*Brock Kjeldgaard (London, Ont.) is knocking down fences for class-A Brevard County (Brewers).
By Bob Elliott
When Brock Kjeldgaard was drafted in the 34th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005, we were missing his height and weight.
So, we emailed his father, Glenn, who was working at the London Free Press.
“Six-foot-five, 215 lbs. of sinewy, taught muscle,” came the reply.
Kjeldgaard looks 10 feet tall to class-A Florida State League pitchers this season. The Brevard County Manatees outfielder has 17 homers in 241 plate appearances — the same number as at Brevard in 539 appearances a year ago. He’s one shy of the franchise record and has won three straight player-of-the-week awards.
Home runs and the Florida State loop are not always in the same sentence.
Shawn Green hit one in 114 games at Dunedin in 1992. Current Brewers slugger Ryan Braun hit seven in 59 games at Space Coast Stadium in 2006: The ocean breeze blows in while most parks in the league are pitcher-friendly.
Pronounced “KILL-guard,” Brock’s hitting .282 with 46 RBIs. Not bad for someone bad who began his pro career on the mound.
Since converting at the start of the 2008, he has hit 68 home runs with 258 RBIs in three-plus seasons. The big swing, tinkered with by former Jays and Brevard coach Darnell Coles, has some holes ... 525 strikeouts.
Brewers scouts Dick (The Legend) Groch and Jay Lapp (London, Ont.) drafted him from the London Badgers.
The two scouts were sitting in the dugout at the Major League Scouting Bureau camp in Welland watching Kjeldgaard. Lapp compared Kjeldgaard to Cleveland Indians slugger Richie Sexton.
At the 2007 Canada Cup in Quebec City, Tony Blengino, assistant scouting director, told Lapp that the right-hander would likely be released at the end of the season. Lapp told Blengino the Sexton story.
“I have no idea if our conversation went further,” Lapp said, “but instead of getting released Brock was told to show in the spring with a bat.”
On the Cape: Is there any better place to spend a summer than Cape Cod?
Not if you are a college ball player.
And four Canadians are summering on the Cape.
East York’s Mike Gibbs is pitching for the Chatham Anglers, Kitchener outfielder Tanner Nivens is with the Brewster Whitecaps, Toronto infielder Maxx Tisenbaum is wearing the Orleans Firebirds colours and infielder Alex Calbick of Burnaby B.C. is also with Chatham.
The 2012 draft is more than 340 days away and Gibbs is the summer book favorite to be the top Canadian selected.
The former Team Ontario right-hander and a Blue Jays draft in 2009 (49th), had his second impressive season with the University of Maine Black Bears this spring. He walked 38 and struck out 70 in 761/3 innings, going 7-4 with a 3.42 ERA.
Tissenbaum, a Toronto Mets grad, hit .343 with five homers and 43 RBIs, and Nivins, former Ontario Terrier, batted .313 with two homers and 35 RBIs in 54 games for the Stoney Brook Seawolves.
Calbick earned freshman All-American honours at Maine, hitting .280 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 57 games.
Reds run table: Jason Rubinstein won twice and struck out 27 batters in the 12 innings as the Thornhill Reds went 4-0-1 to win the Ancaster/Hamilton junior tournament. While Rubinstein allowed only four hits in two games, the Reds had solid pitching from Jake Boyle, Matt Kwok, Cory Jeffrey and Tyler Clements. Thornhill’s Matt Laise and Michael Gray hit home runs.
Mighty minor midgets: The Oakville A’s thumped East York to win 11-1 to win the Oakville minor midget tournament with Michael Deane pitching the win.
Oakville edged the Georgetown Eagles 3-2 in extras to gain a berth in the final. Oakville tied Barrie 6-6 in round-robin play, lost 13-6 to East York and beat Thornhill 7-1 as Deane hit his first home run.
Deane led the A’s in RBIs on the weekend with nine, while Micheal Danton led in hits with six.
Brett Russell, Tyler Cassidy, Alex (Chauncey) Brioux and Christian Tkachyk were effective on the mound.