We conclude our in-depth look at the Vancouver Canadians by looking at the hitters. If a player split his season by playing for more than one team, keep in mind he’ll be considered with the team he had the most plate appearances for.
Brett Wright led the Vancouver Canadians in games caught and the 24-year-old got a lot more playing time, the most since being drafted in the 26th round of the 2018 draft. Wright got into 41 games (30 behind the plate) and had a .192/.333/.300 slash line, hitting eight doubles and two home runs while walking in 11.1% of his plate appearances and striking out in 21.6%. Wright also threw out 38% of potential base stealers, doing a great job behind the plate with only four passed balls in 258 innings of work. I can see Wright moving up to Lansing next year after two seasons with Vancouver.
Lefthanded hitting Philip Clarke joined the Vancouver Canadians late after he was drafted in the ninth round in 2019 out of Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt had a big run, winning the College World Series and as a result, Clarke only got into 37 games with Vancouver. He hit a respectable .257/.359/.333 with five doubles and two home runs, walking in 12.6% of plate appearances and striking out in 13.2%. There are a lot of good indicators there in his performance at the plate while behind the plate Clarke threw out 24% of potential base stealers and had six passed balls in 216 1/3 innings. I think he’ll also move up to Lansing in his Age-22 season next year.
The Blue Jays acquired 22-year-old Nicaraguan infielder Jesus Lopez from the Oakland Athletics in the early-season deal that sent Kendrys Morales to Oakland. Lopez, who had played in the Midwest League last year, was sent to extended spring training to begin his conversion to catching and he emerged in Vancouver, playing mostly third base with nine games behind the plate. Lopez hit .255/.289/.343 with the Canadians, hitting nine doubles and a home run, while walking in 4.0% of his plate appearances and striking out in 18.0%. In his limited exposure behind the plate, he threw out 20% of potential base stealers but had nine passed balls in just 79 1/3 innings. He also played three games with Lansing, going 5/8 with a walk and two strikeouts , hitting a double and throwing out the only batter who tried to steal. I think Lopez could move up to Dunedin next year, having already had experience as a hitter in the Midwest League but he’ll also need to work on his catching skills in order to get a more aggressive assignment.
Leading the Vancouver Canadians in games at first base was our Player of the Year, Yorman Rodriguez. The 22-year-old Venezuelan had an outstanding season at the plate, hitting .369/.406/.410 in 40 games with Vancouver, hitting six doubles, two triples and four home runs before he moved up to Lansing where he hit .344/.354/.459 with seven doubles, two triples and a home run in just 22 games. Rodriguez impresses with tiny strikeout rates (just 7.1% in Vancouver and 6.1% in Lansing) but struggles to get on base enough with just a 5.3% walk rate in Vancouver and 2.0% in Lansing. His BABIP at both levels were quite high (.378 in VAN and .356 in LAN), meaning that if those figures normalize, he’ll need an increased walk rate to help keep his OBP at or above league average levels. Rodriguez should start back with Lansing for a couple of months in 2019.
Getting the most games at second base and shortstop was 21-year-old infielder Tanner Morris, the Jays’ second round pick in this year’s draft out of the University of Virginia. Morris played 64 games, including 29 at second base, 29 at shortstop and one at third, led the Cs in plate appearances with 294. Morris, who actually turned 21 after the season, had a decent pro debut, hitting .246/.384/.346 with 16 doubles, a triple and two home runs, walking in 16.7% of his plate appearances and striking out in 19.0%. He’ll probably move up to Lansing in 2020.
Luis De Los Santos, 21, played 59 games with Vancouver but actually got into competitive games with the Dunedin blue Jays in early May, playing five games and hitting .231/.286/.538, hitting a home run and a double in just 14 plate appearances for Dunedin. Then, De Los Santos was sent to Lansing where he struggled over 25 games, hitting .205/.262/.282 with four doubles and a triple, walking in 7.1% of his 84 plate appearances and striking out in 22.6%. He was sent to Vancouver shortly after the season there opened and he continued to struggle, hitting just .215/.255/.294 with 12 doubles and two home runs in 245 plate appearances, posting a 4.5% walk rate and a 17.6% strikeout rate. I can see De Los Santos moving up to Lansing next year but I think it will depend on numbers and how well he does in spring training.
Ronny Brito, 20, was acquired by the Blue Jays in the deal that sent Russell Martin to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Brito also got his season underway in May with the Dunedin Blue Jays, going 4/13 with a double and two walks, striking out five times. He then opened with Vancouver’s season and had a .216/.292/.321 slash line with just six doubles, a triple and four home runs in 212 plate appearances with a walk rate of 9.9% and a strikeout rate that was sky high at 38.7%. Brito joined the Lansing Lugnuts at the end of the season, playing in five games and going 3/5 with a double, no walks and seven strikeouts. I think Brito could be back in Lansing but he’s going to have to show better plate discipline and cut down on his strikeouts.
21-year-old Trevor Schwecke was drafted in the 13th round of the 2019 draft out of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and spent the entire season playing with Vancouver, mostly at first base but with eight games at second, 10 at shortstop and 14 at third base. Schwecke hit .231/.336/.312, showing a great eye at the plate with a 13.1% walk rate but a 26.2% strikeout rate. He hit 10 doubles, a triple and two home runs, showing a modicum of power (but an ISO of .081). Schwecke will likely move up to Lansing next year.
Cameron Eden played a little bit on the infield for the Vancouver Canadians, but the sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of UC Berkeley played 44 games at center field, hitting .220/.292/.284 with seven doubles, two triples and one home run, stealing eight bases in 10 tries. Eden had 240 plate appearances, walking in 7.9% and striking out in 23.3% for fairly average numbers in those categories. He will likely move up to Lansing in 2020 as a 22 year old.
Mc Gregory Contreras was moved up to Lansing to start his season and the 21-year-old Venezuelan struggled at a higher level, hitting just .211/.268/.325, hitting six doubles, two triples and a home run in 124 plate appearances. He was particularly susceptible to the strikeout as he went down on strikes in 41.1% of his plate appearances, walking in 7.3%. He was moved down to Vancouver and played in 63 games, having some trouble defensively in the outfield while hitting an almost identical .211/.260/.319 with 12 doubles, three triples and three home runs in 270 PAs. He did lower his strikeout rate to 32.6% but his walk rate also fell to 4.1%. Contreras is an interesting case of a guy who has not shown the ability to adjust to better pitching and actually regressed from 2018 to 2019 when playing at the same level. I can see him getting another crack at Lansing but he’ll also need to have his confidence built back up.
Will Robertson, 21, was the Jays’ fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of Creighton University and he had one of the best offensive seasons for the Vancouver Canadians, playing mostly right field (with four in left and seven as the DH). Robertson started slowly, hitting just .127/.225/.143 in his first 17 games but went on a tear for his final 44 and was able to finish strongly (including multi-hit games in three of his last four) with a .268/.365/.404 slash line with 11 doubles, a triple and six home runs. Roberton struck out in only 18.6% of his 263 plate appearances while walking in a healthy 11.8%. I think Robertson could be in Lansing to start 2020 but is also a candidate to skip over the Lugnuts (depending on other players ahead of him) and jump to Dunedin.
Dom Abbadessa, 21, is another player who started in Lansing and struggled there, getting sent to Vancouver once their season opened. Abbadessa hit .189/.305/.267 with the Lugnuts, hitting just three doubles and two triples in 105 plate appearances with a 26.7% strikeout rate and 11.4% walk rate. After moving to Vancouver, he hit .184/.250/.218 with just a double and two triples in 44 games, seeing his strikeout rate go down to 18.4% while his walk rate also fell, to 7.4%. I can see Abbadessa getting another shot at Lansing but his confidence also needs a boost after his 2019 season.
Adrian Ramos, 21, was a 2018 draftee, coming out of Miami-Dade College in the 19th round and the Puerto Rican was excellent in the GCL in 2019. Moved up to Vancouver in his Age-21 season, he struggled mightily, hitting just .104/.290/.157 with a double, a triple and a home run among his 12 hits in 146 plate appearances. Ramos’s strikeout rate jumped to 27.4% but his walk rate also spiked to 17.1% while his BABIP slipped to .149. While some regression can be expected, I think Ramos will need to prove himself at Vancouver again before he moves into full-season ball.
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