November 15, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Some Canadian baseball news and notes from the past few days:
Guardians designate Quantrill for assignment
The Cleveland Guardians designated right-hander Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) for assignment on Tuesday. The 28-year-old right-hander, who was limited to 19 starts with the Guardians in 2023, was projected to make $6.6 million in arbitration this coming season, so it was a cost-cutting move by the Guardians. Still, with two years of team control remaining and one season removed from Quantrill’s outstanding 15-5 campaign, the move comes as a surprise. The Canuck righty should garner plenty of interest from other clubs. Quantrill completed an injury-riddled 2023 season with a 4-7 record and a 5.24 ERA in 99 2/3 innings, but he finished strong, registering a 2.76 ERA in his final six starts.
Quantrill honed his skills with the Ontario Terriers and the Junior National Team before starring at Stanford University. He was selected eighth overall by the San Diego Padres in the 2016 MLB draft and he played parts of three minor league seasons in their organization before making his big league debut on May 1, 2019. After being employed both as a starter and reliever during his major league tenure with the Padres, Quantrill was dealt to the Guardians on August 31, 2020, as part of a package for right-hander Mike Clevinger.
In 2021, he began the season in the Guardians’ bullpen but joined the starting rotation on May 31 and proceeded to go 8-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 22 starts. He was even better in 2022 when he led the Guardians and set a career-high with 15 wins (fourth in the American League). The 6-foot-3 right-hander also hurled a career-best 186 1/3 innings and posted a 3.38 ERA. His 32 starts were tied for the second-most by an American League starter.
Guardians add Smith to their 40-man roster
On the same day they designated Quantrill, the Guardians added Canadian right-hander Cade Smith (Abbotsford, B.C.) to their 40-man roster. The 6-foot-5 Canuck struck out 95 batters in 62 2/3 innings in 47 appearances between double-A and triple-A in 2023. Signed by the Guardians as a free agent in 2020 out of the University of Hawaii, the Junior National Team and Abbotsford Cardinals grad fanned a combined 68 batters in 43 innings between Low-A and High-A in his first pro season. He was even better in 2022 when he finished a combined 4-2 with 13 saves and a 2.93 ERA, while striking out 99 batters in 61 innings, in 44 relief outings between High-A and double-A. The 24-year-old Smith was also impressive out of the bullpen for Canada at the World Baseball Classic in March.
Julien finishes seventh in AL Rookie of the Year voting
ABC and Junior National Team alum Edouard Julien (Quebec City, Que.) finished in seventh place in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. The Minnesota Twins second baseman received two third-place votes. The results were announced on Monday. Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson was the winner.
After going 7-for-13 with two home runs as Canada’s leadoff hitter in the World Baseball Classic, Julien vaulted up the Twins’ prospects ranks and into the major leagues. During 109 regular season games with the Twins, Julien set a record for most home runs by a Canadian second baseman in a major league season with 16. He also topped Twins’ regulars in walks (64) and OBP (.381). His OBP was second among major league rookies and he led Canadian major leaguers in OBP and WAR (2.6). And when he belted a solo home run in the sixth inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros, he became the first Canadian rookie to homer in the post-season.
Caissie named Cubs’ Hitting Prospect of the Year by MLB Pipeline
Fieldhouse Pirates and Junior National Team grad Owen Caissie (Burlington, Ont.) has been named the Cubs’ Hitting Prospect of the Year by MLB Pipeline. After starting the year with a home run and four RBIs in three games for Canada at the World Baseball Classic, Caissie proceeded to have a breakout campaign with the double-A Tennessee Smokies. In 120 games, he batted .289 with 22 home runs and 84 RBIs. He also had 31 doubles, a .399 on-base percentage (OBP) and a .918 OPS. For his efforts, he was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. He was also selected to the Southern League’s All-Star Team, to the MLB All-Prospects First Team and to the Cubs Organization All-Star Team by Minor League Baseball (milb.com).
Macko selected to the Toronto Blue Jays’ 40-man roster
The Toronto Blue Jays added left-hander Adam Macko (Stony Plain, Alta.) to their 40-man roster on Tuesday, ahead of the upcoming Rule 5 draft. Macko is the pitching prospect the Blue Jays acquired from the Seattle Mariners, along with reliever Erik Swanson, for outfielder Teoscar Hernandez on November 16, 2022. Born in Slovakia, Macko was raised in Stony Plain, Alta. The young southpaw honed his skills with the Vauxhall Academy Jets. Selected in the seventh round of the 2019 MLB draft by the Mariners, the 6-foot left-hander struck out 60 batters in 38 2/3 innings in High-A in 2022. Just 22, he’s likely a couple of years away from contributing to the Blue Jays’ big league squad, but he owns a devastating curveball. In 20 starts for High-A Vancouver in 2023, he posted a 5-5 record with a 4.81 ERA and had 106 strikeouts in 86 innings.
Procyshen becomes minor league free agent
Veteran catcher Jordan Procyshen (Calgary, Alta.) is a minor league free agent. He split the 2023 campaign between the Texas Rangers’ double-A and triple-A affiliates and batted a combined .250 with a .363 OBP and a home run and 12 RBIs in 28 games. That was his third season in the Rangers’ organization but his first taste of triple-A action. Originally selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 14th round of the 2014 MLB draft out of Northern Kentucky University, the Okotoks Dawgs Academy and Junior National Team grad has played parts of nine professional seasons in the Red Sox, Dodgers and Rangers systems. In 437 games, he has hit .230 with 29 home runs. The 30-year-old backstop has also suited up for Canada in multiple international competitions, including on the silver medal winning squad at the 2019 Pan Am Games.