed pitcher got some work in during 2020 at the Twins’ alternate site after an impressive 2019 campaign that included a trip to the Future’s Game and an appearance with the Men’s National Team at the Pan Am Games where he started in a preliminary round win over Cuba. Balazovic was a fifth round pick of the club back in 2016. Expect to see a slew of Canadians ranked inside the top 30 prospects for each of the 30 MLB clubs when Baseball America and MLB Pipeline release their lists closer to spring training.
BEST EVER CLINIC this weekend – Baseball Ontario’s signature event, the Best Ever Clinic begins today and runs through Sunday in a virtual edition featuring an impressive group of presenters including Brent Strom (Pitching Coach – Houston Astros), Trey Hannam (Minor League Hitting Coach – New York Mets) and Rachel Folden (Minor League Hitting Coach & Lead Hitting Lab Tech - Chicago Cubs). The Best Ever Clinic has something for coaches to learn from at all levels of the game and includes flexible registration options to meet your needs.
Registration info can be found here.
Walker Takes To IG! - Hall of Famer Larry Walker (It feels so good to say that!) is on Instagram. Follow him: cdnmooselips33
Hockey’s Back! - We love hockey (we’re Canadian, right?!) and we also love multi-sport athletes. We couldn’t help but think that a multi-sport background helped one of the best to ever less’em up when Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia’s Sidney Crosby potted his first goal of the season on Wednesday night. MLB.com’s Alexis Brudnicki interviewed legendary Canadian scout Walt Burrows last year as part of her “Scout Stories” series and it included a reference to Crosby’s talent on the ball field.
#PlayMoreBeMore – Speaking of multi-sport, our friends at Baseball Manitoba made us aware of a great initiative that Sport Manitoba is promoting called “Play More, Be More”. The campaign is designed to educate parents on the value of multi-sport participation while also explaining the dangers of single sport specializing at an early age. Learn more here.
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