MLB Draft: Top Canadian Picks
This year’s Major League Baseball Draft is upon us. The first day is scheduled for July 17 in Los Angeles, and MLB Draft betting on the up-and-coming talent is in full swing.
The Baltimore Orioles are granted the first pick in 2022 after a dismal performance in the 2021 regular season. Next up will be the Arizona Diamondbacks, followed by the Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Washington Nationals. The Blue Jays have been allotted the 23rd overall pick, and won’t be up again until pick 60.
Right now, the top contenders for the first overall pick are Druw Jones (-230), Termarr Johnson (+400), Jackson Holiday (+450), Brookes Lee (+850), and Elijah Green (+1000).
Of course, the first picks aren’t always the ones that make the biggest difference when they eventually sign. Sometimes, the brightest stars on the field are those MLB players who were picked a little later on in the MLB Draft process, and there are some notable examples of this over the years: think Chris Carter, Greg Holland, and Adam Duvall.
As we often see, there is ample interest in players from Canada given the country’s record of producing big names like Larry Walker, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Joey Votto. In 2022, the list of eligible Canadians is pretty long. None of them are currently contenders for early selection, but they could still make a big impact with their skills and experience.
Here are the current top prospects for MLB odds in Canada.
Ryan Leitch is a 20-year-old catcher and right-fielder who plays for Marshall University. Originally from Whitby, Ontario, he completed high school in 2019 and entered the June draft that year. However, despite being picked by the Cincinnati Reds in the 30th round, he opted to build his skills at college first.
This has made Leitch a more attractive prospect for MLB teams as he’s had time to prove himself and advance as a player. During his shortened 2020 collegiate season, he got 38 at-bats across 14 games, managing six hits, six runs, and a homer. The following year, Leitch made 291 hits, 17 runs, and 10 home runs from 111 at-bats and 32 games.
With stats like that, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. But in 2022, Leitch stepped everything up a gear, getting personal bests in just about every stat with a batting average of .307, 39 runs, and 12 home runs from 66 hits from 53 games.
He’s tall, built well, and proven he has the skills, which makes him one of our top hopefuls for Canadian MLB odds.
Next up for draft odds in Canada is Malik Williams, a player who recently finished his senior year at Lipscomb University where he spent his time on first base and in the outfield. He is, by far, the best Canadian player in his category, naturally making him an attractive pick to any team.
As the only Canadian MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays are one of the franchises most likely to select Williams, simply for the fact that they’ve got more eyes on the ground at the high school level where he would have first appeared on their radar.
In 2021, Johnson played in 40 games and started all but two of them, finishing the season with a .320 batting average, 49 hits, and 23 RBI. He built on these impressive stats in his final college season to get a final batting average of .355 across his NCAA career.
Originally from Niagra Falls, Ontario, Owen Diodati is a 6’2 designated hitter, left-fielder, and right-fielder. Like Leitch, he has already been drafted once back in 2019, but he chose to go to college instead.
The Toronto Blue Jays, who picked him three years ago in the 29th round, may be showing a lot more interest in this Canadian talent after his college career. In his senior year, Diodati started 41 of the 49 games he played in, splitting his time between the outfield and as a designated hitter. During this season, he picked up a .242 batting average with 27 runes and eight homers.
However, unlike Williams and Leitch, he hasn’t managed to make a huge step up over his college career, so some questions remain over how much room for improvement he has in the major leagues.
Originally from Montreal, Antoine Jean is a starting pitcher who also entered the 2019 draft. After graduating from École Édouard-Montpetit, he was handpicked by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th round, but chose to enrol at Alabama instead.
Jean had a strong freshman season, earning Freshman All-America and being named to the Second Team All-Canadian at the end of 2020, thanks in part to his 3.18 ERA. Despite the impressive start, Jean’s career hasn’t been following a similar trajectory in 2021 and 2022.
In 2021, Jean became a regular weekend starter until he missed five consecutive weekend games due to injuries that then resulted in him being sidelined for a further month. 2022 wasn’t much better, making only 11 appearances and six starts and missing more than a month of games due to injuries.
If he can stay clear of the team doctors, Jean could be a strong asset to an MLB team, but his injuries are going to leave the draft pickrs with some serious questions.
Adam Maier is a right-handed pitcher from North Vancouver. He’s moved around a lot in the last three years, first enrolling at the University of British Columbia in 2020 before moving to the University of Oregon in 2022. In between, he competed for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox summer team in the Cape Cod League after the NAIA season was cancelled in 2021.
During that first season, Maier managed an ERA of 2.84, though he went way beyond that with 4.55 at Yarmouth-Dennis. While playing for the Oregon Ducks this season, he went 4.02, but had to sit out several games due to injury.
Despite Maier being linked to the Blue Jays by several pundits, Oregon coach Mark Wasikowski believes he’ll still be at college next year. We don’t have a strong feeling either way, but on the subject of Maier’s promising MLB career path, we remain on pretty firm ground.
These Canadian players may not be leading the books for MLB draft betting overall but, nonetheless, with some impressive stats behind them and a long career ahead, they each have a solid chance to make some waves and turn some eyes towards Canada.
The MLB draft odds in Canada are winding up at lightning speed at the Bodog sportsbook, so catch them while they’re still hot bet-slip property.