Two Canadian college players to keep an eye on in the MLB Draft

Photo credit:© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
Nick Prasad
1 month ago
Following the 2019 season, Major League Baseball sits at a 20-round draft, half of what it used to be before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through and shut down numerous programs across the league for a season (and some even more).
That cuts the dream of multiple talented ball players hearing their names after the pandemic impacted the game of baseball, taking a 40-round draft and cutting it down to five rounds (with an undrafted free agent signing max of $20,000) to the now 20-round standard. Outside of the draft, players can also sign contracts as undrafted free agents, somewhat supplementing the 21-40 rounds that no longer exist for those who don’t hear their name called in the draft.
Multiple notable players took the UDFA market to achieve their dreams. Names as popular as Larry Walker, Kirby Yates, and Kevin Millar were league entries by UDFA. Closer to home, former Blue Jays minor league pitcher Alex Nolan was inked as a UDFA after a stint in the Northwoods League. Even closer to home, Blue Jays T12 alumni and Marshall University catcher Ryan Leitch heard his name in the 30th round in 2019 by the Cincinnati Reds. Later on, for $125K, Leitch took a UDFA contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he currently sits high-A.
The Blue Jays have options if spots are vacant, and there are some hidden gems in the game who call Canada home.

LHP Ryan Magdic – University of Missouri

If you haven’t heard of the name Ryan Magdic, you probably should get to know him. This lefty-Canadian pitcher has emerged on the mound as a “guy”, and has drawn a ton of interest from MLB clubs heading into the summer.
In the high school draft class of 2018, Magdic developed in the Ontario Royals organization. He was listed as a relief pitcher and can play first base for his bat, along with right field. He committed to three colleges and did not play in the 2022 season until finding a home at the University of Missouri.
You won’t find many statistics on him but there are scouting notes that confirm pitch-ability and tools.
He’s thrown 35 innings for Missouri so far, posting a 4.63 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 11 walks. Magdic’s strength is his above-average command of his fastball along with a 60-grade on the 20-80 scale. The fastball has life and reaches up to 96 mph from the southpaw. Magdic certainly fits the eye test and is recognizable on the bump. His next step most likely will be of two options; sign to independent professional baseball or take a free agent contract with an MLB organization. Independent professional baseball will increase his stock to be signed and will allow for a good showcase situation should he not find a contract with a big league club.
This may allow for Magdic to be signed later as a free agent or he may get that opportunity post-draft. There is a slight chance he hears his name within the 20-round selections, however, clubs may want more concrete stats to evaluate.

INF Émilien Pitre – University of Kentucky

Émilien Pitre is a Canadian-born infielder from Repentingy, Que. who is currently playing for the University of Kentucky. He is currently at the College World Series, with Kentucky advancing to the tournament. Pitre played his travel baseball in Ontario for the Fieldhouse Pirates in the Canadian Premier Baseball League (CPBL) as well as with Academie de Baseball and the Junior National Team before taking his talents stateside.
He started with Kentucky back in 2022 and has developed his way with the program over the past three seasons. He saw only 11 games that year with four at-bats but two years later, he’s up to 60 games and 231 at-bats as regular on the infield. Pitre is more of a dependable piece to the Kentucky lineup and has grown both physically and fundamentally since his freshman campaign. The Canadian has also drawn attention to himself for the draft and is currently ranked at #4 on the Canadian Baseball Network’s Draft List. 
In 2024, he batted a .299 average and posted a .318 the year prior. Between the two seasons, he has totalled 140 hits, 107 RBIs, 10 home runs, 89 walks, and 46 stolen bases. This year he had a .422 on-base percentage and was a top-of-the-lineup presence for the Wildcats, earning Third-Team All-American honours by ABCA.
Pitre can get on base and get over. He provides that anxiety-filled presence on the base pads. He walks more than he strikes out and he came around to score 106 times within the two seasons. Defensively, Pitre can hold it down on either side of second base, creating confidence on the infield.
Pitre could be a Day 3 draft-round guy as a junior player, sitting around the 18-20 area potentially. A late draft slot could see him return to Kentucky for another season but the right scenario could see him turn pro sooner than later – whether it is through the draft or a potential undrafted free agent signing.

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