Short Hops is a weekly look at news and information that is of interest to the Canadian baseball community from the pros to the local sandlots!
Canadian ball players in spring training – As crazy as it may seem to some, coupled with what has transpired around the world in the last 12 months, spring training camps are open for all 30 Major League Baseball Clubs across sites in Florida and Arizona.
A nice contingent of established Canadian big leaguers along with some future players hoping to waive the Maple Leaf in the show are currently getting read for the season down south.
Here’s a list compiled by rosters on MLB.com, bold indicates played in MLB in 2020.
Baltimore – INF Adam Hall London, ON
Boston – RHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC)
New York (AL) – C Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC)
Toronto – RHP Jordan Romano (Markham, ON)
Cleveland – C Bo Naylor & OF Josh Naylor (Mississauga, ON), RHP Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, ON)
Detroit – INF Daniel Pinero (Toronto, ON), OF Jacob Robson (Windsor, ON)
Minnesota – LHP Andrew Albers (North Battleford, SK), RHP Jordan Balazovic (Mississauga, ON)
Houston – INF Abraham Toro (Longueuil, QC)
Seattle – LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC)
Atlanta – RHP Mike Soroka (Calgary, AB)
Miami – RHP Zach Pop (Brampton, ON)
Cincinnati - 1B Joey Votto (Etobicoke, ON)
Chicago (NL) – RHP Rowan Wick (North Vancouver, BC)
St. Louis – OF Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC)
Of course we have World Baseball Classic Canadians including 2020 National League Most Valuable Player Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and RHP Jameson Taillon newly of the New York Yankees. Both players have represented Canada in previous WBC's.
Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was born in Montreal but calls the Dominican Republic home while Jays prospect Otto Lopez spent part of his youth in Montreal before returning to his native Dominican Republic where he signed in 2016 as an international free agent.
Catcher Kole Cottam is currently in camp with the Boston Red Sox and is a Canadian citizen by virtue of his father, Jeff, a native of Burlington, Ontario.
Kelsey laying down the Law(lor) – Women’s National Team standout Kelsey Lalor is off to a hot start with the Boise State softball program leading the squad in home runs (2), OPS (1.162) Slugging (.750) and total bases (12). Boise State’s trip to Louisiana was cancelled last weekend due to travel complications brought on by inclement weather but Lalor and company will resume this weekend in Fullerton, California against Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton.
Damiano doing damage – Speaking of Canadians making their mark in college athletics south of the border, Junior National Team alum Damiano Palmegiani (College of Southern Nevada) is leading the nation in home runs with ten as far as Division 1 junior colleges are concerned. Palmegiani’s 26 RBI are second and he’s hitting .370 with a ridiculous 1.507 OPS. The Vauxhall Academy grad is committed to the University of Arizona for the 2022 season.
Keep your eyes open – Coaches/Players: stay tuned early next week as Baseball Canada is set to launch an interactive initiative that includes some of the brightest minds in Canadian baseball. We don’t want to give too much away but we promise it will be something that will that will enhance your knowledge and skillset as a coach!