By Bob Elliott
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as evaluators examine talent leading up to the June draft.
It’s the same whether it’s next June, five years from now or 10 years ago.
Yet, an interesting number has surfaced regarding next year’s crop of Canucks heading into the 2015 selection process. The Major League Scouting Bureau looks at players in all 53 draft areas — 50 US states, Puerto Rico, Canada and Washington DC — Overall Future Potential.
Not every organization uses this method anymore but the Bureau uses OFP and it one standard scouts often examine when comparing players from across North America.
And the draft-eligible Canuck with the highest number heading into the draft?
Well, it is not 1B-OF Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays.
Nor is it OF Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.) of the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians.
And it’s not RHP Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) with the Calgary PBF Redbirds.
So, who is that masked man that scouts love?
It’s none other than LHP Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.) of the Arizona State Sun Devils, a graduate of the Ontario Prospects.
A scout has dropped a 55 (out of 80) on Kellogg, while Soroka is next with a 53. Ormiloye and Naylor are both 52s. The same scout didn’t grade Kellogg in Arizona and the high schoolers.
Does that mean Kellogg will be the top Canuck?
Teams are attracted to different things and the four Canucks are four different distinctive kind of apples:
Kellogg a crafty college pitcher who has competed against the best in the world with the Canadian Junior National Team and dominated in Pac-12 Conference.
Soroka a hard-throwing high school pitcher with a plus breaking ball.
Naylor, who some say is the best high school power bat in the draft.
And Orimoloye one of the best athletes to come out of Canada since Larry Walker, according to some scouts.
Does a team want a polished Jeff Francis-like lefty with pinpoint control, or a hard-throwing raw high schooler, a big bopper or an athlete?
While 2014 saw the lowest number of Canadians drafted — 17 drafted plus three free agent signs — was the lowest since 1991 when Canadians became eligible, next June could rival the 2002 draft.
That’s when four Canucks went in the first 61 picks of the draft:
1st (4th round) _ Orioles LHP Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) Whalley Chiefs/Canadian NationalJunior Team
1st (9th) _ Rockies LHP Jeff Francis (North Delta, BC) University of British Columbia
2nd (44th) _ Reds C Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) Etobicoke Rangers
2nd (61st) _ Twins RHP Jesse Crain (Toronto, Ont.) University of Houston