Vancouver Canadians Jairo Labourt

Jairo Labourt made his major league debut with the Detroit Tigers in 2017.

cs_alumni_updateA couple of 2014 Vancouver Canadians were back together again briefly. 2013-2014 C’s left-hander Jairo Labourt and shortstop Franklin Barreto were reunited when the Oakland Athletics claimed Labourt earlier this spring but Labourt returned to the Detroit Tigers on a minor league deal after being claimed by not just the A’s but the Cincinnati Reds as well this off-season. The 6-foot-4 lefthander from the Dominican Republic was designated for assignment by Detroit in late February after signing former Blue Jays lefty Francisco Liriano to a one-year contract.

Labourt—who joined fellow lefty and 2012 C’s hurler Daniel Norris in Detroit as part of  the David Price deal in 2015—made his major league debut with the Tigers against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park September 1. He overcame a leadoff single by Abraham Almonte to pitch a shutout eighth inning.

Labourt made six one-inning appearances, four of the shutout variety that included this effort against the Kansas City Royals September 6. He finished his stint in Detroit with a 4.50 earned run average and walked seven batters while whiffing four. FanGraphs says Labourt leaned a lot on his slider almost 63 percent of the time while using his fastball over 31 percent of the time and a changeup at a nearly six percent rate. He was averaging 93 miles per hour with the fastball while his slider around 84 and a changeup near 87.

It was a meteoric rise for Labourt as he began 2017 with the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers before earning promotions to the Double-A Erie SeaWolves and the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. He earned an All-Star berth in the Eastern League and made his second Futures Game appearance, two years after representing the Blue Jays in the top prospects contest. Labourt—who just turned 24 on March 8—put together a composite record of 1-1 with a 2.17 ERA and a 79-33 strikeout-walk total in 66-1/3 innings.


Franklin Barreto in action for the Oakland A’s at Safeco Field September 3, 2017.

Labourt’s 2014 C’s teammate—shortstop Franklin Barreto—made a strong push to be with the Oakland A’s on Opening Day but will open 2018 with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds despite slashing .293/.344/.534 with three home runs, two triples and a double while stealing three bases in three attempts. The 5-foot-10 right-handed hitter did strike out 18 times in 58 at-bats so perhaps the A’s brass want to see Barreto make a bit more contact before calling up him again. He also had to compete for playing time in a crowded middle infield featuring Marcus Semien and Jed Lowrie.

Barreto—who homered in his major league debut on the road against the Chicago White Sox June 24—batted .197 with a .602 OPS during his two stints with the A’s in 2017. Still, Baseball America rated the Caracas, Venezuela native the 43rd best prospect in the game and he just turned 22 back on February 27. One scout likened him to Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. It appears it will be sooner rather than later that Barreto will make his mark with Oakland in 2018.


According to, 2016-2017 C’s lefty Grayson Huffman will miss 2018 with Tommy John surgery while 2016 righty Justin Maese is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

2013 C’s lefty Matt Dermody was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays but he has now been outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo along with 2012 Canadians outfielder turned pitcher Carlos Ramirez.

2011 C’s lefty Justin Nicolino has found a new major league home.

Nicolino deserves better after having to endure the indignity of being a New Orleans Baby Cake last season.

A great story by the Canadian Baseball Network on 2016-2017 C’s utilityman Mattingly Romanin. In another classless move by the Jays brass this off-season, the Burlington, Ontario native was let go before the ring ceremony in Dunedin to honour the Northwest League champion C’s.

2017 C’s righthander Nate Pearson will be making his full-season debut in Dunedin instead of Lansing.

Finally, a reminder that the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook from Jay Blue is now available with 2014 C’s outfielder Roemon Fields on the cover.

My thanks to Jay Blue for asking me to contribute to this year’s handbook by participating in a Q&A session about the C’s 2017 season.

This handbook is an excellent resource by providing detailed information on all the players and teams in the Blue Jays system. It’s a must-have for any diehard fan.


cs-tweetVladimir Guerrero Jr. is all the rage in Blue Jays land for his walk-off home run in the pre-season finale against the St. Louis Cardinals at Olympic Stadium in Montreal Tuesday.

That dinger stirred up a lot of reaction in the Twitter-verse from those connected with the Vancouver Canadians.

Former C’s Roemon Fields and 2014-2015 righthander Andrew Case also had good showings in Montreal.

A total of 16 players with C’s connections took part in the two-game exhibition series in Montreal.

The 2017 C’s and Dunedin Blue Jays were given their championship rings.

Here’s the rest of the best.


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