Dykxhoorn is one tall drink of water
* RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, Ont.) drafted in the 20th round by the Cincinnati Reds, shown here at a Roger Centre workout before the Canadian juniors went to Italy, is now in South Korea and then it’s on to West Virginia University ….
By Alexis Brudnicki
The sky is the limit for Brock Dykxhoorn.
And he’s almost reached it, thanks to his 6-foot-8 frame.
Actually, the 18-year-old is in the beginning stages of his baseball career, with all the room in the world to move up.
Dykxhoorn didn’t even throw a breaking ball until last year. Now, after being drafted in the 20th round by the Cincinnati Reds, he is heading off to begin his collegiate career at West Virginia University, with a pitstop at the IBAF 18U World Championships in Seoul, Korea along the way.
The right-hander is on his third trip with Team Canada, after he seemingly “came out of nowhere.” He is coming off of a successful summer with his own squad, using what he already learned from his national coaches.
“I was playing for the Ontario Nationals in the [Premier Baseball League of Ontario],” Dykxhoorn said. “I pitched well with them. We finished in fourth place and it was our first year in the league, so we were pretty happy with that.
“I was trying to get some work in. Chris Reitsma, the pitching coach here, gave me some pointers to work on over the summer so I focused on that and I did pretty well.”
The native of Goderich will be looking to continue his success this fall when he heads to West Virginia. He’s already getting into the swing of things, having to start his college homework during his trip to the world championships with the national team.
“I start right when I get there,” Dykxhoorn said. “They’re an all-new coaching staff so they’re going to use up some of their league games in the fall just to see the talent that we’ve got. They brought in 16 new players, so they’re definitely making a change at West Virginia. They haven’t been the best in the last couple of years, but they’re definitely making a change.”
That change is what eventually drew Dykxhoorn to the school. The abundance of fresh faces will allow him an early opportunity to get out on the mound and show his coaches and teammates what he can do.
“That was a big selling point for me with West Virginia,” he said. “They just got in the Big 12, so I can play in a really good conference and I can basically start playing right away. The coach told me that right now I’m slotted as the third starter, the Sunday starter. So that was definitely a good selling point for me.”
The decision for the young pitcher to head to college was not an easy one. After waffling back and forth between school and pro ball, it was the selling points plus the chance to pursue his education further, that eventually led him away from the professional ranks.
“It took a lot of thinking,” Dykxhoorn said. “Me and my parents, one day we’d be signing with the Reds and the next day we were going to school. It probably took about two or three weeks after the draft.
“Then Greg Hamilton actually set me up with West Virginia and coach Randy Mazey there. He called me and then we went from there. I went down on a visit and I loved it down there. And I met with the pitching coach and he was a really good guy.”
Dykxhoorn believes that many of the opportunities he’s been given have been thanks to his time with the Canadian junior team that he’s only been a part of for three trips now.
“It’s been amazing,” he said. “I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am without it. I was just in small-town Stratford playing in a couple American tournaments to see what could happen and now, so much more has happened. It’s great.”
The right-handed hurler credits Hamilton, the national teams’ director, with a lot of what he’s been able to accomplish in his baseball career, especially of late.
“He’s unreal,” Dykxhoorn said. “I don’t really know how else to describe him. He’s helped me personally a ton and he’s done a great job of picking this team. We’ve got great guys here and hopefully we can do some good work in Korea.”
Dykxhoorn certainly believes that the juniors will be able to accomplish that in Seoul.
“We’ve got a really good team here,” he said. “Greg and the other coaches have done a really good job of taking the best talent out of Canada and we’re going there to win. Hopefully we can. I’m not too sure what the other competition is going to be like; I’m pretty sure it’s going to be good but I think we’ve definitely got a good chance. We’re going there to win.”