2014 All-Canucks, Craig-St. Louis POY

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 * 2B Phillippe Craig-St. Louis (Gatineau, Que.) was named on first-place ballots of 50 of 59 voters for the 15th annual Canadian Baseball Network all-Canadian team, thereby earning CBN Player of the Year honors. ….

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Letters of Intent

By Bob Elliott

Steph Petronzio has been coaching in Gatineau, Que. for roughly 35 years.

His best player ever?

Phillippe Aumont, the former first round pick, the star of the 2009 World Baseball Classic and now a member of the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen.

His next best ever?

Petronzio rated infielder Phillippe Craig-St. Louis amongst the next tier.

And this was before Craig-St. Louis won the 2014 Canadian Baseball Network player of the year, the best of the 802 Canadians playing the majority of their schedule south of the border.

Playing for the Seminole State Trojans he hit .352 with 15 doubles, three triples, 10 homers and 49 RBIs in 57 games. He had a .985 OPS.

Craig-St. Louis earned the starting spot on the all-Canadian team garnering most first place votes than defending Canadian college player of the year Ryan Kellogg of Arizona State Sun Devils, who again was the top lefty.

When the Phillies season ends Aumont has returned to Sanscartier Park to see Craig-St. Louis play in the fall with the Attak de Gatineau in the Montreal AAA midget league. He also coaches Polyvalente Nicolas Gatineau, along withSebastien Boucher.

“He’s a grinder, he’s always battling, he’s a really hard competititor,” Aumont said from Gatineau. “Those were the things that Steph taught us … to battle to the end, he’s one of the few who has gone further than junior elite.

“Every time I see him he doesn’t goes do without a battle. He never gets cheated. If he’s 0-or-1 he knows in his next at-bat he can still be 1-for-2 with a base hit. If he’s 0-for-2 he still has a chance to go 1-for-3.”

When Petronzio brings his team to Florida during March break — whether it was four years ago when they were at to Vero Beach or this spring when they were at St. Petersburg — Aumont always stops by to see his old team play.

The man has not forgotten his roots. Much likeJoey Votto, Roy Halladay or Pat Hentgenwho have not forgotten where they came from or their former coaches or the scouts involved signing them.

“From what I heard he was pretty decent at Seminole,” Aumont said. “It’s a pretty good accomplishment to go to Oregon. Not many Canadians go there.”

He was tied for third amongst Canadians with Jordan Procyshen (Calgary, Alta.) of the Northern Kentucky Norse with 10 homers, four behind Midland Chaparrals teammates Chris Shaw (Winnipeg, Man.) and Chris Thibideau (Dartmouth, NS.)

Petronzio predicts if Craig-St. Louis has a good season with Oregeon he could be drafted saying “he has a build similar to Brett Lawrie … without the temper.”
Craig-St. Louis is “very aggressive, with hand-eye, co-ordination, with a very good arm,” who Petronzio projects down the road as a left fielder,

* * *

Craig-St. Louis joins a select group of former Canadian Baseball Network POY winners. A look back:

_ LHP Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.) of the Arizona State Sun Devils last year.

_  2B Maxx Tissenbaum (Toronto, Ont.) of the Stony Brook Seawolves in 2012.

_ OF Chase Larsson (Vancouver, BC), Cameron Aggies in 2011.

_ OF Marcus Knecht (North York, Ont.) Connors State College Cowboys in 2010.

_ 3B Jesse Sawyer (Calgary, Alta.), South Dakota State Jackrabbits in 2009.

_ DH Mike Gosse (Pitt Meadows, BC), Oklahoma Sooners in 2008.

_ 1B Kevin Atkinson (Surrey, BC), New Mexico Jr. College Thunderbirds in 2007.

— OF Jon Baksh (Mississauga, Ont.), Florida Tech Panthers in 2006.

— 1B Karl Amonite (Woodslee, Ont.), Auburn Tigers in 2005.

— OF Charlie MacFarlane (Lantzville, BC), Cumberland Bulldogs in 2004.

_  C Aaron McRae (Delta, BC), LSU-Shreveport Pilots in 2003.

_ OF Ryan Kenning (North Vancouver, BC), New Mexico State Aggies and RP-SS Jesse Crain (Toronto, Ont.), Houston Cougars, who shared honours in 2002.

_  LHP Jeff Francis (North Delta, BC), British Columbia Thunderbirds in 2001.

— And OF Ben Emond (Farnham, Que.), Texas Longhorns, in 2000, our inaugural year.

When it comes to long-distance bombs, as Craig-St. Louis can deliver, Petronzio has a couple of memorable.

Like when he was called up to the Attak midgets as a bantam and facing Associes Laval deposited a drive onto the batting cage in right field.

Or when the Attak visited the Ottawa Knights at Lynx Stadium, former home of the triple-A International League franchise he homered to the right centre field gap.

With long distance drive like that Craig-St Louis was soon playing for coach Joel Landry and Les Ailes Du Quebec.

So if Aumont was No. 1. Who else ranks next on Petronzio`s second tier of players?

Catchers Alex St-Jean and Nicholas Lecompte, saying how Aumont used to throw to Lecompte in the winter adding “Phillippe would say he was a better receiver than some of the pro catchers he had.”

Lloyd Simmons, the winningest coach in collegiate history, is in his 27th year coaching at Seminole. He returned in 2011 after coaching six seasons in the Kansas City Royals at the roookie-class affiliate from 2002-07 and scouting with the New York Yankees.

He managed the likes of Mitch Maier, Mike Aviles, Kila Ka’aihue, Aaron GuielMatt Diaz, Mike Coolbaugh, Jarrod Dyson, Derrick Robinson, Justin Huber and Sal Perez — all future major leaguers with the Royals. He has the ability to project. He also knows power.

“Phil has tremendous power, he made all region and we’re in a tough league,” said Simmons. “I remember several he hit several over the light poles at our home park. He’s a threat to hit the ball out every at bat.”

Simmons particularly remembers Seminole spring trip to Arizona when his Trojans played a Royals minor league club Surprise, Az. “He went deep to win that game.”
Simmons initially compares to Craig-St. Louis to Maier, “who got a cup of coffee and then got hurt.”

“He has Billy Butler type power,” Simmons said, “or Alex Gordon or Mike Moustakas power … maybe more.”

The problem with Craig-St. Louis is finding him a position. In 2013 he was an outfielder, then switched to second when the Trojans lost a second baseman.

Both Simmons and Petronzio see him as an outfielder down the road.

-St.Louis is far from Simmons’ first Canuck He coached the likes of Canadians RHP Eric Gagne ((Mascouche, Que.), LHP Eric Cyr (Montreal, Que.), LHP Denny Prata (Montreal, Que.), RHP Rob Findlay (Etobicoke, Ont.), OF Jeff Guiel (Langley, BC), RHP Brendon Stafford (Ottawa, Ont.).

Simmons has three Canucks Trojans heading into next spring LHP Christopher Sauvé-Gebhardt (Mascouche, Que.), OF Philippe Berthiaume (Lac St-Charles, Que.) and RHP Tristan Legault (Repentigny Que.)

“I like those French Canadian kids, I like all those Canadian kids,” Simmons said. “Why? Because they’re tough.”

* * *

Our voters included … 18 coaches, from elite programs to colleges on both sides of the border; 17 writers (nine from the Canadian Baseball Network) and others who write about the draft and college ball, 11 scouts, nine suits (executives, front-office staff), three former players, zero broadcasters and one agent.

Our electorate came from eight different provinces and seven states.

Voting was done on a 5-3-1 basis.

And as usual IF you failed to turn in your ballot you have lost your right to complain.

* * *
First Team
Left-hander _ Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.) Arizona State Sun Devils.
The defending Canadian Baseball Network Canadian College Player of the Year did not defend his title.

Yet, he’s still the best lefty in the land earning First Team honors after he went 8-3 with a 3.76 ERA in 16 starts as he earned First Team All-Pac-12 honours for the second straight year.

Since he arrived in the valley, Kellogg is 19-4 record, including 14-1 in conference play, in two seasons, tossing 103 innings in consecutive seasons with quality starts in 17 of his 32 career starts, including nine in 2013 and eight in 2014

Kellogg has seven wins over ranked opponents (three in 2013 and four in 2014) including two top-five road wins over Oregon State, two top-10 wins over Oregon (one road) and two ranked wins over UCLA (one road), he’s a two-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week award winner, four-time Scholar Baller honoree and a two-time On Deck Circle MVP and the team’s Pitcher of the Year.

He was fourth in wins by Canucks, two behind Aaron Dick and one behind Conor Lillis-White and Brock Dykxhoorn.

Kellogg, who pitched the second most innings (103) amongst Canadians, was tied for third in wins (eight) and was sixth in strikeouts (66) played for Rich and Rob Butler’s Ontario Prospects.

Right-hander: Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) Stanford Cardinal.

Voters didn’t go with numbers when naming the best right-hander. Quantril didn’t lead in strikeouts (second in strikeouts amongst Canadians with 98) or wins (sixth with seven). He did lead in innings pitched: 110 2/3 innings.

What was more impressive for Quantrill, more so than a 7-5 record and a 2.68 ERA was the phrase “first freshman to start the season opener for Stanford since Mike Mussina.” He walked 34 and struck out 98 holding opponents to a .221 averages.

Quantrill earned Louisville, Perfect Game All-American and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors, as well as earning All-Pac-12. He was named to the Bloomington Regional All-Tournament Team where he had two wins.

Quantrill pitched the opener — a complete-game 8-1 win over the Indiana State Sycamores as he needed only 104 pitches — 75 strikes — allowing one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out six.

In the final with two out and runners on first and second in the seventh, he popped up the third-place hitter to end the threat. He allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth and pitched a scoreless ninth. Stanford won on a walk off.

In picking up the two wins he pitched 11 1/3 innings allowing two runs — one earned — on eight hits and two walks. He struck out six in his 142 pitches 93 of them for strikes. His 110 2/3 innings were the most logged by any Canuck this spring.

Quantrill who pitched seven innings allowing two earned runs in a no-decision against Vanderbilt at the Nashville Super Regional, pitched for the Ontario Terriers and coach Scott Van de Valk.

Reliever: Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

Romano became the first Oral Roberts reliever selected in the June draft in four years. He led the Southland Conference with 12 saves, earning him the honor as the Southland Relief Pitcher of the Year and a third team All-Southland selection. It was the third most saves in ORU program history, and the most by a Golden Eagle since Justin Ramsey had 13 in 2004.

Romano finished the season with a 2.66 earned run average, striking out 49 batters in 40 2/3 innings of work. He didn’t allow a home run this season and opponents only had a .221 average against the Golden Eagle closer.

Before joining Oral Roberts, Romano played two seasons at Connors State College leading the Cowboys to an NJCAA Div. I World Series appearance in 2013. He made 10 starts during his sophomore season, compiling a 4-3 record with a 4.74 ERA. He led all Canucks with 12 saves.

Roamno, who played for the Ontario Blue Jays under coaches Danny Bleiwas and Shawn Travers, was drafted in the 10th round by the Toronto Blue Jays and scout Dallas Black.

Catcher _ Chris Shaw (Winnipeg, Man.) Midland Chapparals.

Shaw hit .384 in 2014 season, with 14 homers and 63 RBIs, finished his two seasons in Texas with a .390 average, 25 homers and 127 RBIs in two season. With the Chaps he led team to back-to-back regional championships and was named All-Region and All-Conference (WJCAC) honors twice.

He selected with the 435th overall pick in the 14th round by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2014 June Draft and two years before was chosen in the 38th round of the draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Before playing two seasons at Midland for coach David Coleman, Shaw played for the Okotoks Dawgs and coaches Brett Thomas, Allen Cox and AJ Fystro. Shaw who shared the home run lead with teammate Chris Thibideau, earned Canadian Baseball Network Second Team honors in 2013. He led Canucks in RBIs with 63.

First base _ Casey Power (Belle River, Ont.) Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks.

Power helped the Wisconsin-Whitewater reach the NCAA Division III World Series and once he got there he delivered at the College World Series in Appleton, Wis. …

He doubled in an 8-1 win over Southern Maine Huskies in the opener, was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in a 9-6 win over SUNY Cortland, had two hits homering to left centre and singling in the six-run eighth as Whitewater beat St. Thomas 10-4 and he two hits in a 7-0 win over the Emory Eagles in the final.

Power hit .500 (8-for-16) in the four games with a double, two homers, four RBIs and two stolen bases. Power was named to the all-tournament team.

He was fourth in RBIs by Canucks with 52 behind leader Chris Shaw (64), Nick Studer (Toronto, Ont.) of Doane and J.D. Osborne (Whitby, Ont.) of Polk State.

Power, who played for Tecumseh Thunder coach Dave Cooper, hit .345 with 16 doubles, three triples, five homers and 52 RBIs with a .875 OPS starting all 51 games.

Second baseman — Craig-St. Louis (Gatinoeau, Que.) Seminole State Trojans.

Craig-St. Louis earned a berth on NJCAA Region II All-Tournament baseball team as the Trojans ran the table. Eastern He singled in a run in a 12-3 win over the Eastern Oklahoma Mountaineers, has a pair of hits and two RBIs in a 10-6 win against the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Golden Norse and was 1-for-1, knocking in a run in a 10-1 win over the Connors State Cowboys and had two hits and an RBI in a 10-1 over Northeastern Oklahoma. In the four games he was 6-for-15 (.400) with five RBIs.

At the NJCAA D1 South Central District championship in Neosho, Mo., Seminole State fell one win short of the NJCAA World Series. Craig-St. Louis had two hits in the opener, a 4-3 loss to the Delgado Dolphins from Louisiana, the No. 2 ranked team in the country. Next, he was hitless in a 4-3 win over the Crowder Roughriders and singled in a 7-3 triumph over Delgado to force a winner-take-all final. He had three hits in the final, a 7-6 loss.

He was tied for third with Jordan Procyshen amongst Canuck with 10 homers, four behind Chris Shaw and Chris Thibideau.

Craig-St. Jacques, who played for coach Steph Petronzio and the Attak de Gatineau as well as coach Joel Landry and Les Ailes Du Quebec, earned Canadian Baseball Network Honourable Mention in 2013.

Third base _ Connor Panas (Toronto Ont.) Canisius Golden Griffins.

Panas earned Third-Team All-American honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association. He earned All-American status for the second time as he was placed on the Louisville Slugger All-America Second Team. The 2014 MAAC Player of the Year also earned ECAC Division I First-Team All-Star and Capital One Academic Second-Team All-American accolades.

A unanimous selection to the All-MAAC First Team, Panas posted a .362 average (.002 behind the leader) and led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with six home runs and 51 RBIs. He had a .574 slugging percentage and 16 stolen bases in 53 games. A two-time MAAC Player of the Week, he also earned Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors after going 8-for-11 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in a sweep at Quinnipiac.

Panas, who played for Toronto Mets coaches Ryan McBride and Rick Leitch, earned Canadian Baseball Network honourable mention honors in 2013.

Shortstop _ Chris Beer (Burlington, Ont.) Niagara County Thunderwolves.

He finished third in the conference batting race with a .417 mark, was second with 22 steals, one back of the leader, was seventh in RBIs with 34, was tied for eighth with three home runs. His average was the third highest amongst Canucks with 100 at-bats or more behind Connor Bowie (.455) and Tom Muelenthaler (.420).

In 45 games he had 58 hits (scoring 50 runs) with 14 doubles, three triples and three homers slugging .626, part of a 1.163 OPS. He had multi-hit games 15 times.

His best outings were three hits, including a triple, a homer and an RBI in a 7-5 loss against Montgomery, three hits including a pair of doubles and two RBIs in a 12-0 win facing Jamestown and three RBIs in an 8-3 win against Broome.

Beer who played for the Hamilton Cardinals and coach Gord Thompson before heading across the border to pitch for Matt Clingersmith, earned first team all region honors, was a Junior College All American and a Rawlings Gold Glove winner.

Outfielders _ Chris Thibideau (Dartmouth, NS) Midland Chaparrals, Julian Service (Sarnia, Ont.) Howard Hawks and Cole Bauml (Muenster, Sask.) Northern Kentucky Norse.

Thibideau was an infielder with the Canadian Junior National Team playing for coach Greg Hamilton. The game is a game of adjustments and Thibideau made his as he moved to left field. It’s like that old question uttered around the batting cage? Who plays right? The best hitter. Who plays left? The best hitter.

Thibideau and teammate Chris Shaw shared the lead amongst Canucks with 14 homers each. He hit .323 with 64 hits including 11 doubles, six triples the 14 homers and knocked in 49. He slugged .653, had an OPS of 1.046 and was 7-for-12 stealing bases.

His homers came against Colby, the Frank Phillips Plainsmen, the El Paso Tejanos, the New Mexico Thunderbirds and McLennan Highlanders, two facing the Luna Rough Riders, three against the Howard Hawks, including a two- homer game and four off Western Texas Westerners pitching. He earned All-Conference (WJCAC) honors.

Thibideau, who played for coach Les McTavish at the Vauxhall Academy after playing for Ken Lenihan in Dartmouth, is the first player ever from Nova Scotia to earn a berth on the Canadian Baseball Network First Team. And he’s he is the first on the team since Matthew McDonald (Dartmouth, N.S.) of the Connecticut Huskies earned Second Team honors in 2009.

Service hit .375 with 66 hits in 53 games including 18 doubles, seven triples and five homers. He knocked in 49 runs, had an 1.101 OPS while stealing 14 bases in 22 attempts.

He homered in a 6-1 win over the San Jacinto Gators, an 11-10 win against Wayland Baptist, an 11-2 win against the Midland Chapparals, a 12-5 win over the Luna Rough Riders and a 5-4 loss to Luna. Service’s best games included multi-hit games: three in a 9-3 win over Midland including three RBIs, four in a 12-5 win against the Frrank Phillips Plainsmen with a double triple and five RBIs.

He was drafted in the 40th round by the Chicago White Sox.

Service played for the Ontario Blue Jays and coaches Dan Bleiwas and Shawn Travers,

Bauml had 60 hits which included 18 doubles, a triple and seven homers. He knocked in 38 runs, stole successfully 7-of-11 tries and had an .940 OPS in his first year at Northern Kentucky after transferring from Trinidad State. He led the team with a .567 slugging percentage, fifth in the conference.

Playing centre he saw action in 46 games making 44 starts. He had a career-high seven RBIs against Florida Gulf Coast.

He earned second-team All-Atlantic Sun Conference honors.

Bauml, who played for Team Saskatchewan, coached by Greg Brons and Roger Anholt, as well as the Saskatoon Giants coached by Ron Bauml and Mark Dolan, also earned Canadian Baseball Network First Team honors in 2013.

DH _ Mitch Holgate (Windsor, Ont.) West Alabama Tigers.

Holgate batted .324 in 45 games with 58 hits — including 12 doubles, four triples and eight homers. He knocked in 37 runs, slugged .570 and stole 10 times in 14 tries. He led team in runs scored (32), total bases (102), at bats (179), slugging percentage (.570), hits (58), triples, RBIs, home runs, hit by pitch (8), and games started (45)

A model of consistency with eight multiple-hit games, including a consecutive-game hitting streak of 16 games, he had eight multiple RBI games. His 37 RBIs was tied for sixth in the Gulf Coast Conference while he tied for the GSC lead in triples, his home runs and slugging placed him second in the GSC. He was the first player in UWA history to hit for the cycle, accomplishing that feat at Spring Hill.

Holgate, who played for Richard Solomon with the Windsor Selects and Al Bernacchi with the Windsor Juniors, was named to GSC Academic Honor Roll was First team All-GSC in and Gulf South Player of the Year.

NEXT: Second and Third Teams, plus honourable mentions

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