Canadians Shine Under Bright Rogers Centre Lights

(Photo credit to the Canadian Baseball Network)

It’s crazy to think that the fifth Tournament 12 has come and gone.

The biggest showcase of the year on Canadian soil, the Toronto Blue Jays Academy held their annual tournament under the bright lights of the Rogers Centre. With the likes of Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby, and Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar at the event, the best high school prospects from all parts of the country took centre stage from September 14-17.

While notable names such as Texas A&M commit Noah Naylor and recently committed pitcher Eric Cerantola headlined the event, players from all over the country made their mark.

An excellent weekend of baseball was highlighted by some excellent Canadian athletes. Those who separated themselves from the pack cracked the Collegiate Baseball Scouting Network All-Tournament First and Second Teams.

All-Tournament First Team 

CBBSN T12 2017 First Team

T12’s biggest name Noah Naylor struggled in-game after a long summer of non-stop travel. Nevertheless, the Ontario Blue Jays’ catcher remains one of the most polished high school prospects eligible for the 2018 MLB Draft.

After pitching for the Junior National Team in Thunder Bay during the U18 World Cup, Eric Cerantola continued dominating batters with his fastball-curveball combination, striking out 12 batters over 5 innings of work in his lone T12 start.

Outside the two big Canadian names, a variety of others continued to build their resume. The Venezuelan-born, Oregon State commit Cesar Valero showed off why he is the top 2019 prospect in not only the province of Alberta, but of all of Canada. With relaxed actions in the field and at the plate, Valero makes the game look easy. His ability to hit to all sides of the field was another aspect of his game that stood out over the busy weekend.

Two Ontario outfielders made the All-First Team as well.

Toronto Mets outfielder Denzel Clarke continued to demonstrate his wide range of tools at the plate as well as out in the field, while Dasan Brown wowed scouts with his work in the field. Despite some holes in his swing, the 16-year-old Brown showed off his cannon of an arm and great range in both right and centre field.

Another couple of names to keep an eye on moving forward are those of Tyrell Schofield-Sam and Noah Case. With plenty of talent, the two Ontario natives fit right in amongst their older opposition.

All-Tournament Second Team

It was difficult to leave off so much talent from the two All-Tournament teams.

Pitchers such as Ben Abram, Zachary McQuaid, as well the Prairies’ Connor Sparks all had incredible weekends, while Quebec catcher Martin Vincelli-Simard, Ontario infielder Noah Hull, and British Columbia outfielder Daniel Gernon all had great showings at the September classic.

Yet, tough decision were necessary.

Starting with the recently reclassified Blake Buckle who hit the lone home-run at this year’s event, the catcher showed tremendous pop from the left side of the plate as well as agile and athletic actions behind the plate.

Ontario’s Jaden Brown and British Columbia’s Justin Thorsteinson are two more future stars who will be heavily talked about for years to come.

On the mound, Griffin Hassall held his own. With an upper 80s fastball, and a nasty off-speed pitch which generated a lot of late tumbling action, Hassall was able to command the bottom half of the zone consistently over the weekend. With a high arm slot working effectively downhill, Hassall was very tough to pick up and should only continue to improve as he approaches the 2018 MLB Draft.

All in all, it was yet another exciting Tournament 12 with the Atlantic Maroon ultimately claiming T12 gold, overcoming some very formidable competition. Now, as the offseason approaches, it will be interesting to see which players take the next step in their development and continue to show promise in 2018.

Richard Birfer

Regional Supervisor of the Canadian and Midwest regions. Kinesiology graduate student, Biomechaincs and Neuroscience specialization, at Brock University.

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