It was a busy year on the transactions front as a total of 51 players wore the uniform of the Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians over the course of the 2017 season. The breakdown included 23 position players and 28 pitchers. Technically, the C’s had 29 different pitchers but one of them was a position player who had to bail out a beat-up bullpen during the low point of the season. Find out who that was as CsPlusBaseball reviews all the players that donned the C’s cap in 2017.
First, here’s a breakdown of the numbers worn by each player. Including the coaching staff, a total of 41 numbers were used. Of note, bolded names indicate the last player to wear the number at the end of the year. Also, unbolded names for numbers with just one player indicate the number was not active by season’s end.
- #1 – Lance Jones
- #2 – Mattingly Romanin, Brandon Polizzi
- #3 – Kevin Vicuna, Miguel Burgos, Chavez Young
- #5 – Deiferson Barreto
- #6 – Chavez Young, Cullen Large, Mattingly Romanin
- #7 – Matt Morgan
- #8 – Orlando Pascual
- #9 – Owen Spiwak
- #10 – Norberto Obeso
- #13 – Reggie Pruitt
- #14 – Yorman Rodriguez, Donnie Sellers
- #15 – William Ouellette
- #16 – Juan Nunez
- #17 – Jesus Severino, Riley Adams
- #18 – Orlando Pascual
- #19 – Grayson Huffman
- #20 – Miguel Burgos, Samad Taylor
- #21 – Jose Espada
- #22 – Juliandry Higuera, Justin Dillon
- #23 – Dany Jimenez, David Jacob, Travis Bergen
- #24 – Chris Hall, Joe DiBenedetto
- #25 – Wilfri Aleton
- #26 – Bryan Lizardo
- #27 – Bobby Eveld, Cam O’Brien
- #28 – Kyle Weatherly, Zach Logue
- #29 – Javier Hernandez, Logan Warmoth
- #30 – Cullen Large, Matt Morgan
- #31 – Brock Lundquist
- #32 – Matt Shannon, Nate Pearson
- #33 – Brayden Bouchey
- #34 – Dalton Rodriguez, Dany Jimenez
- #35 – Francisco Rodriguez, Brody Rodning
- #36 – Jake Fishman, Marcus Reyes
- #37 – Brandon Polizzi, Yonardo Herdenez
- #39 – Colton Laws
- #40 – Angel Alicea, Graham Spraker
- #44 – Kacy Clemens
- #4 – Rich Miller, manager
- #11 – Dave Pano, hitting coach
- #12 – Jose Mayorga, first base coach
- #48 – Jim Czajkowski, pitching coach
Without further ado, here’s the year-in-review breakdown of each player and coach to don the C’s cap in 2017.
#1. Lance Jones – OF
Notes – Led team with .423 average before retiring…Had a four-game hitting streak and three multi-hit efforts in a row…Announced his retirement in early July.
Season highlight – Went 3-for-5 with an RBI and stolen base vs. Everett June 21.
#2. Brandon Polizzi – OF
Notes – Wore #37 briefly before switching to #2…Clubbed his first professional home run vs. Everett August 20…Was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts…Was a defensive replacement in left field for all three victories in the Northwest League final for the C’s.
Season Highlight – Went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI in extra-innings win vs. Spokane July 14.
#3. Chavez Young – OF
Notes – Wore #6 in C’s debut as a pinch-runner in Eugene June 15…Batted .308 in five games with Vancouver before being sent down to Bluefield in late June…Returned to Vancouver for playoff drive wearing #3…Made diving catch and tumbled over the short fence in foul territory along the right field line for the penultimate out in the clinching Game 4.
Season Highlight – Went 2-for-4 with a home run in Game 1 victory of the Northwest League final in Eugene September 9.
#3. Miguel Burgos – LHP
Notes – Wore #20 in his first stint with Vancouver before being sent down to Bluefield at the end of July…Earned his first professional victory in Eugene July 19…Won all three of his decisions, including his last two appearances with the C’s before being promoted to Lansing in late August.
Season Highlight – Pitched three shutout frames to collect the win vs. Salem-Keizer August 15.
#3. Kevin Vicuna – SS
Notes – Put together an eight-game hitting streak July 6-16…Enjoyed three-game stretch at Salem-Keizer by going 8-for-14 with two walks and three stolen bases…Second on the team with 14 steals before being promoted to Lansing in mid-August.
Season highlight – Enjoyed perfect day at the plate by going 3-for-3 with four runs scored, two walks and a stolen base vs. Spokane June 23.
#5 – Deiferson Barreto – INF
Notes – Opened season with two-hit games in Eugene June 15 and 16…Drew the first intentional walk under new rule vs. Eugene June 29…Drew a walk and scored tying run in clinching Game 4 vs. Eugene September 12.
Season Highlight – Went 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI at Salem-Keizer July 23.
#6. Cullen Large – 2B
Notes – Opened professional career with a five-game hitting streak June 23- 28…Wore #30 before switching to #6…Hit two doubles on Canada Day vs Eugene…Went 2-for-3 and drove in game-winning run in Hillsboro August 6 before succumbing to season-ending hand injury.
Season Highlight – Went 2-for-3 with three walks and a stolen base in Everett June 27.
#6. Mattingly Romanin – INF/OF
Notes – Burlington, Ontario native went 1-for-1 with a walk and a stolen base July 3 before being pulled from the game as he was promoted to Lansing…Returned to Vancouver August 20 wearing #6 after wearing #2 to start the season…Used Hockey Night in Canada theme as his walk-up music upon his return to YVR…Posted .378 on-base percentage with the C’s.
Season Highlight – Opened July with back-to-back two-hit games that included a 2-for-3 day with a double and a hit-by-pitch July 2 vs. Eugene.
#9. Owen Spiwak – C
Notes – Made 2017 debut as a defensive replacement with Dunedin May 7 before reporting to Vancouver…Mississauga, Ontario native went 2-for-4 with a run batted in on Opening Night in Eugene June 15…Opened season with an eight-game on-base streak…Hit a grand slam in Spokane August 19.
Season Highlight – Went 2-for-3 with a walk and a game-winning RBI vs. Tri-City August 9.
#10. Norberto Obeso – OF
Notes – Hit his first Northwest League home run in Eugene June 19…Had a three-hit game with a walk and a run batted in vs. Salem-Keizer August 15…Recorded a dozen two-hit games.
Season Highlight – Second home run came in Hillsboro August 7 as part of a 2-for-4 day with a double and a walk.
#13 Reggie Pruitt – CF
Notes – Singled, walked and drove in two runs on Opening Night in Eugene June 15…Stole eight bases in a row to start the season en-route to a team-leading 28…Hit inside-the-park home run in Hillsboro August 4 before putting one over the fence in Spokane August 16.
Season Highlight – Delivered C’s first hit of Game 4 and scored the championship-winning run vs. Eugene September 12.
#14. Yorman Rodriguez – C
Notes – One of three players with the last name Rodriguez for the C’s in 2017…Had a hit in three of five games with Vancouver and walked in another…Introduced to the crowd during the home opener but was sent down to Bluefield in late June.
Season Highlight – Had two hits, a double and a run scored on Opening Night in Eugene June 15.
#14. Donnie Sellers – RHP
Notes – Made professional debut with two perfect innings in a start vs. Spokane June 24…Followed up with two more shutout frames in relief vs. Everett June 30 by striking out four…Made seven starts and five relief appearances.
Season Highlight – Went a season-long four shutout innings and struck out three to earn his first professional victory in Tri-City July 25.
#15. William Ouellette – RHP
Notes – Started 2017 with three appearances in May with Dunedin…Earned first Northwest League save vs. Eugene June 19…Pitched season-high three scoreless innings to earn the win vs. Eugene June 29…Led Northwest League in saves with 13 and added three more in the playoffs…Earned NWL All-Star honours.
Season Highlight – Struck out Will Remillard to record the save and clinch the 2017 Northwest League championship vs. Eugene September 12.
#16. Juan Nunez – RHP
Notes – Led team with 12 starts, 62-1/3 innings and 53 strikeouts…First two decisions of 2017 were victories…Made two quality starts (6.0 innings, 3 earned runs or less) in Hillsboro August 5 and in Everett August 23 and was one out short of another in Spokane August 17 but suffered tough-luck losses in all three games.
Season Highlight – Pitched five shutout innings to earn the victory on Opening Night in Eugene June 15.
#17. Jesus Severino – 3B
Notes – Made his C’s debut as a designated hitter June 16 in Eugene…Played third base in his second and final game with Vancouver the next night…Introduced to the crowd at Nat Bailey Stadium on Opening Day but was sent down to Bluefield for the rest of the season.
Season Highlight – Drew a walk and handled three plays at the hot corner flawlessly in Eugene June 17.
#17. Riley Adams – C
Notes – Began professional career with a nine-game on-base streak…Led C’s with 16 doubles, just one shy of the Northwest League lead…Threw out 19 of 47 basestealers, translating to a 40 percent clip…Earned NWL All-Star berth.
Season Highlight – Finished a triple short of the cycle as he was thrown out at third for the only blemish of a 4-for-4 day at the plate vs. Spokane June 25 that included three RBI.
#18. Jared Carkuff – RHP
Notes – 2016 returnee began season in Dunedin before arriving to Vancouver for Opening Week…Promoted to Lansing in late June after two scoreless appearances with the C’s and earned a one-game call-up to Buffalo in September.
Season Highlight – Finished off June 21 victory vs. Everett with a scoreless inning and a strikeout in his C’s swan song.
#18. Orlando Pascual – RHP
Notes – Wore #8 before switching to #18…Rattled off seven straight scoreless appearances from June 21 to July 12…Named to the Northwest League All-Star team…Earned season-high five strikeouts in 1-2/3 innings to earn July 22 victory in Salem-Keizer…Pitched 4-2/3 scoreless innings in playoffs.
Season Highlight – Earned first win of the season in Boise July 7 with three shutout innings.
#19. Grayson Huffman – LHP
Notes – Earned victory vs. Everett in second appearance of the season June 21…Converted lone save opportunity in Boise July 6…Pitched two scoreless innings in Game 2 of the Northwest League final in Eugene September 10.
Season Highlight – Pitched three perfect innings with five groundouts and two strikeouts in Spokane August 16.
#20. Samad Taylor – 2B
Notes – Had a 12-game hitting streak and was on-base for 17 straight and 18 of 19 overall when he joined Vancouver from Bluefield…Went 3-for-4 with a double and a run batted in at Spokane August 19.
Season Highlight – Clubbed two-run home run as part of a 2-for-4 night to lift Vancouver to a 2-1 win over Salem-Kezier August 12.
#21. Jose Espada – LHP
Notes – Made NWL debut on Opening Night with five strikeouts over two innings of one-run ball in Eugene June 15…Earned the honour of starting the home opener June 20 and tossed 4-2/3 innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts…Pitched career-high six shutout innings with six strikeouts vs. Everett August 21.
Season Highlight – Pitched six shutout innings with seven strikeouts in Tri-City September 2.
#22. Juliandry Higuera – LHP
Notes – 2016 returnee made just two appearances with the C’s before being promoted to Lansing in late June…Struck out five over two innings of relief in Eugene June 16.
Season Highlight – Struck out four in 2-1/3 innings of relief to earn the victory vs. Everett in the home opener June 20.
#22. Justin Dillon – RHP
Notes – Made professional debut June 26 in Everett and Nat Bailey Stadium debut vs. Eugene June 30…Ran off seven straight scoreless appearances July 4-August 10…Earned first victory in Spokane August 16…Picked up the win in the clinching Game 2 of the North Division final vs. Spokane September 7.
Season Highlight – Struck out season-high seven over three shutout innings in the clinching Game 4 vs. Eugene September 12.
#23. David Jacob – 1B
Notes – Had brief stints at the Gulf Coast League and Buffalo before arriving in Vancouver…Hit a grand slam in his 2017 C’s debut vs. Spokane July 12…Four home runs gave him a share of the team lead before a mid-August promotion to Lansing.
Season Highlight – Went 4-for-4 with a home run and a walk vs. Tri-City August 10.
#23. Travis Bergen – LHP
Notes – 2015 and 2016 returnee was promoted from the Gulf Coast League in mid-August…Struck out five over four shutout innings in Everett August 24 and struck out six in 3-2/3 innings vs. Boise August 30.
Season Highlight – Supplied 2-2/3 innings of scoreless ball with four strikeouts during Game 3 of the Northwest League final vs. Eugene September 11.
#24. Chris Hall – RHP
Notes – Began season with Lansing before arriving in Vancouver…Made Northwest League debut with a scoreless inning and two strikeouts in Eugene June 16…Led C’s relievers with 36.0 innings over 20 appearances…Promoted back to Lansing in late August.
Season Highlight – Pitched 4-1/3 innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts to earn the win vs. Spokane July 13.
#24. Joe DiBenedetto – LHP
Notes – Promoted from Bluefield in late August…Was unscored upon in three of four appearances with the C’s.
Season Highlight – Pitched two scoreless frames with two strikeouts in Northwest League debut in Everett August 23.
#25. Wilfri Aleton – LHP
Notes – Earned first Northwest League victory with five innings of two-run relief vs. Spokane June 24…Struck out a career-high six over five shutout innings vs. Everett August 20…Allowed just one run over his final 12 innings of the season over three appearances.
Season Highlight – Allowed just two hits over five shutout innings to earn the win in Boise July 6.
#26. Bryan Lizardo – 3B
Notes – Belted home run in Eugene June 18…Had 11 two-hit games…Ended regular season by reaching base in 12 of his last 13 games, including a 10-game hitting streak from August 13 to August 25.
Season Highlight – Went 2-for-2 with a walk and the game-winning RBI vs. Salem-Keizer August 13.
#27. Bobby Eveld – RHP
Notes – Struck out two in his Northwest League debut in Eugene June 16…Pitched another scoreless frame in the home opener vs. Everett June 20..Earned first victory in Everett June 27…Sent down to the Gulf Coast League near mid-August with one appearance for Dunedin.
Season Highlight – Earned the victory in his final appearance in Vancouver with two scoreless frames against Tri-City August 9.
#27. Cam O’Brien – DH
Notes – Began his 2017 season with Vancouver in mid-August…Reached base in six of 11 games in the regular season…Had one pinch-hit at-bat in Game 2 of the Northwest League final September 10.
Season Highlight – Had four hits in his first four plate appearances with the C’s before lining out sharply to center field vs. Salem-Keizer August 15.
#28. Kyle Weatherly – RHP
Notes – Made Northwest League debut with hard-luck loss in Eugene June 17 despite three runs (one earned) over five innings in Eugene June 17…Pitched 5-2/3 scoreless innings vs. Eugene June 29…Promoted to Lansing in early July.
Season Highlight – Earned the victory in his final start with Vancouver with seven innings of two-run ball in Spokane while striking out five July 5.
#28. Zach Logue – LHP
Notes – Arrived in Vancouver in the first half of July from Bluefield…Earned first Northwest League win in Salem-Keizer July 20 with three shutout frames that included four strikeouts…Tossed four shutout innings of one-hit ball with five strikeouts vs. Everett August 22…Matched season-high four scoreless frames in clinching Game 2 of the North Division final vs. Spokane September 7.
Season Highlight – Earned the victory in clinching Game 4 of the Northwest League final vs. Eugene September 12 with three innings of one-run ball.
#29. Javier Hernandez – C
Notes – Made season debut with the C’s in Eugene June 19…Had a pair of two-hit games and a four-game hitting streak at Nat Bailey Stadium…Promoted to Lansing in late June.
Season Highlight – Had two triples and three RBI vs. Everett June 21.
#29. Logan Warmoth – SS
Notes – Singed in his first Northwest League at-bat vs. Spokane July 13 after arriving from the Gulf Coast League…Went 4-for-6 with two doubles vs. Spokane July 14…Enjoyed back-to-back three-hit games in Salem-Keizer July 21 and 22…Belted his first home run at Tri-City July 27…First post-season homer gave Vancouver a Game 1 victory vs. Spokane September 6.
Season Highlight – Two-run single vs. Eugene drove in the tying and winning runs in Game 4 of the Northwest Final September 12.
#30. Matt Morgan – C
Notes – Joined Vancouver after making his Lansing Lugnuts debut by going 1-for-4 June 9…Wore #7 to begin the year before switching to #30…Snapped 1-for-20 skid with a game-tying home run in a come-from-behind win vs. Eugene July 2…Pitched one inning of relief vs. Hillsboro July 18…Started #RallySkunk Twitter trend after getting sprayed by a skunk late in the season.
Season highlight – Homered, doubled and threw out two runners from behind the plate in Salem-Keizer July 20 to put the C’s on the precipice of clinching the first half North Division title.
#31. Brock Lundquist – OF
Notes – Made pro debut as a pinch-runner vs. Everett June 22…Recorded a hit in his first seven starts June 23-29 and had an on-base streak of 11 games…Went 3-for-5 with a season-high four RBI vs. Salem-Keizer August 15….Connected for his first home run in Spokane August 18…Went 3-for-3 and was a triple shy of the cycle in Tri-City September 2.
Season Highlight – First post-season home run from the man with the mustache was the difference in Vancouver’s Game 3 victory vs. Eugene in the Northwest League final September 11.
#32. Matt Shannon – RHP
Notes – Made Northwest League debut with a scoreless inning vs. Spokane June 25…Made one-inning start with another scoreless frame vs. Eugene on Canada Day.
Season Highlight – Pitched two scoreless frames with three strikeouts in his third and final appearance of the season in Boise July 7.
#32. Nate Pearson – RHP
Notes – Promoted to Vancouver from Gulf Coast League and struck out three over two scoreless innings in Boise July 23…Struck out six over three shutout frames vs. Salem-Keizer August 13…Did not give up any runs until his seventh and final apperance of the regular season.
Season Highlight – Struck out 10 over four shutout innings vs. Spokane in Game 1 of the North Division September 6.
#33. Brayden Bouchey – RHP
Notes – White Rock, BC native recorded final out of home opening victory vs. Everett June 20…Ran off string of eight scoreless outings July 14-August 9…Earned first regular season vs. Boise August 30 with four strikeouts over two shutout innings..Ended regular season with five more scoreless outings and tacked on three more in the post-season.
Season Highlight – Struck out four over three perfect innings in Eugene for Game 1 of the Northwest League final September 9.
#34. Dalton Rodriguez – RHP
Notes – Began season with five shutout innings to earn the win in Eugene June 16…Led team with five victories thanks to wins in three straight starts vs. Tri-City July 28, in Hillsboro August 6 and vs. Salem-Keizer August 12…Struck out five in 3-1/3 shutout innings in Spokane August 19 before his promotion to Lansing
Season Highlight – Celebrated the 4th of July with seven shutout innings of four-hit ball in Spokane.
#34. Dany Jimenez – RHP
Notes – Wore #23 to start the season before being sidelined with an injury on Canada Day…Returned to Vancouver August 25 after a tune-up appearance in the Gulf Coast League…Pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning in Game 2 of the Northwest League final in Eugene September 10.
Season Highlight – Struck out nine batters over six innings of one-run ball to earn the win vs. Spokane June 25.
#35. Francisco Rodriguez – 1B
Notes – Played just three games with the C’s…Made his debut in Eugene June 17…Made his lone appearance as Nat Bailey Stadium as a defensive replacement at first base vs. Everett June 21.
Season Highlight – Drew a walk in his first plate appearance vs. Eugene June 17.
#35. Brody Rodning – LHP
Notes – Made C’s debut in Boise July 6 after promotion from the Gulf Coast League…Pitched 2-1/3 scoreless innings vs. Spokane July 12 in home debut…Earned first pro victory with career-high five strikeouts over four innings of two-run ball at Salem-Keizer July 23…Won his next three appearances vs. Tri-City July 29, in Hillsboro August 7 and vs. Salem-Keizer August 13.
Season Highlight – Spun five scoreless frames with four strikeouts in Tri-City September 1.
#36. Jake Fishman – LHP
Notes – Made one appearance in the Gulf Coast League before making his Vancouver debut with a scoreless inning in Boise July 6…Struck out five over four innings vs. Hillsboro July 15…Did not give up an earned run until his ninth appearance in Hillsboro August 4…Promoted to Lansing in the latter half of August.
Season Highlight – Struck out five of the six hitters he faced in a perfect two innings to record the win vs. Salem-Keizer August 14.
#36. Marcus Reyes – LHP
Notes – Began 2017 with the Gulf Coast League and Bluefield before getting the call to Vancouver in late August…Was only scored upon once in three appearances…Pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning in Game 2 of the Northwest League Final at Eugene September 10.
Season Highlight – Earned a hold in his C’s debut with a perfect eighth inning vs. Everett August 22.
#37. Yonardo Herdenez – RHP
Notes – Spent time with Lansing, Bluefield and New Hampshire before arriving for the first of two stints with Vancouver that began July 16…Made three appearances before a call-up to Lansing July 30…Returned to Vancouver for three more appearances before going back to Lansing again in mid-August.
Season Highlight – Struck out four over three shutout innings to earn a hold vs. Tri-City August 9.
#39. Colton Laws – RHP
Notes – Promoted to Vancouver in early August after spending the season in Bluefield…All three appearances in a C’s uniform came on the road as abbreviated starts in which the team won two of three.
Season Highlight – Made C’s debut with a perfect inning that included a strikeout in Hillsboro August 3.
#40. Angel Alicea – RHP
Notes – Promoted from the Gulf Coast League…Made C’s debut by giving up a run over two innings vs. Tri-City July 29.
Season Highlight – Earned hold with two-innings of one-run ball at Hillsboro August 4.
#40 – Graham Spraker, RHP
Notes – Promoted from Bluefield prior to Northwest League final…Made C’s debut with 1-2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 to earn victory vs. Eugene September 9.
Season Highlight – Reached 98 miles per hour on the radar gun and needed just nine pitches in a perfect fifth to earn the victory in Game 3 vs. Eugene September 11.
#44. Kacy Clemens – 1B
Notes – Made pro debut with the C’s on June 22 and earned a walk vs. Everett. Started a seven-game hitting streak June 23-29…First two homers came in back-to-back games in Everett June 27 and 28…Went 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles vs. Boise August 27…Tied for team lead with four home runs and was third in the Northwest League with 45 runs batted in.
Season Highlight – Scored twice and gave the C’s the lead for good with a run-scoring single as part of a 2-for-5 night to lift the C’s to a Game 1 victory of the Northwest League final in Eugene September 9.
From left to right – #12 Jose Mayorga (first base coach), #48 Jim Czajkowski (pitching coach), #11 Dave Pano (hitting coach), #4 Rich Miller (manager).
The coaching staff led the C’s to a first-half North Division title and a league-best 43-33 record. They went 4-1 in the post-season to give Vancouver its fourth Northwest League championship.
For Miller, it was his second title as C’s manager after leading them to the promised land in 2011. Czajkowski and Pano have their fourth championship rings as they were around for the 2011 to 2013 championship seasons. Mayorga is on the board with some championship bling in his first season as coach in the Blue Jays system.
That puts up a wrap on 2017 at CsPlusBaseball.ca. It was three crazy months that began June 12 with Media Day and ended exactly three months later with the C’s hoisting the Bob Freitas trophy. I got a chance to take a lot of photos but my favourite one of 2017 remains this one.
It’s not every day you get a photo of two first-round picks together but them giving the thumbs up with the icing on the cake. I had been so focused on Nate Pearson during my pre-game photos that I did not notice Logan Warmoth giving the thumbs up as well. It’s my hope to see them give a thumbs up in Toronto Blue Jays uniforms after winning a World Series in the near future!
My favourite quote from 2017 came from closer William Ouellette when I asked him about pitching in Games 3 and 4 of the Northwest League final.
“I was a little tired when I first showed up to the field but as the game gets on and continues on and we end up scoring those two runs in the (fifth) inning, from that point on, I was locked in. I was like, ‘Alright, I want the ball. I want to get those last three outs, I want to bring this home for us, for Vancouver, for the Toronto Blue Jays, for my teammates.’ “
As for my favourite video of 2017 – it was no contest!
Thanks a million to the C’s organization, the players who have taken the time to chat with me in person or on the phone and to those of you who took the time to read my offerings throughout the year.
Here’s hoping for another great season in 2018 as the C’s bid to repeat as Northwest League champions. Happy New Year everyone!