MIKE SAUNDERS, BRETT LAWRIE,
OTTAWA Baseball America has come out with its annual list of Top 100 Prospects in the minor leagues and three Canadians have made the grade.
Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) led the Canadian contingent ranking 30th in the prospects list. Joining Saunders are Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) who ranked 59th and Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, QC) who was listed 93rd.
The Baseball America standard prospect guidelines see them rank any player who has not exceeded 130 at-bats, 50 innings or 30 pitching appearances in the major leagues. Baseball America also ranked each player’s “best tool” and graded it on the 20-80 scouting scale. 50 is considered major league average.
Saunders, an outfield prospect with the Seattle Mariners, made his major league debut in 2009, hitting .221 with a double, three triples and four RBI in 122 at-bats (46 games). Baseball America ranks his power as his “best tool” and gives it a grade of 60.
The 23-year-old was a member of Team Canada at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and appeared in all seven games of the tournament, hitting .286 with two home runs, four RBI, two doubles and five runs scored.
Lawrie became the highest Canadian position player ever selected in the MLB Draft when he was chosen 16th overall in 2008 by the Milwaukee Brewers. Last season, he rose to Double-A in the
Brewers system, amassing an average of .274 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI in 118 games between Class-A and Double-A. He added 18 doubles and six triples to those totals in his first full professional season.
Baseball America marked his power as his “best tool” and gave him a grade of 65.
The 20-year-old second baseman was also a member of Team Canada at the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup in Europe. Canada went on to capture its first medal in the history of the event, held every two years, taking home a bronze medal.
Aumont, also a former first round draft choice, selected 11th overall by the Seattle Mariners in 2007, was part of the blockbuster deal that saw Roy Halladay traded to the Philadelphia Phillies and Cliff Lee move to the Mariners.
At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, the 21-year-old right hander is an intimidating presence on the mound armed with a 92-95 mph fastball. His sinker is ranked as his “best tool” by Baseball America, receiving a grade of 65.
In 2009, Aumont was used as a reliever and collected a 2-6 record with 16 saves and a 3.88 ERA in 44 appearances between Class-A and Double-A in the Mariners system. The Phillies will use Aumont in a starting role and will start 2010 in Double-A.
Aumont was a member of Team Canada for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He pitched one inning in the tournament in the game against the United States and after loading the bases, was able to get out of the frame without allowing a run, including striking out Kevin Youkilis and Curtis Granderson to end the inning.
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Baseball Canada 09 March 2010