28 OBJ NAMED TO CBN MOST INFLUENTIAL LIST
Bob Elliott and his crew of writers, scouts, coaches, players, and everyone else he has an email address for (which has to be quiet large) comes together to release the annual CBN Influential List. Each year, the list becomes longer, more detailed and with additional funny bits and pieces about those listed which Bob delivers in surprise fashion for his readers. As always, the Ontario Blue Jays are well represented throughout with former players and coaches alike getting recognition for their efforts to better the game of baseball not only in Ontario but on a national stage. Congratulations to those listed as apart of the CBN Most Influential List.
By Bob Elliott (courtesy of the Canadian Baseball Network)
35. Jordan Romano, Blue Jays (-)
Romano was a Blue Jay at an early age -- an Ontario Blue Jay. Then, he went on to pitch for the Connors State Cowboys (4-3, 3.74) and the Oral Roberts Eagles (3-4, 2.66, 12 saves). The Jays and scout Dallas Black selected Romano in the 10th round in 2010.
After appearing in 17 games for the Blue Jays in 2019, this hard-throwing righty emerged as a go-to guy in 2020. Romano was capital D dominant as he did not allow a hit or a run in his first eight outings. In all, he worked 15 games with a 1.23 ERA fanning 21 in 14 2/3 innings, while registering two wins and two saves. His season was cut short due to a finger injury. He was almost ready to return when the season ended.
48. Josh Naylor, Indians (21)
Big Money? Get that weak stuff out of here. That’s what Naylor’s bat seemed to be saying facing Gerit Cole of the Yankees in the opener of the AL Wild Card Series. He doubled to centre in the second, doubled even deeper to right centre in the fourth and singled to centre in the seventh. A 3-for-3 night facing Cole. Then he doubled to right facing reliever Luis Cezza finishing 4-for-4. Nine total bases. Alas, the Indians lost the opener 12-3. In Game 2, Naylor hit a two-run double facing Masahiro Tanaka as Cleveland went up 4-0. Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) set a record with hits in his first five postseason at bats and became the second big leaguer (tying Chris Burke with the 2005 Astros) to collect four extra-base hits in his first five playoff at bats. The Yanks won 10-9 to complete the sweep. Naylor was 5-for-7 (.714) with three doubles and a home run in two playoff games.
Naylor and RHP Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) were dealt by rock star GM A.J. Preller Aug. 31 as part of an eight-player deal, which saw the Padres land Mike Clevinger, who has undergone Tommy John surgery after four games on the coast. Quantrill worked a scoreless outing in Game 2 of Cleveland’s Wild Card Series, walking one and striking out another.
Former Ontario Blue Jay Naylor hit .247 in 40 games with the Padres and Indians with three doubles, a triple, a homer, six RBIs and a .621 OPS.
Naylor’s brother Bo (Mississauga, Ont.) also in the Cleveland system and Twins RHP Jordan Balazovic (Mississauga, Ont.) are fourth among the top 30 prospects in their respective organizations, according to MLB Pipeline.
49. Jamie Lehman, California scout, Blue Jays (50).
Lehman went from scouting and signing Canadian and New York state players to buzzing around the hotbed of California. Is the shortstop in San Diego better than the one in Sacramento? Lehman makes the call.
Lehman was heavily involved in drafting RHP Nick Frasso from the Loyola Marymount Lions. The Jays gave the fourth rounder a $459,000 signing bonus. Frasso pitched four scoreless innings in his lone start for USA Baseball in 2019 and entered the spring expected to go in the top 100 players selected. Unable to last five innings in either of his first two starts in 2020, he was shut down with forearm tightness. The 6-foot-5, 200 pounder can dunk a basketball.
The final pick Lehman made in his old job -- lefty Jake Fishman, a 30th round pick from Division III Union College in Schenectady, NY -- was selected in the Rule V draft by the Miami Marlins in December. In 2019, Fishman was 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA at double-A New Hampshire, striking out 74 in 62 2/3 innings.
77. Joey Ellison, Coach, Ontario Blue Jays (83).
The organization has been run by Danny Bleiwas, Sean Travers and now Ellison, who is in his second year as top dog for owners Stephanie and Joe Wilkinson. Ontario Blue Jays grads to make the Canadian Baseball Network all-Canadian college First Team are C Max Hewitt (Midhurst, Ont.) of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, DH Ryan Dos Santos (Mississauga, Ont.) Dodge City Conquistadors and David Mendham (Dorchester, Ont.) Connors State Cowboys, voted Canadian college Player of the Year.
On the second team were: C Garrett Takamatsu (Burlington, Ont.) of the Central Oklahoma Bronchos, SS Tyler Small (Mississauga, Ont.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Golden Norse, OF Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.) Vanderbilt Commodores and Malik Williams (Toronto, Ont.) Lipscomb Bison, plus third teamer OF Jacob Ervin (Mississauga, Ont.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
Corey Eckstein arrived from the Abbotsford Cardinals in August. Other coaches include Mike Steed (Burlington, Ont.), Tim Smith (Toronto, Ont.), ‘Everyday’ Eddie Largy (Mississauga, Ont.), Hyung Cho (Scarborough, Ont.), Conner Morro (Caledon, Ont.), Mark Kinal (Mississauga, Ont.), Tony Hrynkiw (Brampton, Ont.), Justin Marra (Toronto, Ont.), Mike Siena (Hamilton, Ont.), Pat Visca (Toronto, Ont.), Rich Clemons (Mississauga, Ont.), Shawn Schaefer (Waterdown, Ont.), Jared Kennedy (Okotoks, AB) and Kyle Mackinnon (Caledon, Ont.).
82. Dasan Brown, Blue Jays farmhand.
The highly respected Baseball America rated the former Ontario Blue Jay as being the fastest base runner, the best athlete and the best defensive outfielder in the Jays’ system. He was drafted in the third round by scout Kory Lafreniere (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.). We’re not a nation of speedsters with the single season stolen base high for Canucks at 33. Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, BC) set that mark with the 1997 Rockies, which was one more than Terry Puhl (Melville, Sask.) with the Astros in 1978.
Of course opposing pitchers didn’t retire Brown this summer -- they didn’t retire anyone as the minor leagues were scrapped due to the virus. In 2020, Brown (Oakville, Ont.) worked out with former coach Sean Travers, now of the Mississauga North Tigers. Former Ontario Blue Jays Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Vanderbilt Commodores and OF David Calabrese (Maple, Ont.), selected by the Anaheim Angels trained together in August at St. Marcellinus high in Mississauga. Then, Brown went to Dunedin.
Corey Eckstein - Director of Player Personnel/KC Royals Scout
Kevin Mitchell - Hitting Coach
Mike Steed - Pitching Coordinator
Joe & Stephanie Wilkinson - Owners
Ronan Bryne - Mental Skills Coach
Hyung Cho - Infield Coordinator
Francis Cubos - 15U Head Coach
Rich Clemons - 16U Assistant Coach
Guido Dell'Unto - 15U Associate Head Coach
Tony Hrynkiw - Catching Coach
Jared Kennedy - Assistant Pitching Coordinator
Mark Kinal - Pitching Coach
'Everyday' Eddie Largy - Catching Coordinator
Kyle MacKinnon - Roving Instructor
Justin Marra - Catching Coach
Conner Morro - Strength & Conditioning Coordinator
Shawn Schaefer - Asst. Director of Baseball Operations
Mike Siena - Director of Baseball Operations
Tim Smith - Hitting Coordinator
Pat Visca - Hitting Coach
Chris Walters - Pitching Coach
JD Williams - Infield Coach
Full list, HERE.