By Andrew Hastings
Canadian Baseball Network
At age 16, David Mendham is maturing into a highly projected prospect.
Mendham is regarded as much for his physical attributes as his mental ones. A six-foot tall, left-handed hitting catcher for the Ontario Nationals, David Mendham approaches the game with a level of maturity few players his age possess.
Due in large part to the fact that his father, Dan Mendham, is a former scout with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau and the hitting instructor for the Premier Baseball League of Ontario’s (PBLO) Ontario Nationals, David has long been exposed to the right way to
A former elite-level hockey player and the current shooting guard for the Lord Dorchester Secondary School basketball team, Mendham is beginning to gradually focus his efforts towards baseball exclusively. Baseball, he says, is the game he loves. His short-term goal is to play Division I NCAA baseball, an opportunity approaching in the near future.
Mendham fully understands what is expected of him to succeed at the next level. His 16U head coach with the Nationals, Shawn Gillespie, emphasized this sentiment when we spoke, stating that he has “seen the progress” over the past couple seasons as a result of David’s “diligent work ethic.”
Gillespie believes Mendham is one of “those athletes” that does not need feedback to be repeated to him and is eager to turn areas of his game that are in need of improvement into his strongest assets.
As “a product of his environment,” Gillespie notes David Mendham’s ability to consistently use the whole field and get himself into a solid hitting position. Gillespie recognizes father Dan Mendham’s keen eye and experience in evaluating countless hitters in aiding his son’s development as a hitter and a student of the game.
The father’s simplified and straightforward hitting philosophies have rubbed off on not only his son but also a great number of Ontario Nationals hitters. Spending time throughout winter workouts getting players committed to using the whole field, finishing with their backside, and improving situational approaches at the plate,
Dan Mendham tactically provides his players with the mental tools to succeed offensively.
Those closest to David are excited to see him continue to grow as an athlete and begin to tap into his natural talents as a ball player. Both coach Mendham and coach Gillespie noted in conversation that David has established a new found commitment to “put on muscle” heading into his into his final years of high school ball – a step young ballplayers are being expected to make at an increasingly earlier age.
Already possessing power at the plate, the Nationals are excited as a program to see Mendham’s advancement over the next three seasons as he spends an increasing amount of time in the weight room and on the track
With the 16U and 18U Ontario Nationals heading to Arizona for spring training and then to Louisville, Ky., Ann Arbor Mich., and a number of other American tournaments throughout the summer, Mendham is poised to gain some exposure south of the border.
If he continues to progress there is no reason why he cannot begin to set his sights toward Tournament 12 and National team tryouts in the coming years.
Despite being newcomers to the PBLO, the Ontario Nationals have a lot to be excited about for the coming season.
And David Mendham is a reason.