OTTAWA - The Pittsburgh Pirates hold the first overall selection in the 2021 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft that runs from July 11th - July 13th with 20 rounds scheduled for the three-day event.
As is tradition, Baseball Canada will be providing live updates each time a Canadian player gets selected via our Twitter (@baseballcanada) account with coverage also planned on Instagram (baseballcanada) and Facebook with a recap of the day’s action on baseball.ca.
WHAT/WHEN: The annual Major League Baseball Draft (or Rule 4 Draft) gets underway on July 11 (7pm ET MLB Network/MLB.com) with the first 36 selections (First Round, Compensation Picks, Competitive Balance Round A) and continues July 12 (1PM ET) with the second through tenth rounds and concludes on July 13 (Noon ET) with rounds 11-20.
WHO: There are generally three groups of players that are eligible for the MLB First-Year Player Draft:
- High School — Generally, only those high school students in the United States or Canada who have completed their fourth school year following the date that the student’s class entered its freshman year of high school (i.e. ninth grade).
- College — Generally, a student at a four-year college is eligible after completion of their junior year or if the student is at least 21 years old.
- Junior College — All junior college students are eligible for selection. The applicable Major League Rules are more specific than this general answer. Players with specific questions about eligibility should consult a Major League scout or Office of the Commissioner of Baseball.
- "Regions" eligible for the draft include Canada, Puerto Rico, the United States and US territories. Players from other countries are considered international free agents and must adhere to MLB’s international signing rules.
CANADIAN MLB DRAFT FACTS:
- Canada has been a “draft region” since 1991. Prior to that, Canadians playing in Canada were Free Agents, while Canadians playing at US Colleges or Universities were eligible for the draft.
- The first player drafted out of Canada was Jason Wuersch from Leamington, Ontario when the New York Yankees used their 11th round selection (282nd overall) to take the outfielder in 1991. A record 48 Canadians were selected in the 2002 MLB First-Year Player Draft, marking the highest total since Canadians became eligible for the draft in 1991.
- The 2002 draft produced the highest ever selection for a Canadian born player as the Baltimore Orioles selected Surrey, BC native Adam Loewen with the fourth overall selection. The 2002 draft also produced the highest number of Canadians who went on to play in the big leagues including Jeff Francis (Rockies), Joey Votto (Reds), Jesse Crain (Twins), Chris Leroux (Devil Rays), David Davidson (Pirates), Luke Carlin (Tigers), Scott Mathieson (Phillies), Russell Martin (Dodgers), George Kottaras (Padres) and Chris Robinson (Mets).
- Ten years ago, in 2011, there were 35 Canadians selected in the MLB Draft headlined by Tom Robson, a right-handed pitcher from Ladner, BC who went in the fourth round to the Toronto Blue Jays to be the first Canadian taken off the board.
- Junior National Team grad, Jesen Therrien, a right-handed pitcher from Montréal, was the only Canadian selected to have reached the major leagues.
- Of note in the 2011 draft was the selection of Trevor Gretzky by the Chicago Cubs in the seventh round. Gretzky is the son of “The Great One”, Hockey Hall of Famer and four-time Stanley Cup champion, Wayne Gretzky.
- In 2020, five Canadian-born players were selected in the MLB draft led by Junior National Team outfielder Owen Caissie (Burlington, ON) who was the first Canadian chosen when the San Diego Padres selected him in the second round, 45th overall. Caissie is now a member of the Chicago Cubs organization after being part of the Cubs’ return for Yu Darvish.
- Since 1999, players that have played with the Junior National Team program have accounted for 370 draft selections.
NAMES TO WATCH:
Canadians on Baseball America’s Top 500 draft prospects list:
#82 2B Tyler Black (Toronto, ON) Wright State
#86 OF Denzel Clarke* (Pickering, ON) Cal State Northridge
#132 RHP Micah Bucknam (Abbotsford, BC) Abbotsford Cardinals
#151 RHP Jordan Marks (Brights Grove, ON) South Carolina-Upstate
#203 RHP Eric Cerantola* (Oakville, ON) Mississippi State
#273 RHP Calvin Ziegler* (Heidelberg, ON) Great Lake Canadians
#304 LHP Mitch Bratt (Newmarket, ON) Junior National Team/Toronto Mets
#371 LHP Adam Shoemaker (Cambridge, ON) Great Lake Canadians
#467 3B Damiano Palmegiani* (Surrey, BC) JC of Southern Nevada
*Junior National Team alumni
Canadians on MLBPipeline.com Top 250 draft prospects list:
#57 Tyler Black
#98 Denzel Clarke
#123 Calvin Ziegler
#201 Jordan Marks
#214 Mitch Bratt
#245 Damiano Palmegiani
#247 Eric Cerantola
Canadian Baseball Network Top 5 Canadians ($):
#1 Tyler Black
#2 Calvin Ziegler
#3 Denzel Clarke
#4 Mitch Bratt
#5 Damiano Palmegiani
ESPN Top 200 ($):
#16 Tyler Black
#101 Calvin Ziegler
#137 Denzel Clarke
#198 Eric Cerantola