2016 Canadian draft list
Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
We have a new leader.
Not by much … but we have a different face atop our ratings with the annual June amateur draft of high schoolers sand collegians less than 15 weeks away.
On top by half a step of our 21st annual Canadian Baseball Network top Canadians draft eligible list is OF Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.) of the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, coached by Tanner Watson (Arnprior, Ont.) and the Canadian Junior National Team, coached by Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, Ont.).
And half a step back heading into the June 8-10 draft is 1B-OF Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays, coached by Dan Bleiwas (Thornhill, Ont.) and Canadian Junior National Team.
Orimoloye, who has signed a Letter of Intent to Oregon is the top rated Canuck by Baseball America, the Perfect Game Scouting Service and MLB.com Pipeline. The outfielder is 11th on BA’s latest top 100 high schooler list, 16th on PG top 500 HS compilation and 33rd on the MLB.com Pipeline top 50 list. When it comes to combined lists Orimoloye is 37th on PG’s top 250 combined list (high schoolers and college players) and 38th on BA top 50 combined list.
Naylor sits 31st on PG’s top 500 HS prospects and 52nd on BA’s top 100 HS list, while on the PG top 250 combined list he’s 68th on PG top 250 combined aggregation.
What players are this close beauty is all in the eye of the beholder (scouting director or cross checker).
Does a team want a five-tool player to dream on with a ceiling nudging that ring around the CN Tower?
Well, that’s Orimoloye. He does not have a lengthy track record amongst evaluators, but at the Area Codes in Long Beach last fall he was the best player on the field. He hit .642 (9-for-14) with a triple, homer, 7 RBIs and six stolen bases, prompting one veteran scout to call him the “best all-round athlete from Canada in a decade.”
Yet, the next week when Orimoloye visited Jupiter for the PG World Wood Bat championships he hit .167 (2-for-12) with a double, an RBI, four walks and three steals.
Or does a club want a power bat? That’s Naylor.
The Texas Tech commit is more of a finished product with a longer track record and has been described as the best high school power bat in North America. His power is through the roof and has enjoyed and dominated the big stage: internationally with Canada, excelling at the POWER SHOWCASE at Marlins Stadium in Miami and losing in the final of the junior home run derby at Target Field in Minneapolis last year during the all-star festivities.
The rest of the top five include:
_ LHP Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.) an Ontario Prospects grad, with the Arizona State Sun Devils, who excelled with the Bourne Braves on Cape Cod for the second straight summer.
_ RHP Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) of the Calgary PBF Redbirds where he pitches for coach Jim Lawson and Chris Reitsma and Canadian Junior National Team. He’s headed to Cal Berkeley. And this is where belongs on the talent scale — without figuring in signability.
_ SS Daniel Pinero (Toronto, Ont.), an Ontario Blue Jays grad, with the Virginia Cavileers. Pinero became the first freshman to start for UVA since Mark Reynolds. Scouts like his arm but think his future may lie at third base. He has not shown power to play the corner … but it’s early.