While it hasn’t been officially announced yet, the Vancouver Canadians roster is shaping up for their season opener on Friday. The information we’ve gleaned all comes from MiLB’s transaction page for the Northwest League so these transactions are official but the roster we’ve pieced together from the list of moves has not been released by the Blue Jays.
Ok. All these guys aren’t going to be starters but it offers Vancouverites some real talent, particularly in Rodriguez and Maese. Higuera got a start in Dunedin and so he’ll be considered a starter. Smoral and Smith are both trying to redeem themselves after Smoral had a rough year last year and Smith had a rough start to his season in Lansing. Both could wind up in the bullpen (and Smith is almost sure to).
Many of this group were late-round draft picks or undrafted free agents. Lietz has struggled in Lansing this year and Huffman had a huge setback in 2015 after a great pro debut in 2014. Both are looking to reclaim some upwards motion in their careers. The one I’m excited to see (hopefully in Lansing before the year is out) is Gabe Noyalis who talked to us over the offseason (check the podcast page) and is a hard-throwing righty.
I’m almost wondering if there’s another catcher signing with the Jays (perhaps Ridge Smith, the 2016 12th rounder), mainly because all three of these guys were backups last year. Hernandez hasn’t played above the GCL while Sotillo was in Bluefield last year and Reavis split the year between Bluefield and Vancouver.
Wow, I like this infield. I’ll start off by saying that I was extremely impressed by Christian Williams’s bat in spring training and he’ll be a fixture in the Vancouver lineup. In Yeltsin Gudino and Bryan Lizardo, you’ll have two young Latin-American infielders who should make up the left side of the infield. Gudino is definitely stronger than he has been when I’ve seen him in the past and he should be able to hit the ball with more authority this year. Lizardo got good reviews in spring training and I’m really interested in what these guys are going to do this year. Deiferson Barreto has pretty much just hit over his career and there’s no reason to believe why he can’t keep doing that. Clark may have more trouble adjusting than the others and Romanin will be a utility player.
Unfortunately, Jake Anderson didn’t get off to a good start in Lansing and he’ll look for more at bats in Vancouver throughout the season. The two guys we should be really watching are Juan Tejada and Rodrigo Orozco. Tejada has some power but struck out a lot last year in Bluefield and Orozco was outstanding in Bluefield, winning the Jays’ MVP award for the club. Jones was more of a spot player in the GCL but posted some solid numbers, walking more than he struck out while McKnight had a good season in Bluefield, showing some pop but a lot of patience despite a high strikeout total. Finally, Sinay was a backup, getting just 88 at bats in Bluefield last year, but he walked a ton (.382 OBP).
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