Letters of Intent
By Alexis Brudnicki
Trevor Lofstrom got his first taste of the big stage at Tournament 12 last week.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound outfielder and first baseman from West Kelowna, B.C. earned his chance to step onto the field at Rogers Centre during the second-annual Toronto Blue Jays-hosted event, and he made a name for himself in a big way.
“I’ve done really well,” Lofstrom said. “I played well defensively and then I’ve hit pretty well too…It meant a lot just to get invited, that someone is watching me and someone thinks I’m worth the time to come here and play, so I think I made the most of it.”
Over his team’s seven games, including the championship matchup against Quebec, the west coaster left an impression on all those in attendance, going 7-for-15 with two doubles, a triple, three walks, three runs scored, and seven RBIs to pace his squad, including two game-changing hits.
“Trevor has some of the best power projection from out west,” an American League scout said. “There is no question that he has upside with the bat, but I was impressed with the job he did in left field for a guy of his size.”
In his last year of high school, Lofstrom’s appearance at Tournament 12 – an event supported by the Blue Jays Baseball Academy and Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar – was his first for B.C. and quickly turned into one of the best experiences he’s had in his life.
“I didn’t get to be here last year,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s absolutely awesome. Robbie Alomar is putting on a great thing. It’s unreal. You get to see some college guys and you get to face really great pitching…and playing at Rogers Centre is the best part. It’s like a dream come true. They’re my favourite team, and then I get to play here on the turf.”
The playing surface is the same as the one Lofstrom’s older brother Morgan took to just two summers ago with Team Canada before being selected in the 20th round of the 2013 draft by Canadian scout Bill Byckowski of the Cincinnati Reds.
“Morgan played here with the Junior National Team,” Lofstrom said. “He came here for the Toronto trip for Canada Day two years ago and was on the [base line] for the anthems before he was drafted in 2013 and signed a 2014 contract with the Reds.”
After seeing what his brother has accomplished and the tour he took with Canada’s young team, wearing the red-and-white jersey has become the main goal for Trevor as he starts to think about the possibilities of professional baseball and post-secondary education.
“Absolutely,” Lofstrom said. “He told me every trip was amazing. It’s been nice to watch him and see what he’s gone through and how he’s done, and the struggles he’s gone through. He struggled on the last trip, but every other trip he played well so it’s just good to see the experience and what he went through.”
Morgan’s last trip as a junior was to a pre-world tournament in Australia before the final roster went to the championships in Taiwan. The elder Lofstrom brother didn’t make the last cut and has had some early struggles in his first season of pro ball as well.
The 18-year-old catcher got into 24 games in the Arizona League this summer after an early injury, and hit .215/.244/.266 with four doubles, five RBI and four runs scored over that span. It’s been a learning experience for both Lofstrom siblings.
“It’s hard,” Trevor said of what Morgan told him. “There are a lot of guys and a lot of Dominican players and players from around the world. It’s not just North Americans now. It’s hard work and he didn’t have the greatest season. So he’s got a lot of work to do now and it’s hard.”
Despite all he’s accomplished, Morgan was a little envious of the experience his brother earned over his week in Toronto, and Trevor was happy to be able to make a name for himself on the big-league field.
“I’d like to say I’m putting my name on the map, but obviously he’s helped me,” Trevor said of Morgan. “I wouldn’t want him to pave the way for me, but he’s been on this field before and he’s had quite a few trips all over the world. He’s pretty jealous of Tournament 12 though, and jealous that he missed the first year of the tournament.”
– Follow Alexis Brudnicki on Twitter @baseballexis