Prep Baseball Report

Team Canada Dominican Trip - Pitching Notes

Cam Black-Araujo
Lead Scout, PBR Canada

Canada’s top 18U players have been out of the country for the majority of May as they embark on their annual trip to the Dominican Republic. The players stepped on the field at MLB affiliated camps across the Dominican, playing a total of 16 games against pro prospects from 14 different organizations including the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers.

The trip came to a conclusion on Saturday in a tightly contested 5-3 loss to the Phillies and our staff begins to break it all down below.

Although PBR wasn’t on hand in the Dominican for the trip, we’ve run through the box scores and below we highlight six arms who stood out against professional hitters the past week. 

2022 LHP Reece Usselman - Langley Blaze (Oregon) - Our staff got a look at Usselman earlier this month in B.C. and while it wasn’t the best we’ve seen him this year, he appeared to redeem himself with Team Canada on the Dominican Trip. Usselman appeared in three games, working 4 or more innings each time out. He punched out 16 hitters and walked just six over 13 innings of work, also allowing 12 hits. The armside run on his fastball makes him difficult to hit, especially when his velo is in the upper 80s. A left-hander with some interesting characteristics on the mound who could be ready to breakout during his time with the Ducks in the PAC12.
Stat line: 13.0 IP (3 app.) | 12 H | 6 R | 4 ER | 6 BB | 16 K | HR

2022 RHP Kaleb Thomas - HPP Tigers (Missouri St.) - Thomas made a trio of appearances for the JNT down in the Dominican and allowed just two runs across 13.1 innings. He throws strikes and is able to live down in the zone with sink on the fastball, amassing ground balls and soft contact. The 6-foot, 195-pound right-hander limited the walks (4.1/per 9) as well as hits (5.5/per 9) against pro hitters, while striking out 10 (6.9/per nine). Thomas looked to be one of the more efficient and reliable arms in the Dominican for Team Canada.
Stat line: 13.1 IP (3 app.) | 8 H | 2 R | 2 ER | 6 BB | 10 K

2022 RHP Carson Lumley - London Badgers (Bowling Green) - Although he didn’t work as many innings as some other arms on the trip, Carson Lumley couldn’t have been much better during his six innings of work. In two three inning appearances, Lumley allowed just three hits, two walks, no runs and punched out seven. In Lumley’s first year facing pro hitters, the tough AB’s he provided amateur hitters looks to be translating to the next level. After undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, our staff is eager to get out and get a look at Lumley.
State line: 6.0 IP (2 app.) | 3 H | 0 R | 0 ER | 2 BB | 7 K

2022 LHP Felix Morin - ABC Academy (Canisius) - Morin was dominant in B.C. earlier this month and carried that into the Dominican, his first trip with the Junior National Team. In his first start of the trip against the Astros, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound left-hander put up the most dominant performance of the trip. Morin worked five innings allowing one run (unearned) and four hits while striking out 10 and walking one. The ABC product posted some of the best K/BB numbers on the trip and was one of just two arms with a pair of 5 inning outings. Morin shows the look of an arm ready to make a major impact as a freshman with Canisius.
Stat line: 10 IP (2 app.) | 9 H | 4 R | 0 ER | 2 BB | 13 K | HR

2022 RHP Ryan Heppner - Delta Blue Jays (UBC) - Heppner was one of the most dominant arms we saw in Kamloops at Best of the West which earned himself a spot on the Junior National Team. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound right-hander continued to pound the strike zone during the trip, throwing 54 strikes on 77 total pitches throughout two outings (70.1 %). Over 4.2 innings, Heppner walked just one batter, allowed five hits and struck out five. A little undersized on the mound but there’s compete, athleticism, good stuff and he throws strikes.
Stat line: 4.2 IP (2 app.) | 5 H | 4 R | 2 ER | BB | 5 K

2023 RHP Nick Frers - North Shore Twins (Uncommitted) - Frers, 6-foot-2, 185-pounds put together the best trip from a B.C. prospect and solidified himself as one of the top uncommitted prospects in the province. We’ve seen flashes this year where Frers has sharp but he carried that through the entirety of his two outings. The North Shore Twins right-handed worked 7.1 innings allowed 6 hits, 1 run (unearned), two walks and struck out 10. The 2021 Future Gamer was the third youngest player on Team Canada and returns to Canada with plenty of momentum on his side as the summer circuit and warmer weather draw near.
Stat line: 7.1 IP (2 app.) | 6 H | 1 R | 0 ER | 2 BB | 10 K