Winnipeg banged out a pair of hits Saturday when two of the city's top players were chosen in the MLB first-year player draft.
Pitcher Ben Onyshko, 17, got the call he was waiting for when the Milwaukee Brewers took him in the 16th round (476th overall). He was the sixth Canadian chosen in the draft. Chris Shaw, a catcher at Midland Junior College in Texas, was taken in the 14th round (435th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals, the fifth Canadian chosen.
Onyshko, a 6-2, 205-pound southpaw, can now accept a baseball scholarship to attend Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., or sign with the Brew Crew and turn pro this summer if offered a contract.
"He's a competitive kid and he's come a long way," Baseball Canada's director of national teams Greg Hamilton told Alexis Brudnicki of canadianbaseballnetwork.com. "He's in an enviable spot. He's got a scholarship to Stetson, which is obviously a very good Division I program, and he's a very good student -- there's a good match there athletically and academically. And he put himself in a position to be considered reasonably well in the draft.
"So is he ready; can he go out and survive in professional baseball? He's got the ability to survive, there's no doubt about it... He's left-handed and he's 88 to 90 (m.p.h) with a decent breaking ball and some compete level and a feel for a changeup. So can he survive in the pro world? Sure. But he's also got a real good chance to be a really good collegiate pitcher too."
Onyshko moved to Vauxhall, Alta., when he was 15 to attend the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball. There he honed his skills in a baseball-intensive environment and also became a member of Canada's national junior team.
This spring, pitching with the junior team, he faced Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista with the bases loaded in a Florida exhibition game. He held the $14-million per year superstar to a sac fly and gave up two runs on four hits over his three innings against Toronto.
Shaw is a graduate of the Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Academy in Calgary, where he moved to from Winnipeg to complete his final year of high school. This season with Midland he hit .384 with 14 HRs and 63 RBIs in 57 games. Shaw, 6-1, 195-pounds, had announced he will be playing at the University of Oklahoma for the start of the 2014 school year. It was not immediately known if he would sign a pro contract.
He was drafted by the Brewers in the 38th round in 2012, but opted to remain in school.