Ones to Watch — MLB Canadians
Pitcher Matt Brash, who made his major league debut this season, took an indirect route to the bigs. This Kingston native was undrafted by the time he finished high school in 2016, so he opted to attend Niagara University in Lewiston, NY, to play as a member of the Purple Eagles. In 2019, after a couple of seasons with his college team, he was drafted in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres; as a member of the Padres organization, he played on the club’s minor league teams before being traded to the Seattle Mariners in late 2021. Brash made his first major league appearance on April 12, against the Chicago White Sox, before moving down to triple-A in early May, with the coaching staff announcing plans to transition him to the bullpen.
Port Hope, Ont.
Cal Quantrill comes by his skills honestly. The son of former major league pitcher Paul Quantrill, who played 14 seasons in the majors, this righty followed in his dad’s footsteps right to the pitcher’s mound. Initially drafted by the New York Yankees in the 26th round of the MLB draft in 2013, Cal opted to attend Stanford University instead; he spent three seasons with the Stanford Cardinals before an arm injury cut his college career short. In 2016, healed and ready to hit the field, Cal was selected in the eighth round by the San Diego Padres; he played two seasons with the Padres minor league teams before making his major league debut in 2019. He was traded to the newly renamed Cleveland Guardians in 2020, playing the 2021 season with the club; he has thrown in three games of the 2022 season.
Toronto Blue Jays
Okay, so we know that Markham is a little further afield, but we figure that Jordan playing for the Blue Jays more than makes up for the fact that his hometown is more like backyard-adjacent to Durham Region. This pitcher was also undrafted out of high school and opted to attend Connors State College in Oklahoma, where he played with the Cowboys for three seasons; he transferred to Oral Roberts University for his final college season. Romano was drafted in the tenth round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays; in the five years to follow, he played with a number of minor league clubs before being traded in December 2018 in a Rule 5 deal between Toronto, Chicago and Texas. He was returned to the Jays in March 2019. Romano has become an instrumental member of the 2022 Blue Jays roster, finding his sweet spot as the club’s highly effective closer. He set a Blue Jays record in April 2022 with his 26th consecutive converted save, extending from his record the previous year. It’s clear that Blue Jays Fever is alive and well in Canada, and we cannot wait to see this hurler do his thing from the mound this summer.
The Rogers Centre is home to the Toronto Blue Jays. After two years of fr›agmented play, the boys of summer are back for the 2022 season.