What Tom Robson would tell Ryan Kellogg
*RHP Tom Robson (Ladner, BC) was the top Canadian drafted a year ago. What he would tell former teammate LHP Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.), on deciding between going to school or signing with the Blue Jays …
By Alexis Brudnicki
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Do you want to play pro ball or not?
That’s the question that Tom Robson would pose to former teammates Ryan Kellogg, Dayton Dawe, and any of the others that are trying to make tough decisions after being taken in this year’s draft.
Robson was the highest Canadian draft pick last year, taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth round (139th overall). The right-hander’s decision was easy, and he signed with the club a few days before the deadline.
Currently in extended spring training with the Blue Jays, the native of Ladner, BC has gained a lot of experience and knowledge from the year that has passed since his selection. On Tuesday morning, prior to learning the first of 26 Canadians being taken in this year’s draft, Robson was looking forward to seeing where his national teammates would go.
“I have a few friends that should go today,” he said. “Ryan Kellogg and Dayton Dawe are two guys that I know. I played with them last year and they’re both really good guys so I’m hoping I get to see them go today.
“Ryan Kellogg should go pretty early but he does have a tough decision to make because he’s committed to a pretty good school in Arizona State University. It’ll be interesting to see what he does.”
There are plenty of other people interested to see what the 6-foot-5, 220-pound native of Whitby, Ont. will do as well.
Because of his asking price or a desire to go to school — who knows for sure? — Kellogg fell to the 12th round (385th overall) after it was expected he would be taken much higher. Now, with new draft restrictions this year the Jays are limited to what they can pay him. Like any other team, clubs can’t go way over slot as in the past.
Kellogg’s commitment to Arizona State is certainly a viable option – especially considering his draft slot – but he was drafted by his hometown Toronto Blue Jays, a dream of many young Canadian ballplayers.
Londoner Dawe was taken by the New York Yankees in the 15th round (487th overall), but should Kellogg or any other Canadian sign with the Blue Jays, Robson is waiting to welcome them with open arms.
“That would be great if they could come here and I’d have an extra few friends,” the 18-year-old said. “I know obviously it’s not that easy [to make a decision], so if they do come here it’s great. If they don’t, I wish them the best of luck wherever they go.”
Robson hopes his friends make informed decisions as they try to figure out which path to take, and is willing to share what he’s learned over the last year with his potential new teammates.
“If they were to ask me, I would tell them how it is down here,” Robson said. “There are a lot of tough days and you have to wake up at six every morning. It is pretty tough and you’re throwing every day but there are also a lot of positives.
“You have professional coaches with you every day, you’re getting better every day; you get to work on what you love doing every day. Ultimately it’s their decision, but I feel I could help them a little bit with it.”
What would Robson say to Kellogg?
“I’d tell him straight up how I feel about everything,” he said. “I’d ask him if he’d be comfortable doing what we do every day, or would you rather go to school? You can do the school route and then hopefully get drafted again, but there’s always a chance that you won’t get drafted.
“I think the ultimate questions is, do you want to play professional baseball or not? You’re not guaranteed to get drafted again down the road.”
Robson is happy where he is and deciding on his future was simple, but for Kellogg the path is much less clear-cut.
“I’m happy with my decision,” he said. “I think I made the right decision for me. I wasn’t too big on school so I thought it was a bit easier for me to make my decision. Obviously he’s got really good grades; he’s going to a great school. So it will be tough for him.”