Five things to know about the Vancouver Canadians home stand this week

Former Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada is at the Nat tonight as part of the C’s Superstar Series

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The Vancouver Canadians start a six-game home stand at Nat Bailey Stadium tonight (7:05 p.m.) against the Everett AquaSox.

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Vancouver is the high-A farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays. Everett is a Seattle Mariners affiliate, and the C’s and AquaSox are members of the six-team Northwest League. The high-A level is the second of four full-season rungs on minor league baseball’s development ladders.

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Here are five things to know about the C’s upcoming week:

— Former Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada is at the Nat tonight for a meet and greet with fans. It leads off the C’s Superstar Series, which gives the Nat faithful a chance to connect with big-league alums. Buck Martinez (May 28), Orlando Hudson (June 25) and Eric Gagne (Aug. 6) are also slated to make appearances at the ballpark this season. Estrada, 40, spent 12 years in the majors, and his four-season turn with the Blue Jays included Cy Young Award votes in 2015 (he finished 13-8 with a 3.13 earned run average) and an All-Star game appearance in 2016. He pitched well in two post-seasons for Toronto, going 3-3 with a 2.16 ERA in six starts, and he went into the sixth inning in all six of those contests.

Marco Estrada #25 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 4, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Lindsey Wasson /Getty Images

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— Vancouver (11-11) goes into the week in third place in the Northwest League. Everett (10-16) is fifth. The Eugene Emeralds (18-8) lead the way. They’re a San Francisco Giants farm team. The 132-game season is split into the two halves. The winners of each face off in the best-of-five league final. Vancouver are the reigning league champions. They beat Everett in four games in last year’s finale. Vancouver, because of rainouts, has played the fewest innings of all six clubs this season. They’re at 182 and one third. Every other team is 200 innings or better.

— Outfielder Jace Bohrofen, 22, leads Vancouver in batting average (.291) going. He was a 2023 sixth-round draft by the Blue Jays out of the University of Arkansas. Infielder Ryan McCarty, 25, tops the team in runs batted in (19) and is tied for the lead in homers (3). He was signed by Toronto as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State Abington, an NCAA Div. III program. The highest-ranked Blue Jays prospect on the C’s according to MLB Pipeline is left-hander Kendry Rojas, 21, who is No. 10 on Pipeline’s top-30 Blue Jays prospect list. Rojas, a Cuban who signed with Toronto as an international free agent, hasn’t pitched since April 10 and is on Vancouver’s seven-day injured list. Key Seattle up-and-comers in this series include right-hander Michael Morales, 21, who’s slated to start tonight for Everett. He’s No. 12 on the Mariners’ top-30 prospect list with MLB Pipeline. He was as 2021 third-round pick by the Mariners out of an Enola, Pa., high school. He is 1-1, with a 4.00 ERA, in four starts.

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— Everett (.229) and Vancouver (.221) are third and fourth in the Northwest League in team batting average. The Spokane Indians (.265) are tops, while the Tri-City Dust Devils (.206) are at the bottom. Everett (126) is second in runs, behind only Eugene (139). Vancouver (97) is last.

— These six-game, Tuesday-to-Sunday series have become the norm since Major League Baseball remade the minors during its 2020 COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. MLB wanted more structure to focus on development. They also cut costs across the board when they nixed affiliation status with 43 teams.


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