2016 Canadian draft list
Letters of Intent
Short on words, long on skill.
By Matt Betts
A young man of few words is letting his play do the talking.
All too often the “talk” is not followed by the “walk.”
Nick Howie, a Division 1 college hopeful, does not say much but continues to improve his baseball abilities with each passing day. Howie’s skill level really started to shine while growing up playing for the Oakville A’s minor program. He then took his talents to the Mississauga Majors during his bantam year to play for his father Terry Howie, a long time coach. It was soon after that his father realized it would be beneficial for his son to be coached by a different set of eyes.
This was where Dan Bleiwas and the Ontario Blue Jays came in.
“I have to be the father first.” Terry Howie said. He realized he needed to take a step back and just be there for his son as his talents continued to grow.
Nick was a huge contributor to the Blue Jays World Series team this past summer at the 16U level. That team advanced to the Mickey Mantle World Series in McKinney, Texas. Hitting leadoff and playing left field, Nick was a spark plug of the Blue Jays offence. He then made the jump to the 18U team in the fall where he occupied the same role for the heavily skilled and potent Blue Jays lineup.
It was on the Ontario Blue Jays college trip where he really started turning the heads of college coaches from south of the border. Against the stiff college competition this fall, Nick led the team in batting average, on base percentage and stolen bases. The Garth Webb high schooler enjoyed his fall and may have even surprised himself with his performance.
“I thought it was great,” Nick Howie said about his most recent fall showing. “It was a fantastic experience, it was nice to be able to hold my own.”
Like many young athletes, Nick was a multi-sport star in basketball, volleyball and baseball. He was raised to respect the game at all times by his father and it was clearly understood. Although he can be short on words at times, he sure is not short on praise and appreciation for those around him.
“My parents have been very supportive,” Nick said. “Also, my hitting coach with the Ontario Blue Jays Pat Visca has had a huge influence on me.” It is always refreshing to see such a highly skilled player also be so humble. Talk is cheap any ways.
So what is this youngster’s biggest asset? According to his father it is something few young players possess and some never understand.
“The mental side of the game is one of his biggest strengths,” Terry said. “He has a short memory, I always tell him that is why they call it tomorrow and yesterday, it does not have an effect on today. He was raised as the type of player to be humble and that brings his lunch box and hard hat and goes to work.”
The 6-foot-3 200 pound outfielder also considers his speed one of his strengths. He was given the opportunity to show his stuff in front of many college and professional scouts at this year’s Tournament 12 for Ontario Black. This past season also saw him named to the All Star team at the Perfect Game World Series in Jupiter, Fla. A long and successful summer was followed by a very busy fall.
This is all part of “the grind” Howie will have to get use to as he pursues a college and hopefully professional career.
Howie has already fielded calls from various division one programs but has yet to sign. There is a high expectation for him this summer and he seems up to the challenge. That, and the fact he wants to make sure his academics and 90% average fit with the program he chooses. This has made the recruiting process about a lot more than just baseball.
What does this up and coming player have planned for the winter?
“I am working on getting stronger,” Nick said. “I want to gain strength to improve on my power numbers.”
Speed and power?
Now that is a scary thought for opposing pitchers.