Being a huge fan of ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption, I finally had a reason to incorporate one of my favorite aspects of the show in one of my posts.
Tony Kornheiser, in his unique, satirical brilliance ends each show with the wave of a mini-Canadian flag, and simply says, “Goodnight Canada.”
I love it. Mainly, because Kornheiser has no ties to Canada.
He is a product of the State University of New York school system, much like yours truly. Unlike Kornheiser, I graduated from SUNY-Buffalo, and he SUNY-Binghamton.
Why he has such a proclivity for acknowledging his Canadian viewers is unknown to me, but it got me thinking.
Knowing from the top of my head a few Canadian fantasy baseball gems, I want to dedicate this article to the Red and White.
Here are my top Canadian fantasy players for 2008.
10) Scott Thorman, 1B ATL
Maybe not a fantasy gem, yet.
But if there are CI or OF injuries in Atlanta, the Cambridge, Ontario native will see quality at bats.
He is not a draftable player in most leagues, but could be an early waiver-wire prospect.
Keep an eye out.
9.) Ryan Dempster, SP/RP CHI
Out of Gibsons, B.C., Dempster is in a transition year, so to speak.
Will he start?
Maybe get some chances at regaining the Cubbies closer role?
Or, maybe just middle relief for the start of the season. At least he is making news, recently predicting the Cubs will win the World Series this year.
8.) Eric Gagne, RP MIL
A few seasons ago, as the leagues best closer, he would be at the top of this list.
He was straight up nasty, but injuries and unstable closer situations and a brief, forgettable stint in Boston has since lessened his overall fantasy value.
He has a few guys to compete with in for the full season job, but he is a nice risk/reward selection in the mid-rounds.
7.) Rich Harden, SP OAK
Harden is not yet the “bizarro” of former pitching aces.
Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and Dan Haren are.
Harden is coming off injury, but has ace potential if healthy.
A late-round potential steal, and a great, deep keeper choice, makes him a high value, yet high-risk pick.
Maybe being from Victoria, B.C. is the difference that makes Harden last in Oakland.
OK, that probably will have nothing to do with it.
6.) Joey Votto, 1B CIN
A major sleeper candidate, Votto is going to start right away for the Reds.
A full-season's worth of at-bat’s is going to produce excellent overall hitting numbers for the 24-year old from Toronto.
He is one of the best deep keeper prospects you’ll find this season.
5.) Jeff Francis, SP COL
Another B.C. native, this time a Vancouver representative.
Francis proved last season he could lead a pitching staff.
I think the lefty is set for a season full of wins, and very good ERA and WHIP numbers.
If you can snag Francis as your 3rd or 4th starter, you will look like you know exactly what you are talking aboot.
I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist.
4.) Jason Bay, OF PIT
Bay was a fantasy force to be reckoned with two seasons ago, but last season he regressed big time.
Hailing from Trail, B.C., Bay is looking to bounce back in 2008, and we could see a nice improvement in all stats this year.
He is going to slip in most drafts, but you could do worse than making him your 2nd or 3rd OF.
3) Justin Morneau, 1B MIN
The former MVP from New Westminster, B.C. is also a candidate for bounce-back player of the year.
Winning the award in 2006 made Morneau a top draft choice last season, but he didn’t live up to his previous performance.
His stats weren't a far cry from 2006, but his average and RBI numbers declined dramatically.
Morneau is still a top-five fantasy 1B and should be selected in the top four rounds.
2.) Russell Martin, C L.A.
The best fantasy catcher in the game was born in East York, Ontario.
He spent time in Quebec as a youngster, and landed on the fantasy landscape in 2006.
He does it all, and as a catcher no less.
A great selection late in the 3rd round, and a steal past it, Martin is in a tier all by himself.
1.) Erik Bedard, SP SEA
One of the best starting pitchers in baseball, Bedard has a new team in and is now pitching for a contender.
We know he has the K potential, but add a possible 18+ wins and he will more than be worth your early round investment.
Look for this Navan, Ontario native to finish as a top-three fantasy pitcher.