There are 12 Canadian natives to begin the season on Major League rosters. They are Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero of Montreal, Quebec; Cleveland Indians outfielder Josh Naylor of Mississauga, Ontario; St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill of Maple Ridge, British Columbia; Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton of Ladner, British Columbia; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta of Victoria, British Columbia; Miami Marlins pitcher Zach Pop of Brampton, Ontario; Indians relief pitcher Cal Quantrill of Port Hope, Ontario; Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano of Markham, Ontario; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Soroka of Calgary, Alberta; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto of Etobicoke, Ontario; Houston Astros third baseman Abraham Toro of Longueuil, Quebec, and Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Rowan Wick of Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to the 12 Canadian natives, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and New York Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon represent Canada internationally even though they were born in the United States as they both have Canadian parents.
Guerrero batted .262 with nine home runs and 33 runs batted in last season. He is one of two Canadian natives on the Blue Jays that will play an instrumental role this season. With Kirby Yates out with Tommy John surgery, Romano is expected to take over the closer role. Last year Romano sparkled with an earned run average of 1.23 in 15 games.
Naylor and Quantrill both came to Cleveland from San Diego last season. Naylor batted .247 with one home run and six runs batted in, while Quantrill had an earned run average of 2.25 in 18 games.
Soroka did not pitch much last season because of a torn Achilles tendon against the New York Mets. He had an earned run average of 3.95 in 13 2/3 innings. Freeman meanwhile batted .341 with 13 home runs and 53 runs batted in as he was named the National League Most Valuable Player.
Like Freeman, Votto is a starting first baseman for a National League team. Last season he batted .226 with 11 home runs and 22 runs batted in.
It was a struggle offensively for Toro and O’Neill in 2020. Toro only batted .149 with three home runs and nine runs batted in with the Astros, while O’Neill batted only .173 with seven home runs and 19 runs batted in with the Cardinals.
On the mound, Paxton is to be the fifth pitcher in the Mariners starting rotation. It was a struggle for Paxton too last year with the Yankees as he had a poor earned run average of 6.64 in 20 1/3 innings. Pivetta meanwhile had an earned run average in 2020 with the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox. He is slated to be Boston’s fourth starter to begin the year. Pop meanwhile is a rookie with the Marlins, while Wick had an earned run average of 3.12 in 19 games with the Cubs, but begins 2021 on the injury list with an oblique strain. Taillon meanwhile did not pitch in 2020 because of Tommy John surgery. He is slated to begin 2021 as New York’s third starter.