Bigger is Better: 2021 Canton Longshoremen Draft Recap

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Updated: April 1, 2015
Bigger is Better: 2021 Canton Longshoremen Draft Recap

Written by Stevedores_Fan_Bob, Special to The Record

b_is_b imageDraft day 2021 dawned on a Canton Longshoremen organization in a much different place than it has been on the last few draft days.  Long a laughingstock, the Longshoremen’s organization is now considered home to one of the top minor league systems in PEBA, ranked 6th by the prestigious OSA scouting service before this season.  Thanks to a draft eve trade, the Longshoremen entered the draft with the lowest top pick in the current leadership’s 7-year history, the 22nd overall, but the most first day draft picks in that period, with 6 selections out of the first 90 players taken, and 9 selections in the first five rounds.  All told, the Longshoremen selected 18 players, the most in franchise history, with hopes of signing all 18.

1/22 SP Edward Adams, Purdue

The Spider

The Spider

Adams was a starter at Purdue, but his 2-pitch repertoire and inability to get out of the 6th inning consistently had him falling unexpectedly far down draft boards. Adams went 5-2 in 14 starts as a college senior, and recorded a 2.01 ERA.  The Longshoremen view “Spider” as a future closer, and one who could rise quickly through the ranks. At just 5’8”, the side-arming right-hander’s out pitch is a hammer slider that he is not afraid to throw on any count and that induces tons of groundballs.

2/8 C Masaki Matsuoka, Guantanamo High School

A left-handed hitting catcher from a newly-established international high school circuit isn’t the direction you’d expect the normally conservative Canton draft war room to go with a high second round pick.  So many watchers were shocked to hear this 18 year old’s name called at the podium so soon. The 6’3”, athletically built “Nugget” hit 28 HR in 276 high school at bats, and walked in over 24% of his plate appearances.  Defensively, though raw, Matsuoka is nimble behind the plate and has a good-but-not-great arm.

2/9 SP Iwao Rin, Chuo University

A 3-time International League All-Star closer, Rin racked up 53 college saves in 83 appearances, striking out 107 batters in 83 innings.  A classic fastball-slider right-hander who sits in the mid-to upper 90s with his fastball, Rin is expected to move quickly if he can overcome some on-again, off-again control hiccups.

3/4 CF Jimmy Shelton, Cy-Fair High School

What’s going on here? A high draft pick gets used on a high school outfielder? And one who played sparingly as a junior and senior?  “Sometimes you have to trust your stringer scouts,” said Longshoremen assistant GM Jay Wells, “Our Texas stringer raved about the guy and he has been right far more often than he’s been wrong.”  Shelton projects to be a center fielder, with plus range, plus-plus speed, and good makeup.

3/8 CF Vaclav Verlaan, Hamilton University (Canada)

Worries about the level of competition in the revamped International College League were strong enough to leave that circuit’s Outstanding Hitter undrafted as the Longshoremen got set to make their second of three picks in the third round. The left-handed hitting Dutch native is raw, but still managed to hit 30 home runs in 293 at bats in two seasons for the Terrors. A two-time All-Star, Verlaan has a good feel for the outfield despite so-so speed, and at the plate is considered a boom-or-bust prospect.  If he can make contact enough, his raw power could make him a perennial All-Star at the PEBA level.

3/20 CF Norberto Peralta, Washington State

Good centerfielders come in threes? In case you’re keeping score, that’s three third round draft picks, and three centerfielders taken.  Peralta has been here before, as he was drafted in the second round of the 2018 draft by Aurora out of Lakewood High.  Peralta passed up Aurora’s contract offers and spent three years as the starting centerfielder for the Palouse before entering the draft again as a draft-eligible junior.  A 317/380/519 career hitter in college, Peralta probably is a safe bet to be at least a 4th outfielder in PEBA, or more if he can learn to take a walk and translate his raw defensive tools into better outcomes in centerfield.  Of the three third round centerfielders, Peralta is the most advanced, and the most likely to skip short season A-ball.  Peralta was a 2-time college All-Star and a 1-time high school All-Star.

4/7 SP Bryan Metcalf, Memphis

It took the Longshoremen until their seventh player chosen to pick a true starting pitcher, a rarity as compared to recent Longshoremen drafts.  Metcalf was a three-year member of the Belles’ rotation, and the Friday night starter as a junior and senior.  A team leader, Metcalf was a reliable, rubber-armed starter who kept the ball in the park, kept runners off base, and struck out nearly a batter an inning.  The lefty has 4 pitches that he can spot for strikes: a fastball, a slider that is a work in process, and two offspeed pitches.  He will likely start in full season-A ball. 

5/7 RF Pedro Castro, South Florida

A career 342/407/592 hitter in two years for the Citrus, Castro is a brawny corner outfielder with power potential.  In many ways, Castro is similar to Peralta, with more power, but no ability to play centerfield. 

5/19 CL Will Douglas, Iowa

So we meet again.  Douglas is only in the draft because he wouldn’t sign the Longshoremen’s bonus offer as a 4th round draft pick last season. Presumably his agent will be more pliable one year and one round later.  Back when he pitched, Douglas was a prototypical college closer, slamming the door 40 times in four seasons, plus three postseason saves.  A right-hander who can dial it up to 95 with his fastball, the Longshoremen believed a year ago, and continue to believe, that there is some projection left in in Douglas’s 6’3”, 220 pound frame.

6/7 MR Steve Sheffield, Washington State

Like his Palouse teammate Norberto Peralta, Steve Sheffield has been here before. Unlike Peralta, Sheffield improved his draft stock in his time in Pullman, getting plucked in the 6th round rather than the 10th round.  A swing man for Wazoo, Sheffield stumbled until his final junior year, when he went 4-2 with 2 saves and a 3.78 ERA in 47-plus innings of relief. Twice-drafted status aside, it would be a surprise if Sheffield grew to be anything more than a LOOGY at the PEBA level.

7/7 SP Jaime Vela, Notre Dame

A clubhouse leader for the Evangelists, the starter-turned-reliever has a standard 4-pitch repertoire that he used to garner 13 saves when pressed into service as a closer his senior season.  He has good enough stuff and good enough mechanics that he could turn into major leaguer some day.  Stranger things have happened.

9/7 MR Bryce King, Rutgers

After skipping round 8 (traded to Manchester for Artie Thompson), the Longshoremen tabbed a college middle reliever with less than 7 innings pitched. King is a righty who looks to be a roster filler at best for the Low-A squad.

10/7 CL Kohei Toiguchi, Asia U.

Toiguchi bounced between the bullpen and the rotation during his college career, which culminated in a breakout senior season that saw him strikeout 26 batters in 27+ innings. A right hander who throws in the low nineties isn’t particularly exciting, but at this stage of the draft, stamina, a four pitch repertoire, and some projectability are more than you can hope for.  Toiguchi has all of those attributes, so he should get at least a year or two to try to make a career out of this whole baseball thing.  

11/7 MR Natsu Yokoyama, Atletico Castille Sociedad Deportiva

Yokoyama is nothing more than a commodity arm that will have to make great strides to ever get close to making a PEBA roster.  He is right-handed, throws his fastball in the low nineties, and has sub-par secondary offerings.  His solid pitching performance in the iCol postseason will probably be the highlight of his career.  

12/7 SP Chris Stout, St. John’s

If you can find a LOOGY in the 12th round, that’s about the best for which you can hope.  It would take a lot of work and some luck for Stout to turn into that – after all, his senior season’s ERA of 5.78 was emblematic of his college career.  If you squint, however, you see that stout held college left-handed hitters to a 565 OPS.

 

13/7 MR Nobuharu Nakashima, Delft U.

Another low pick, another fungible 90ish mile per hour fastball throwing arm. Nakashima has the added disadvantage of being undersized.  He does, however, throw three pitches that could be major league adequate if everything breaks right.  So his 99th percentile outcome would be as a marginal major league starter rather than a marginal major league reliever.

14/7 SP Roy Calder, San Juan College

An Englishman, Calder will always have his 2021 iCol Championship ring to remind him of when he used to pitch.  That will be handy, because he will be lucky to last even a full season of short-season A-ball.

 

15/7 MR Bruce Harris, Minnesota

The Gopher

The Gopher

Harris is more interesting than the guys taken in the previous several rounds before him: (1) he’s a lefty, (2) he throws in the mid-nineties, (3) he induces ground balls.  That and $6.95 will get him a medium latte, of course, but at least it’s something.