This upcoming season marks the 20th season since the Vancouver Canadians made the change to Short-Season Single-A. Fans have had the opportunity to see some great players wear the C's jersey over the last 19 years from Rich Harden to Nate Pearson and many more in-between. Some players like Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez made short stops in Vancouver while others have played full seasons in the red and white.
To celebrate this momentous year, here is a look back at the all-Canadians team: 19 players, one from each season (2000-2018) who spent the majority of their year in Vancouver and made the biggest impact on the team.
Rich Harden - 2001
Victoria, British Columbia native Rich Harden was the first homegrown player to play for the C's when they made the change to short-season. Harden went 2-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 games back in 2001. He still holds the Canadians short-season records for most strikeouts in a season (100) and most walks in a season (38).
Dan Straily - 2009
In his first year of professional baseball, Dan Starily went 5-3 with a 4.12 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 16 games for the Vancouver Canadians. Straily is currently pitching for the Baltimore Orioles.
Justin Nicolino - 2011
Drafted in the 2nd round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, the Jays sent Justin Nicolino to start his professional career in Vancouver. The left-hander dominated the Northwest League as he went 5-1 with a 1.03 ERA, leading the C's to their first short-season Northwest League title.
Nate Pearson - 2017
Nate Pearson is another C's pitcher who dominated the Northwest League. The Toronto Blue Jays 1st round compensation pick (28th overall) in 2017, Pearson didn't record a win or a loss but in seven starts for the C's, he had a 0.95 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings. Pearson also helped lead the C's to a Northwest League Championship, their fourth in seven years.
Josh Winckowski - 2018
Josh Winckowski was the Northwest League Pitcher of the Year in 2018. The right-hander went 4-5 for the C's with a 2.78 ERA and had a streak of 21.1 straight innings where he didn't allow a run.
Kurt Suzuki - 2004
Kurt Suzuki is one of the best catchers in the Vancouver Canadians short-season history. In 46 games, Suzuki hit .297 with 10 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 31 RBIs. The A's 2nd round draft pick in 2004 also only made one error from behind the plate that season. Suzuki is currently playing for the Washington Nationals in his 13th Major League season.
L.B. Dantzler - 2013
L.B. Dantzler was the Northwest League Most Valuable Player in 2013, helping the Canadians win their third straight Northwest League Championship. In 59 games, the first baseman hit .302 with 20 doubles, nine home runs and 35 RBIs. His nine home runs led the Northwest League that season and his 20 doubles is tied for the third-most doubles in a season by a Vancouver Canadian.
Cavan Biggio - 2016
In what was a down year for the C's, Cavan Biggio was one of the bright spots. In 53 games, the second baseman hit .282 with 11 doubles, three triples, 21 RBIs and nine stolen bases. Biggio also had a great eye at the plate as he walked more time than he struck out (29 walks, 28 strikeouts). He most recently just made his Major League Debut for the Blue Jays on May 24th against the San Diego Padres.
Franklin Barreto - 2014
Franklin Barreto put himself in the C's record books multiple times during his season in 2014. The shortstop hit .311 in 73 games for Vancouver with 23 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 61 RBIs and 29 stolen bases. His 61 RBIs led the entire Northwest League on his way to winning Northwest League MVP. Barreto is in the C's record books in many different single-season categories:
- Hits - 90 (1st)
- Doubles - 23 (Tied-1st)
- RBIs - 61 (2nd)
- Stolen bases - 29 (3rd)
- Batting Average - .311 (6th)
- Total Bases (139)
Balbino Fuenmayor - 2012
Balbino! Balbino! Quickly a fan favourite, Balbino Fuenmayor spent two championship seasons with the Canadians in 2011 and 2012. Fuenmayor became a Canadians star in the 2012 season as he hit .282 with 20 doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 52 RBIs in 67 games. The Venezuela native is in the Canadians short-season history is many different single season categories:
- Hits - 73 (Tied-9th)
- Doubles - 20 (Tied-3rd)
- Home Runs - 9 (Tied-9th)
- RBIs - 52 (Tied-3rd)
Nelson Cruz - 2002
A current 15-year veteran of the Major Leagues, Nelson Cruz spent his second professional season in Vancouver back in 2002. In 63 games, Cruz hit .276 for the C's with 14 doubles, four home runs and 25 RBIs. He also led the team in stolen bases with 12.
Jermaine Mitchell - 2006
Jermaine Mitchell holds the C's record for batting average in a single season as he hit .362 in the 2006 season. He also drove in 23 runs on 50 hits including seven doubles, two triples and three home runs.
Sean Hurley - 2015
Sean Hurley was the MVP of the 2015 Canadians as he led the team in games played (70), triples (4), home runs (9), RBIs (33), runs (43), walks (39), and total bases (108). He also finished third on the team with 11 doubles.
A.J. Kirby-Jones - 2010
A.J. Kirby-Jones was a force in the Northwest League in 2010 for the Vancouver Canadians. He holds the C's short-season records for most home runs and most walks in a single-season (14 home runs, 61 walks).
Brad Knox - 2003
Brad Knox was the ace of the C's pitching staff during the 2003 season as he went 6-3 with an outstanding 2.06 ERA in 70 innings pitched. He led the team in ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts (63).
Brad Kirby - 2005
One of the best closers in C's short-season history, Brad Kirby was dominant out of the bullpen in 2005. In 23 relief appearances, Kirby went 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA, 38 strikeouts and 14 saves, which is the second-most saves in a short-season by a Vancouver Canadian.
Freddie Bynum - 2000
In his first year as the Canadians as a short-season team, shortstop Freddie Bynum became a fan favourite very quickly. In 72 games, Bynum hit .256 with 10 doubles, a triple, a home run, 26 RBIs and led the team with 22 stolen bases.
Fun fact: Freddie Bynum's first airplane trip ever was to Vancouver to start his professional baseball career with the Canadians.
Danny Hamblin - 2007
Danny Hamblin put himself in the C's record books in 2007 with one of the best offensive seasons in short-season Canadians history. He drove in 62 runs, which was second in the Northwest League and what is still currently a team single short-season record. In 68 games, he hit 21 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs and collected 131 total bases.
Jeremy Barfield - 2008
Son of former Toronto Blue Jay Jesse Barfield, Jeremy Barfield hit .271 in 69 games for the C's in 2008. He led the team with 68 hits and 41 RBIs. The outfield also hit 17 doubles and three home runs.
The Canadians have had some incredible players over 19 years since making the move to short-season single-A. Players that have connected with the fans, fell in love with the city and that will be in the C's and Northwest League record books for years to come. They all made moments that will live in Vancouver Canadians history for the rest of time.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.