PBR Ontario's Top Stories For The Year 2016: Breakout Performers from 2016/2017 Class



By Chris Kemlo and PBR Staff
PBR Ontario Director of Scouting

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PBR Ontario's Top Stories For The Year 2016: Breakout Performers from 2017 Class

In 2016, we at PBR Ontario were able to see hundreds of ball players in this province from MLB draft picks, to college and university commits, to young up and coming prospects looking to make a name for themselves moving forward.

In this article, I’ll highlight some the 2016 and 2017 grads who were at the top of their games this past year. Whether it was a draft pick moving up in the draft or someone who made a big jump development wise, these are five of the players who improved their game and made the right people take notice.

These players are either preparing for their final season as a high school player in Ontario or already pursuing their professional and collegiate careers. Either way it was fun to watch these young men go about their business on the ball field this past year.

Breakout Performers

Landon LeachLandon Leach, RHP, 2017
Breakdown: Leach has taken the next step in his development and turned himself into a national prospect heading into 2017. The top ranked pitcher not only in the province but the entire country, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound right-hander performed all year against top competition with elite stuff and a fastball that was up to 94 mph at the Under Armour Classic in June at IMG Academy. The Texas commit finished the year off strong in Jupiter for the Toronto Blue Jays scout team, still showing the velocity we have become accustomed to along with an improved slider that has chance to be his pitch to finish off hitters. Look for Leach to have a strong pro following over the early months leading up to this year’s draft.

Andy YerzyAndy Yerzy, C, 2016
Breakdown: You could argue that Yerzy didn’t really breakout in 2016 as he has been on the radar and a highly touted prospect since he was 14 year’s old. A small amount of people end up playing for the Canadian Junior National Team for three plus years, and Yerzy found himself in that class along with other members such as Josh Naylor, Gareth Morgan, Adam Loewen, Adam Hall and a few others. The left-handed hitting catcher had some question marks surrounding his defensive abilities and whether he would  be able to stick behind the plate professionally. Well the Arizona Diamondbacks saw enough and selected Yerzy in the 2nd round with the 52nd overall selection. He had a fantastic day at the plate at our ProCase in front of 4 members of the Diamondbacks scouting staff, and then followed that with another great workout in Arizona at Chase field where he apparently went off with the bat and made balls fly in the outfield seats. Once selected, it was enough for Yerzy to forgo his commitment to attend Notre Dame and begin his professional career.

David DepieroDavid Depiero, LHP, 2016
Breakdown: Depiero was one of the hardest throwing lefties in the province last year, and the Thunder Bay resident was relatively unknown until the beginning of the year. Depiero made his way to Icase Academy where he prepared for the upcoming season which saw him have stints with the Langley Blaze during March break, and then with the Toronto Mets for a summer season of CPBL and travel. With one of the loosest and quickest arms around, Depiero accepted a scholarship to Indian Hills community college in Iowa where experience and reps are what the lefty is lacking. With a small baseball community in Thunder Bay, Depiero has the chance to pave the way and be someone kids from the Bay can look to as they start to have their own baseball dreams and aspirations. We expect to hear more of Depiero’s name as we follow the collegiate players from Ontario over the next few years.

Matt BrashMatt Brash, RHP, 2016
Breakdown: Brash came onto the scene early in 2015 at our Toronto event in April and showed a very quick arm with athleticism and immediately became one of our favorites. He continued to work at his craft and turned himself into one of the elite arms in the province as his fastball climbed into the high-80s, touching 90 mph with a sharp curveball that is a potential difference maker. He attracted pro attention leading up to June, but with his scholarship to Niagara, I believe teams felt his commitment and intent was to go to school. No doubt he will be highly coveted coming out of Niagara, and after speaking with one of the coaches at school, it sounds as if he is right on track and should be a major contributor as a freshman arm. A definite breakout for Brash in 2016, we expect to Brash to continue to be a household name moving forward.

Nathan HolmesNathan Holmes, RHP, 2017
Breakdown: The big 6-foot-4, 230-pound right-hander was one of the elite arms in the CPBL this summer. Equipped with a fastball that works in the mid to high-80s, Holmes pounds the strike zone with quality strikes and mixes in his breaking stuff for strikes, keeping hitters off balance and making quick work on the mound. Currently the top uncommitted arm in the 2017 class, Holmes looks to come out of the gate with a strong spring, bump his numbers and look for that right fit from a post-secondary education standpoint. The Ontario Blue Jay workhorse looks to be one of the top arms again this season and should be a focus of schools in need of arms in the 2017 class.

Video of Holmes:


David MendhamDavid Mendham, C, 2017
Breakdown: We are use to solid left-handed hitting catchers in Ontario, and Mendham is another one who looks to be following the path of guys like Max Wright, Yerzy, Zach Fascia, Van Rycheghem, Jacob Sims and Kristian Webb among others. All Mendham did last year was establish himself one of the top hitters in his league, hit two homeruns in one game, and then hit for the cycle during his fall season at an event in Ohio. He was one of the more consistent hitters at Tournament 12. And he has changed his body and added more strength to his 6-foot-1 frame. The uncommitted catcher has offers and schools are on him, but he is still trying to decide what the best fit is for him. You can see he has a tireless work ethic, and the hard work is starting to turn into results for the 2017 grad. The bat, arm, and glove all play at the next level and Mendham is only going to keep getting better. Look for him to be ready to go early in 2017 as one of the top uncommitted players with something to prove.

Video of Mendham: