2016 Canadian draft list
Letters of Intent
By Adam Morissette
With much of Canada still covered in the white stuff and sub-zero temperatures, it seems as if baseball season is still too far off in the distance. There is hope however, as spring training camps are now open across Florida and Arizona.
The 2014 Major League baseball season saw 17 Canadians play in at least one game (while Jesse Crain and Jameson Taillon spent the year on the disabled list), which was down from 23 in 2013.
Currently, 21 Canadians are participating in big league spring training as either 40-man roster members or non-roster players with an invite to big league camp.
It was a rough start to spring training for Canadians when the newest member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Saunders, suffered a torn meniscus and will require surgery that will sideline the Victoria, BC native until sometime around the All-Star break. That initial diagnosis was later updated and now Saunders may be eligible to be back at the end of April.
Saunders is one of five Canadian players in camp with Canada’s only MLB club joining fellow newcomer Russell Martin (Montréal, Que.) along with uber-prospect Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) on the 40-man, while Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) and Jeff Francis (Delta, BC) are non-roster invitees. All five players have previously represented Canada in international competition.
Former Blue Jay Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) is now a member of the Oakland Athletics, while reliever John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) is trying to earn a spot with the Colorado Rockies after pitching for Cleveland and Pittsburgh in 2014.
Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC) is in spring training with the Colorado Rockies for the second consecutive season and enters the 2015 campaign as the defending National League batting champion. Joey Votto (Etobicoke, ON) and the Cincinnati Reds are hoping for a healthy 2015 after the former MVP missed significant time in 2014.
A complete list of Canadians in big league spring training:
(* Indicates player on 40-man roster)
*C Russell Martin (Montréal, Que.)
*OF Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.)
*OF Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC)
LHP Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.)
LHP Jeff Francis (Delta, BC)
*Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC)
Luke Carlin (Aylmer, Que.)
*Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC)
*John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.)
RHP Dustin Molleken (Regina, Sask.)
1B Jordan Lennerton (Langley, BC)
*James Paxton (Ladner, BC)
*Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, Que.)
*Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.)
Jamie Romak (London, Ont.)
Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.)
RHP Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Tex.)