The Vancouver Canadians have already started their season and the short-season Bluefield Blue Jays and Gulf Coast League (GCL) Blue Jays get going this week. The rosters of Vancouver and Bluefield have been released and I’ll use a process of elimination to figure out who’s going to start in the GCL. First, we start with the Short Season A affiliate of the Blue Jays, the Vancouver Canadians who play in the Northwest League.
As you can hear in my discussion with Charlie Caskey in Episode 8 of the Blue Jays from Away Podcast, Vancouver is not going to be the home of too many real prospects to start the season. Outside of the recent assignment of two 2013 draftees C Mike Reeves and OF Brenden Kalfus to the Canadians, there aren’t too many names to get excited about.
Kyle Anderson (L) Age 23
Tim Brechbuehler (R) Age 23
Markus Brisker (R) Age 22
Bobby Brosnahan (L) Age 24
Eric Brown (R) Age 24
Justin D’Alessandro (R) Age 23
Brandon Dorsett (R) Age 23
Jeremy Gabryszwski (R) Age 20
Chuck Ghysels (R) Age 23
Justin James (R) Age 23
Alvido Jimenez (R) Age 21
Matthew Johnson (R) Age 25
Jonathan Kountis (R) Age 25
Joe Spano (L) Age 23
Colton Turner (L) Age 22
2B Justin Atkinson (R/R) Age 19
2B Andy Fermin (L/R) Age 23
SS Jason Leblebijian (R/R) Age 22
1B Jordan Leyland (R/R) Age 23
SS Dickie Thon (R/R) Age 21
1B Shaun Valeriote (R/R) Age 23
2B Jorge Vega-Rosado (R/R) Age 21
As you can see with this Canadians lineup, there aren’t a lot of really intriguing prospects. I expect to see a couple of pitchers, like Matt Boyd, who were drafted this year but haven’t signed yet (due to their teams being in the College World Series) to be assigned to Vancouver when they do sign. It’s noteworthy that there are four ACTUAL Canadians on the Vancouver roster: Pitcher Eric Brown (the opening game starter), 2B Justin Atkinson, 1B Shaun Veleriote and C Michael Reeves.
It’s also an older lineup. Note that most players are 22 or 23 years old. The youngest player is Justin Atkinson who is a BC native that has put up decent numbers in two years of rookie ball. Dickie Thon is another name to keep in mind. He’s the son of a former major leaguer (also named Dickie Thon) and was drafted in the 5th round in 2010 and got a big signing bonus. Thon has had health issues that the club believes are behind him and we’ll see how he adjusts to the Northwest League. Pitcher Jeremy Gabryszwski was selected in the 2nd round in the 2011 draft and had a good season last year for Bluefield, but one of the knocks against him is that his stuff will only take him so far. He only struck out 22 batters in 46 innings last season and that particular stat is not something that is all that encouraging at this point. Still, he’s young and has a big frame that could lead to some development in his stuff.
Another thing to note is the name Markus Brisker, who’s another conversion project for the Blue Jays. He’s been an outfielder in the system who is going to make a go of things as a pitcher, just like Justin Jackson is doing in Lansing.
We’ll see how the two new signees, Brenden Kalfus* and Michael Reeves, do in their first exposure to pro ball. Kalfus, the 2013 West Coast Conference batting champion looks like he has good contact skills, good speed and good defense while Reeves could hit for a high average and be a great defender behind the plate.
Who are you excited about on the Vancouver Canadians 2013 roster?
* I’m not quite sure how to spell Kalfus’s first name. MiLB.com has it as “Brenden” and Baseball Reference has it as “Brendan.” The fact is that if I want to have a link to his BR page, I need to spell it their way so that their linking app can find his name!