With Canada Day weekend rapidly approaching it's a good time to reflect on the state of the game in our country. Let's count a few highlights:
- With the recent success of Canadians like Joey Votto, Brett Lawrie, and John Axford (former TBZ employee), it seems that more Canadians are getting the opportunity to play the game at the highest levels.
- This year alone Canada had 26 (62 total since 2011) players taken in June’s MLB draft, 10 of whom have already signed pro contracts.
- Canada also has about 700 student athletes playing baseball and studying south of the border at US Colleges and Universities.
- Even Canadian collegiate baseball programs are catching up, with the first ever CIS player being drafted this year (Shaun Valeriote - Brock Badgers - Toronto Blue Jays).
It certainly seems that over the last 10 years Canadians are taking their passion for training and hard work onto the ball field. Some may say we are at a disadvantage compared to our southern counterparts due to our climate, but one thing I know about Canadians is that we never back down form a challenge. Our athletes often travel great distances to receive premium training and competition and do so without hesitation. I think tenacity is one of our defining characteristics and it shows when our guys play tired, hurt, out of position, or in different climates. I think it’s that "never back down" attitude that takes our players to the next level.
From the grass roots its seems that kids are more into baseball than in past years and are devoting time and resources to development. Canadian kids are getting a better understanding of what it takes to play the game at the highest levels. I am proud to be a part of this movement and even prouder to see it occurring.
Thank you for reading. I’m interested to know what you think, so please feel free to leave comments and why you are proud to be a Canadian baseball fan this weekend.
Ryan Armstrong - The Baseball Zone
With the MLB players draft in books for 2012 we would like to say CONGRATULATIONS to all The Baseball Zone Alumni who had their names called over the course of the last 3 days. There were an unprecedented 11 players drafted who have trained at The Baseball Zone at some point over their young careers.
We want to wish all of these players the best of luck as they move forward with their athletic careers. They learned at a young age that hard work and sacrifice can pay off.
As we look deeper at the success players have had this past year even more will be headed south of the border on baseball scholarships. For every single player that was drafted there are over 3 players that will attend college in the US next year. There are 32 players who have signed letters of intent and we want to congratulate all of those players for an outstanding job.
Good Luck to all of you this Fall!
Carson Kelly - 3B/P
(86th Overall draft pick)
Just a few facts before you look at the names below.
10 out of 26 drafted Canadians are current or former attendees of The Baseball Zone
32 out of 115 players (over 25%) that have committed to go to the US are also current or former attendees of The Baseball Zone
Carson Kelly (Portland, Oregon) was the highest drafted former student of The Baseball Zone this year going 86th overall (and he is committed to the University of Oregon).
Over 58% (10 out of 17) of players drafted in Ontario this year trained at The Baseball Zone.
Check out the full list of students from The Baseball Zone below:
Carson Kelly – 2nd Round
Eric Wood – 6th Round
Jeff Gibbs – 9th Round
Max Tissenbaum – 11th Round
Dayton Dawe – 15th Round
Jasvir Rakkar – 26th Round
Nathan Desouza – 26th Round
Bryan Saucedo – 29th Round
Christian Botnick – 34th Round
Shaun Valeriote – 39th Round
Derek Jones – 39th Round
Letters of Intent
LHP Adam Anderson, Georgetown, Ont., University of North Carolina at Greensboro (NC)
RHP Michael Clouthier, Guelph, Ont., Boston College (MA)
RHP Dayton Dawe, London, Ont., University of Maine (ME)
INF Kyle Hann, Oakville, Ont., Oklahoma State University (OK)
RHP Graham Tebbit, Mississauga, Ont., Hofstra University (NY)
OF Cam Wilkie, Mississauga, Ont., Brown University (RI)
C Patrick Griffin, Oakville, Ont., College of Saint Rose (NY)
RHP Mike Morley, Oakville, Ont., University of West Alabama (AL)
3B-RHP Daniel Peake, Mississauga, Ont., Wayne State University (MI)
OF-RHP Bryan Pyper, East York, Ont., Notre Dame College (OH)
LHP Bryce Schumilas, Waterloo, Ont., Truman State University (MO)
OF-LHP Nick Skillins, Aurora, Ont., Northwestern Oklahoma State University (OK)
RHP Steve Somerville, Ajax, Ont., Lander University (SC)
INF-RHP Yuji Suzuki, Toronto, Ont., Concordia University (MN)
C Chris Willins, Brampton, Ont., Alderson-Broaddus College (WV)
RHP Mark Wilush, Oakville, Ont., University of Tampa (FL)
RHP Travis Laitar, Fergus, Ont., State University of New York College at Cortland (NY)
LHP Brandon Hurst, Innisfil, Ont., Ashford University (IA)
1B Jonathan Palumbo, Georgetown, Ont., Davenport University (MI)
RHP Jeremy Newton, Toronto, Ont., University of British Columbia (BC)
LHP-1B Bruce Yari, Waterloo, Ont., University of British Columbia (BC)
RHP Brock Beirness, Kitchener, Ont., Northeastern Jr. College (CO)
LHP Steven Dressler, Burlington, Ont., Blinn College (TX)
1B Jason Freeman, Mississauga, Ont., Northeast Texas College (TX)
INF Robert Grilli, Mississauga, Ont., Salt Lake City Community College (UT)
OF Derek Jones, Brampton, Ont., Rose State College (OK)
OF Aaron Loder, Guelph, Ont., Arizona Western College (AZ)
1B Ethan Nodwell, Toronto, Ont. Western Texas College (TX)
C Zach Sardellitti, Maple, Ont., Central Arizona College (AZ)
RHP Brendan Butrimas, Mississauga, Ont., Carl Sandburg College (IL)
LHP Marc Clauser, Etobicoke, Ont., Monroe Community College (NY)
OF Kyle Kinsey, Erin, Ont. Oakton Community College (IL)
List of letters of intent courtesy www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com
At some point or another a great deal of youth baseball players dream of earning themselves a baseball scholarship. For some, that dream can become a reality and somewhere in between the path will include interaction with a recruiter, often a member of the coaching staff.
If you are fortunate enough to be in this group, keep dreaming big but also plan for the more likely. Just in case you don't become the next multi-million dollar superstar, make sure you leave with an education that makes sense for you and your non-baseball goals.
So what are some good academic questions to ask when speaking with the recruiter? Well this is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are 5 suggestions:
1 - "Does your school offer a degree in _______?"
This might sound like an easy question, but it has been known to happen. If you have your mind set on a post-athletic career of some sort, make sure that the school offers degrees that make sense for your goals.
2 - "How often do your players graduate on time?"
This can be a good clue as to how important the baseball program values academics as part of the student-athlete balance. It is in their best interests to maintain their athletes' eligibility for sure, but maintaining eligibility and graduating on time are different subjects. You want to avoid being left with a partially completed degree when your scholarship runs out.
3 - "Does the program have a dedicated academic advisor?"
Again this goes towards the student-athlete balance. The time demands of a student-athlete versus a general student can be much tougher and academic support will come in handy.
4 - "What are the school's admission requirements?"
This is important to get out of the way early in the process. If your grades and SATs are far below the school's requirements, then it is best to not waste time going down the road with that school. Liekwise, if the admissions requirements are far below your academic standing, the school may not be the correct academic fit for you.
5 - "What are the qualifications required for an academic scholarship?"
Contrary to popular belief, baseball programs do not have unlimited scholarships to hand out. Thus, it is very unusual to have a full athletic scholarship as they will divide them up and hand out partial scholarships. But if you are a very good student, then it behooves you to also seek out academic money in order to offset the full costs of the school.
So if you are in the process of being recruited, these are some good questions to get you off on the right foot. As stated, it is not an exhaustive list so we'd love to hear some other good questions from our readers.
And good luck!