By Christian J. Stewart (ISN) – BC's Nick Pivetta (Victoria) and Tyler O'Neill (Langley) are two of the top three Canadians selected so far in the Major League Baseball (MLB) 2013 Entry Draft with O'Neill going 85th overall to the Seattle Mariners and Pivetta going 136th overall to the Washington Nationals.
It has been quite the week for Victoria's Nick Pivetta. Just two days after taking the mound and getting the 8-6 win in the Victoria HarbourCats inaugural game in the West Coast League, Pivetta has been selected by the Washington Nationals in the 4th round (136th overall) of the 2013 MLB Entry Draft.
The 6-foot-5, 215 pound spent the past school year at New Mexico Junior College where he amassed a 9-3 record and a 3.25 ERA, but more importantly impressed the scouts with his increased velocity (low to mid-90's) and control, averaging 6 strikeouts per game.
In Pivetta's debut for his hometown HarbourCats Wednesday, a somewhat nervous Pivetta went 8 innings, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits, but walking only one and striking out 6.
Pivetta is a graduate of Lambrick Park High School in Victoria and a product of the Victoria Eagles BC Premier League system. He is scheduled to attend the University of New Mexico in the fall, but rumour has it the lure of playing pro will take Pivetta away from that.
For Langley's Tyler O'Neill, it was pretty much as expected, as the talented high schooler who plays for the Langley Blaze in the BC Premier Baseball League was projected to be a third round pick and that is exactly where he ended up, going 85th overall to the Seattle Mariners.
O'Neill is ripping it up with the Blaze this season and is also a part of the Canadian Junior National Team where he just returned from a successful camp in the Dominican Republic.
A shortstop for the Blaze, O'Neill draws many comparisons to former Blaze and now Toronto Blue Jay third baseman Brett Lawrie, as both seem to be cut from the same hard-nosed, gritty mold and both can hit the ball a long way.
In a recent PBL game in Victoria, O'Neill impressed many in attendance with a 4 for 5, 10-RBI performance, including a tape measure grand slam that was probably 420 feet in length. And he did all of this without seeming to break a sweat.
O'Neill's natural position is catcher, but after undergoing hernia surgery in 2012, O'Neill moved to the infield where he has excelled. Despite that, scouts feel he may still be better suited behind the plate at the pro level.
Like Pivetta, O'Neill is also slated to go to a US College in the fall (Oregon State), but again rumour has it that he will sign with the Mariners and begin his career in pro ball.
O'Neill and Pivetta were the second and third Canadians selected in the 2013 draft respectively, with Edmonton's Rob Zastryzny being selected in the second round (41st overall) by the Chicago Cubs.