(Photo via the Canadian Baseball Network website, seen here)

The resume speaks for itself – 108 MLB draft picks, 422 college placements, and 77 Canadian National Team members.

From the Pete Orrs and the Shawn Hills to the Josh Naylors and the Jordan Romanos, the prestige attached to the Ontario Blue Jays brand is unquestioned all across North America. Over the past 20 years, the youth baseball program based out of Mississauga, Ontario has not only produced some of the best names out of Canada, but has established itself as one of the more revered baseball development grounds in the entire country.

As the 2018 MLB Draft quickly approaches, Noah Naylor is the big name in the country, being groomed by the Ontario Blue Jays system. Projected to be snatched up by a team on the first day of the draft, the Naylor name has been one well known around the game for nearly a decade. It began with older brother Josh, who was selected by the Miami Marlins with the 12th-overall pick in the 2015 draft and later traded over to the San Diego Padres, and now Noah will be headlining the Canadian talent eligible for the 2018 Draft.

But this is not about Naylor or 2018 for that matter.

When you ask most people, they realize what kind of talent Naylor is. The cannon of an arm, the five-tool potential, the ability to play multiple positions. I myself have spoken to a number of MLB scouts and they will tell you, no-brainer first round pick. A catcher with a 1.80-second pop time and some juice in the bat from the left side? Who wouldn’t take a shot on a kid like that?

What I am trying to do here is to not only expose other talent in the country, especially the talent in Ontario specifically, but to shed some light on the next chapter for the Ontario Blue Jays. Because when Naylor is drafted and either signs with an MLB team or opts to play college ball at Texas A&M, life goes on inside The Matrix – and the 2019 class comes to the forefront.

Let me tell you a quick story.

The first time I’ve ever seen the Kentucky-commit Jaden Brown on a baseball field was at a Prep Baseball Report showcase over in Scarborough, Ontario. A pre-MLB Draft Pro Case back in May of 2016, which hosted some of the top calibre talent in the entire province – mainly high school seniors hoping to be seen by college recruiters or even MLB scouts.

Then a 14-year-old, Brown stepped into the box against Austin Shields, a Great Lake Canadians pitcher who was drafted by Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round just a few weeks after the event. Shields possessed a high-80s fastball and a wipeout slider. Yet, there was young Jaden, battling against one of the best amateur pitchers in the country, taking the at-bat to nine or ten pitches, fouling off some of the best stuff he has ever seen in his life.

The natural bat speed immediately stood out; the raw power, the athleticism. Today, Jaden Brown is the top Canadian prospect of the 2019 class. Another player in the absurdly talented Ontario Blue Jays system is not the only name on the horizon to keep an eye on from the exciting 2019 class.

Tyrell Schofield-Sam, Blake Buckle, Dasan Brown, and Lukas Barry are all products of the Ontario Blue Jays program and have each cemented themselves as big names within the 2019 Canadian class.

Recently joining the OBJs organization, Schofield is very quickly making a name for himself north of the border. With off-the-charts talent and some swagger to his game, Schofield impressed on the showcase circuit and for the Jays in-season, while leaving a lasting impression at Jupiter. Dasan Brown is a wiry outfielder with a plus arm, great range, and game-changing speed, while the recently reclassified Blake Buckle is a catcher/first baseman with a ton of pop in the bat.

Lastly, Lukas Barry is one of the more exciting young arms in the country. The right-hander sits 84-86 mph on his fastball and shows a great feel for his secondary stuff. With an aggressive approach on the mound, Barry is constantly in attack mode and with a big 2017 campaign under his belt has turned himself into a prospect to keep an eye on as the 2018 season nears.

An incredible resume, that only continues to grow with each passing year, the Ontario Blue Jays organization is the gold standard of youth baseball development in Canada.

And the scary part is, the best is yet to come!

Richard Birfer

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

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