A few young Canadians are getting a shot in the majors while others make triumphant returns to their big-league clubs. In the third instalment of a monthly series, we check in on the Canadians across Major League Baseball, starting in San Diego…
Josh Naylor, Mississauga, Ont.
Naylor has made the case to become a mainstay MLBer with the Padres since having his contract selected from triple-A on May 24.
He collected his first three hits of the season in his second game against none other than the hometown Blue Jays. Since then, he has played almost every day.
His stats are pretty good for someone who’s 21 years-old: In 66 at-bats, he’s hitting .227 with two home runs and 12 RBI. It will be interesting to see how long he stays up with San Diego.
Cal Quantrill, Port Hope, Ont.
Quantrill was able to do what many Canadians dream of when they’re young ball players growing up: Win their first game on home soil.
The 24-year-old was recalled just in time for a start against Toronto at Rogers Centre and allowed three earned runs on two hits over six innings while striking out nine.
He was demoted shortly after but recalled since, making two additional starts and going five innings in each.
Mike Soroka, Calgary
The good times have kept on rolling for the 21-year-old Soroka over the past month, with dominant performances seeming to become the norm.
He started six times since our last instalment and won on four occasions. Soroka took a perfect game into the sixth inning of a May 20 start against the San Francisco Giants and finished by pitching eight innings in a 4-1 win.
#Braves & Calgary native Mike Soroka:
1st pitcher in MLB history to allow 1 or fewer earned runs in 9 of his first 11 career starts,
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 16, 2019
The right-hander went eight innings again on June 7 in Miami and currently has a 1.92 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. What’s also impressive is that he’s limited hitters to just two home runs all season while striking out 60. His worst start came last Wednesday when he allowed five earned runs against Pittsburgh.
Mike Soroka, 93mph Sinker (home plate view). pic.twitter.com/tPt85sepNJ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 21, 2019
James Paxton, Ladner, B.C.
Boos filled Yankees Stadium recently as Paxton exited his start against the rival Mets in the third inning.
The 30-year-old has had a rocky return in four starts since being activated from the injured list with left-knee inflammation. Paxton says he doesn’t think the knee was a factor behind a performance where he allowed six runs on seven hits over 2 2/3 innings.
He bounced back for a solid start on Sunday against the White Sox on Sunday, striking out seven over six innings and allowing two earned runs.
Joey Votto, Toronto
As the weather gets warmer, so does Votto’s bat.
Maybe credit the Toronto Raptors’ playoff run as part of the reason behind his recent success despite playing on the lowly Reds.
Votto finished off the month of May with five-straight multi-hit games and has carried that momentum into June. There’s only been three occasions where he hasn’t recorded a hit and he’s now slashing .255/.348/.391 for the year.
Russell Martin, Montreal
Martin has been doing his part for the NL West leading Dodgers as he slots into the lineup every other day.
His power numbers haven’t been great — only hitting two home runs all season — but he’s consistently been putting up solid at-bats.
June has been kind to Martin as he’s had three multi-hit games and is hitting .333 for the month.
Jordan Romano, Markham, Ont.
Romano was all smiles last week after pitching one shutout inning with two strikeouts for the Blue Jays during his MLB debut against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. It came just hours after Toronto called him up.
With Toronto closer Ken Giles hitting the injured list, Romano is left with a good opportunity to show his stuff at the top level.
Nick Pivetta, Victoria
Just when you thought there might not be a way back from the minors for Pivetta, he rebounded and has showed signs of dominance.
Pivetta has made three starts since being recalled from triple-A and his best one came on June 8 when he pitched a complete game and allowed just one run on six hits with six strikeouts.
The biggest sign the 26-year-old is on the right track? His ERA is now an even 5.00 — a big improvement over the 8.35 mark he left with prior to his demotion.
IN THE MINORS
Adam Hall, London, Ont.
It was an impressive first half for Hall, who hit .321 with two home runs, 24 RBI and 16 stolen bases for the Baltimore Orioles’s Class A affiliate. The 20-year-old was picked in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft and earned an all-star honour for his performance so far this season.