As the echoes fade from the cheers for the York Lions, first champions of the Bull League’s CIS Canadian collegiate circuit, and the offseason begins, the Canadian teams have made some changes to their rosters that promise some big-league future talent for 2018.
Top of the heap is University of Toronto Varsity Blues third baseman Joe Maurel, an 18-year-old from Maple Ridge, BC, who joined the roster two weeks ago and will spend the school year training for next season.
U of T ended up 4th in the OUA East, with a record of 9-9, a dismal showing for a team with such promising talent such as pitcher Mike House (0.75 ERA) and outfielder Dave Goodchild (.268 avg, 16 RBI). Maurel adds a huge potential for contact and plate discipline from his high school and regional baseball experience.
City rivals, Ryerson Rams, have added 18-year-old Puerto Rican pitching phenom Willie Torrez, who is studying gender introspection at “Rye High”. Torrez tore up little league and was an All-Puerto Rican high school ace, and is said to have a 96 mph fastball. Manager Ken Reed has already said Torrez will anchor the starting rotation next fall, supplementing solid performers like sophomore Roger Fry (2.39 ERA) and senior Jess Dumond (2.29 ERA).
Waterloo Warriors have added Melville, Saskatchewan’s 17-year-old cannon-armed reliever Mike Campeau. The agri-technology student is said to be a complete package closer, with dominant stuff and an ability to place the pitches around the box to his liking. His fastballs ring up at 94 mph but players who faced him in provincial finals last year have described them as “moving” heaters that are difficult to hit.
Over in the CCBA, St. Francis Xavier X-men have added 18-year-old Andy Yuke at first base, who is said to have potential for going yard often, and was good at fighting off bad pitches in sandlots around his hometown of Montreal.
Brossard, Quebec’s Jonathan Brewer is a 17-year-old freshman at Concordia who will man second base for the Stingers next season, his sophomore year. A solid line drive hitter, he tees up fastballs with regularity, and will spend the winter working on hitting off-speed pitches.
The CIS teams did not have a lot of movement among managers, except for the University of Ottawa Gee Gees, who fired manager Tom Benson after a lame 4-12 result this season. The team has not announced a replacement yet.
Concordia Stingers signed Alex Banks to a 2-year extension after a promising 10-6 finish, just 1 game behind rivals McGill, and which earned a playoff wildcard spot.