Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
Josh Burgmann is back for another kick at the can at the second annual Tournament 12 which begins Wednesday morning at 8 AM.
Or rather that should be a second kick at the rubber.
Burgmann (Nanaimo, BC) was at the Rogers Centre a year ago working three innings and allowing two runs against Quebec Blue.
Now, the right-hander is answering questions from first timers with BC Orange, for coaches Corey Eckstein (Abbotsford, BC), Brooks McNevin (Terrace, BC), Shawn Bowman (New Westminster, BC) and Paul Spoljaric (Lisle, Ont.) play their first game at 1 PM against the defending champion Atlantic Grey.
And he has the answers.
“They want to know what to expect, I tell them to throw strikes, I tell them to show velocity, that’s what scouts are looking for,” said Burgmann, who is a prospect and eligible for the 2016 draft — which means he may be back next year too.
A rarity when he left BC for Les McTavish’s Vauxhall Academy Jets, he now has company at the southern Alberta school in RHP Jordan Dray (Surrey, BC).
“My parents were skeptical of me leaving home,” he said in the visiting dugout Tuesday afternoon. “It only took a couple of months before they thought it was a good idea.”
His mother Carla is an executive assistant to a lawyer, while father Ron is in charge of shipping at a Nanaimo saw mill.
And Burgmann made kindling of a few bats last spring for the Jets.
He struck out 39 in 31 1/3 innings while walking only 14. Burgmann went 5-0 with one save and a 1.34 ERA as the No. 3 man in the deep Vauxhall rotation which also included Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.) and J.P. Stevenson (Hunter River, PEI), both former members of the Canadian Junior National Team — which happens to be Burgmann’s goal.
Travelling to Centralia, Wash., Vegas, Kamloops, Montana, Okotoks and hosting their own tournament, the Jets went 3-for-5 winning at Great Falls, Mont., Okotoks and their own tournaments.
Burgmann’s favorite pitcher is Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and likely the favourite day on the schedule is the first Wednesday of September when Spirit Week takes place as Vauxhall hosts the Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs. The town of Vauxhall closes its elementary schools and players sign autographs for upwards of 500 children.
Absent with a good reason: The best Canadian high schoolers from coast to coast are at the Rogers Centre — with the exception of the members of the bronze-medal winning Canadian Junior National Team stuck in La Paz, Mex. after Hurricane Odile closed the airport stranding the likes of Demi Ormoloye (Orleans, Ont.) and Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) from Ontario Green, Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) of Alberta Red, Darren Shred (Brampton, Ont.) of Ontario Black and Jean-Francois Garon (Terrebonne, Que.) from Quebec Blue.
With the airport closed, options are either a 20-hour bus trip to San Diego and a flight home, or the military from Mexico using planes to fly out trapped tourists.
Watching: A total of 38 pro scouts from 25 teams were on hand to watch the Workout Day with more expected on Wednesday when games begin. Teams represented were from the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees and four from the Toronto Blue Jays (scouting director Brian Parker, cross checker Tim Rooney, Canadian scout Jamie Lehman and west coast scout Dan Cowan); Minnesota Twins (with Mark Wilson on crutches after a hip replacement), Kansas City Royals; Anaheim Angels, Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres represented by senior Canadian scout Murray Zuk (Souris, Man.).
The total includes two Phillies cross checkers, including former Blue Jays scout/former Montreal Expos farmhand Billy Moore and one each from the Astros, A’s, Rangers and Jays, as well as Walt Burrows (Brentwood Bay, BC), Major League Scouting Bureau boss for Canada.
Watching II: Recruiters from NCAA and NAIA schools to show on workout day …
Division I: Utah, Hawaii, Pitt, Stetson University, Michigan State, University of Buffalo, University of Washington, Georgia State University, Stony Brook, Bryan College, St. John’s University Niagara University, Northern Kentucky, Siena College
NAIA: University of British Columbia.
Division III: Otterbein University.
Fastest: The 10 best 60-yard times …
Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.), Futures Navy, Ontario Blue Jays, 6.45
Adam Hall (London, Ont.), Futures Navy, Great Lake Canadians, 6.57
Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.), Ontario Green, Great Lake Canadians, 6.60
Luxon Glor (Winnipeg, Man.), Prairies Purple, Vauxhall Academy, 6.61
Austin Oulds (Chatham, Ont.), Ontario Green, Great Lake Canadians, 6.65
Royce Ando (Mississauga, Ont.), Ontario Green, Ontario Blue Jays, 6.7
Tristan Pompey (Milton, Ont.), Ontario Green, Toronto Mets, 6.7
Matthew Chiz Majeur (Pte. Clarie, Que.), Quebec Blue, Lachine A’s, 6.68
Jay Oram (Summerside, PEI), Atlantic Grey, Vauxhall Academy, 6.68
Isaac Deveaux (Montreal, Que.), Futures Navy, Upstate Mavericks, 6.69
Jesse Mycock Faure (Victoria, BC), BC Orange, Victoria Mariners, 6.69
Peyton Hoyt (Fredericton, NB), Atlantic Grey, Fredericton Royals, 6.69
Quickest: Fastest pop times of catchers throwing to second base …
Sean Robbins (Edmonton, Alta.), Alberta Red, Vauxhall Academy, 1.93
Ben Komonosky (Regina, Sask.), Prairies Purple, Vauxhaull Academy, 1.95
Max Wright (Toronto, Ont.), Ontario Green, Great Lake Canadians, 1.95
Tony Hrynkiw (Brampton, Ont.), Ontario Green, Ontario Blue Jays, 1.97
Hayden Jaco (Coquitlam, BC), BC Orange, Langley Blaze, 1.97
Cole MacLaren (Morell, PEI), Atlantic Grey, Okotoks Dawgs, 1.97
Workout studs: Impressing in the batting cage, according to scouts:
Eric Senior (Toronto, Ont.), Ontario Black, Toronto Mets.
Elliot Curtis (Waterloo, Ont.), Ontario Green, Ontario Terriers.
Brad Aldred (Oshawa, Ont.), Futures Navy, Toronto Mets
Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.), Futures Navy, Ontario Blue Jays
Adam Hall (London, Ont.), Futures Navy, Great Lake Canadians
Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.), Ontario Green, Great Lake Canadians
Tony Blad (Steinbach, Man.), Prairies Purple, went deep.
Nikolas Cardinal (Bonnyville, Alta.), Alberta Red, Okotoks Dawgs, homered.
Anthony McKinley (Dartmouth, N.S.), Atlantic Grey, also went over the wall.
Second chances: The 6-foot-4 McKinley, 20, injured his ankle last spring at Colby College. As a pitcher at Vauxhall Academy he was a pitching prospect before he injured his shoulder. Now he’s giving it a go ass a position player. He ran a 6.76 and showed the strongest arm from right field. He is eligible to be signed before the tourney ends … Jalen Harris (Toronto, Ont.) released by the Milwaukee Brewers in spring training after three years in the system, will be given a second look and suit up for Ontario Black.
Must watch TV: Everything stops in the Les McTavish household when Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez takes the mound. Even the Vauxhall Academy Jets sons — Shaye, 10 and Brennan, nine — put down what they are doing to watch rookie Sanchez dominate AL hitters.
The front office: Commissioner Roberto Alomar oversaw the workouts along with his Hall of Fame father Sandy Alomar, along with ex-Jays Duane Ward, Devon White, George Bell, Lloyd Moseby, Tanyon Sturtze and Mario Diaz, who went to spring training with the Jays in 1997 when second baseman Carlos Garcia played for manager Cito Gaston.
And the faves are: We asked 15 evaluators and scouts after the eight teams worked out as to who would be the winner come Saturday night?
Of course, a lot of people said it was difficult with players stuck in Mexico and their return uncertain, but the final verdict is:
Alberta, five votes.
Ontario Black, four.
Ontario Green, two.
And Quebec, one.
– Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball