Burlington's Owen Caissie first of 5 Canadians taken in 2020 MLB Draft
Outfielder Owen Caissie was the first of five Canadians to be selected at the 2020 MLB Draft when the San Diego Padres took him in the second round, 45th overall on Thursday.
The 17-year-old Caissie, from Burlington, Ont., played for Notre Dame High School in his hometown as well as the Canadian junior national team. He's currently committed to the University of Michigan in the fall.
The left-handed hitting Caissie, six-foot-four, 190-pounds, is known for his power at the plate and showed it off in March when he homered against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., in a spring training game, taking 26-year-old Connor Overton deep at TD Ballpark.
That trip to Florida was the last time Canada's junior squad hit the field together before the global pandemic shutdown baseball.
Caissie was the 75th-ranked prospect according to MLB.com.
Meanwhile, Toronto-born shortstop Trei Cruz was taken 73rd by the Detroit Tigers.
He's the son of former MLB player Jose Cruz Jr., and is hoping to become a third-generation big leaguer.
The 21-year-old was originally drafted out of high school in 2017 by the Houston Astros in the 35th round and again in 2019 by the Washington Nationals in the 37th round. He turned down both, though, to attend Rice University.
Also, outfielder David Calabrese of Maple, Ont., was taken No. 82 by the L.A. Angels.
The 17-year-old played for St. Elizabeth Catholic School and is a teammate with Caissie on the Canadian junior team. Calabrese is committed to the University of Arkansas.
Ottawa-born outfielder Jordan Nwogu went to the Chicago Cubs with the 88th pick.
The 21-year-old Nwogu was 15 games into his third year at the University of Michigan before the pandemic halted his NCAA season.
And pitcher Logan Hofmann of Muenster, Sask., went No. 138 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 20-year-old was a second team All-American in his shortened 2020 season at Northwestern State, where he recorded 28 innings pitched over four starts, striking out 38 batters without allowing a single earned run.
Hofmann was previously selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 35th round in 2019 before opting to go to university.
MLB's annual draft was slashed this year from 40 rounds to five. Only 160 players were selected, down from 1,217 in 2019.
The condensed selection process — an economic measure meant to save the league nearly US$30 million in signing bonuses — was felt north of the border.
An average of 21 Canadians have been drafted each year since 2012 when the draft moved from 50 rounds to 40.