Extra Bases IV -- Mizuno Camp

By Bob Elliott In a way it's like getting invited to the senior prom by the head cheerleader ... while still in grade 10 or 11.

It's very flattering to be invited to the Mizuno Junior Elite Camp, work out at Rogers Centre learn from Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and Brian Butterfield as well as Olympic veterans Adam Stern (Port Stanley, Ont.) and Chris Robinson (Dorchester, Ont.) attend life skills seminars, heard Jays starter Scott Richmond (North Vancouver, BC) speak and oh yes see the Jays battle the Boston Red Sox, featuring Jason Bay (Trail, BC).

A total of 55 players from across the country representing every province were invited to the camp, hosted by Baseball Canada and Jays scouting director Kevin Briand. There were 48 16-year-old and seven 15-year-olds invited. The Mizuno camp is a feeder system to the Canadian National Junior Team program, run by Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, Ont.), who ran this show as well, and national team pitching coach Denis Boucher (Montreal, Que.)

The two most famous Mizuno graduates are Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) of the Los Angeles Dodgers and lefty Adam Loewen (Surrey, B.C.) of the Baltimore Orioles. Former Seattle Mariners farmhand Hyung Cho (Scarborough, Ont.), also a National Team alumnist and a territory manager with Mizuno Canada discussed finding proper equipment and sizing while Jeff Krushell (Calgary, Alta.), of Krush Sports Performance, spoke on proper nutrition and strength and conditioning.

The other instructors on hand were: Cory Eckstein (Abbotsford, BC), Omar Kadir (Lethbridge, Alta.), Cody Hovestad (Swift Current, Sask.), Ryan Anderson (Winnipeg, Man.), Jamie Bettens (Winnipeg, Man.), John Milton (Vaughan, Ont.), Geoff Whent (Whitby, Ont.), Alex Agostino (St. Bruno, Que.), Chris Chenard (Quebec City, Que.), John Hickey (Fredricton, N.B.), Chris Salsman (Kentville, N.S.), Desi Doyle (Mt. Stewart, PEI) and Chris Grimes (Grand Falls, Nfld.).

Stern and Robinson coached their respective teams in the game which wound up the camp, with Team Stern earning the win. Bruce Lombard (Oakville, Ont.) retired the side in order in his inning pitched, registering a pair of strikeouts. Jonathan Paquet (Québec City, Que.) also had two strikeouts in his 1-2-3 inning and Mike Ellis (Surrey, BC) registered all three outs in his inning of work via strike out.

Justin Atkinson (Surrey, BC) had an RBI triple while Alex Calbick (Burnaby, BC) had a pair of hits, including a double. Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) had a pair of hits and an RBI and Etienne Levesque (Chateauguay, Que/) had an RBI single.

The CBN spoke to a number of players -- at least one from each province -- during the camp to get their impressions of making the prom ...

Name Brian Bardis
Position LHP
Age 16
Ht. 5'10" Wt. 175 lbs.
Bats L Throws L
Hometown St. Constant, Que.
2008 Team Les Ducs Longeuil, Les Ailes du Quebec
2009 Team Les Ducs Longeuil, Les Ailes du Quebec
Baseball Influence "My father, George, he coached me up until 2007. He was a very good and drove me to the park every day, some days for games, some days for practice and some days just play catch."
Favourite Player "Josh Hamilton because he overcame a lot of issues and now he's one of the best hitters in the game."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Making the Canadian National Junior Team fall instructional league club which is going to Disney."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "Knowledge wise it was the pitching routine Brad Arnsberg taught us ... Roy Halladay's. Day one is a start day, Day 2 he pitches again, runs and does weights. Day 3 he was throwing again and working on his legs and shoulder. Day 4 was a bullpen and some conditioning and Day 5 he would start again."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Throwing off the Rogers Centre mound. I had a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts."

 

Name Matt Clark
Position OF
Age 16
Ht. 6'3" Wt. 180 lbs.
Bats R Throws R
Hometown Woodstock, N.B.
2008 Team Fredericton Royals, Team New Brunswick
2009 Team Fredericton Royals, Team New Brunswick
Baseball Influence "My coach, Dennis Daley. He was my first coach in Woodstock (pop. 6,000) from junior mosquito on up. He make practices fun and games fun. I still am on the same team as his son Braden, who is an outfielder."
Favourite Player "Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox. He's one of the best rookies in the game, he's an outfielder like myself and his speed on the base paths is exciting to watch. He's got the potential to be one of the games top players in a few years and I'm looking forward to watching him tear up the league."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Getting chosen for the Mizuno camp. I'm going to the Vauxhall Academy in Alberta to play for Les McTavish either in January of next fall."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "Learning how important movement is from Jeff Krushell (strength and conditioning coach) learning to stay balanced from Adam Stern."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Getting to see the Boston Red Sox play -- they're my favorite team and getting to see the Blue Jays play. They are the last major-league team left in Canada."

 

Name Kellin Deglan
Position C
Age 16
Ht. 6'2" Wt. 195 lbs.
Bats L Throws R
Hometown Langley, B.C.
2008 Team Langley Blaze
2009 Team Langley Blaze, Canadian National Junior Team
Baseball Influence "My mom, Karin, and my dad, Gary. They both spoiled me when it came to anything and everything to do with baseball ... paying for trips to Arizona, paying for trips to Perfect Games showcases, paying for bats and equipment."
Favourite Player "Geovany Soto of the Chicago Cubs, because he plays in a lot of games, controls the pitching staff well and he is a very good hitter in the clutch."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Getting invited to try out for the Team Canada National Junior Team by Les McTavish. He emailed me a few days after the Canada Cup in Medicine Hat."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "How important nutrition is, how I need to agility work, to block balls in the dirt and to have quick feet."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "The Life Skills seminars. They really make you realize how tough it is to make it to the majors. Listening to Jeff Krushell (of Krush Sports Performance) speak on strength and conditioning."

 

Name Mike Ellis
Position RHP
Age 16
Ht. 5'11" Wt. 160 lbs.
Bats L Throws R
Hometown Surrey, B.C.
2008 Team Langley Blaze, BC Selects
2009 Team Langley Blaze
Baseball Influence "My dad, Randy, he coached his own team before I started playing, just before the Premier League began, a 19U team. I started out as his bat boy and once I was old enough to play he taught me."
Favourite Player "Roy Halladay. As a right-hander I look up to him. He sets up hitters very well. You can see the determination on his face. Listening to Brad Arnsberg talk to him was very inspiring. Arnsberg told us how A.J. Burnett tried to do Halladay's program and quit half-way through."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "In our Premier League provincials I threw a no-hitter and struck out nine against the Nanaimo Pirates, I was pretty proud of that. In 2005, at the peewee nationals in Summerside, PEI, I pitched the first five innings and then went to right field and we beat Quebec 10-0 to win the gold medal. The next year in bantam in Windsor we lost to Quebec in a qualifying game -- they killed us."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "What I found fascinating was learning about Halladay's five-day starting rotation and how he does legs after he pitches. I'm trying to incorporate that in what I do."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Guys on my team -- Brooklyn Foster, Rory Young, Zak Miller -- went last year and told me that Halladay was likely to show up. So I took my Roy Halladay jersey to the park and kept it in my bag every day. Guys were giving him bats and balls to sign. I pulled out the Halladay jersey and he said 'wow, you came prepared, didn't you?"

 

Name Dakota Fedak
Position RHP
Age 16
Ht. 6'0" Wt. 175 lbs.
Bats L Throws R
Hometown Regina, Sask.
2008 Team Regina Athletics, Team Saskatchewan
2009 Team Regina Athletics, Team Saskatchewan
Baseball Influence "The Honda Hit, Run and Throw. I'd never played before but my dad, Kelvin, entered me out of curiosity and I won Saskatchewan and got to go to the SkyDome when I was 10 years old."
Favourite Player "Roy Halladay. I got meet him in the bullpen when he came down to do his bullpen. It was pretty amazing. We got ask questions about his routine. He signed a baseball for us. I got it in my cupboard in my bedroom."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Going to the nationals in Summerside, PEI as peewees and winning the bronze medal, we beat Nova Scotia in 2004."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "Brad Arnsberg said so many things but the thing I took the most care about is to have a routine and take care of your arm, doing long toss, throwing bullpens and everything that allows you to stay healthy."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Pitching in the game and striking out the side ... well I also walked three. I went strike, then two walks, strikeout, another walk and then a strikeout."

 

Name Austin Huibers
Position LHP
Age 16
Ht. 6'3" Wt. 160 lbs.
Bats L Throws L
Hometown Waterdown, Ont.
2008 Team Intercounty Terriers
2009 Team Intercounty Terriers
Baseball Influence "My dad, Allan. When I was young he was there every day no matter how tired he was when he came home from work -- he's a golf pro at Rattlesnake Golf Course -- to work on ground balls, drills. Even though he's not very good at catching me, he sits on a ball bucket and catches me, even when I am throwing in the 80s."
Favourite Player "Barry Zito, because he is the first lefty pitcher I ever watched."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Winning the OBA bantam D championship with Waterdown, we beat Amherstburg 10-0 and I pitched a no hitter at Stratford Stadium. Pitching a one-hitter in a 3-0 win for the Terriers against the Kentucky Kings in the Sandlott World Series."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "Brad Arnsberg taught me to stay back and not drag my arm."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Playing on the field at the Rogers Centre and being able to throw a bullpen next to Roy Halladay in the Rogers Centre bullpen."

 

Name Bruce Lombard
Position RHP
Age 16
Ht. 6'2" Wt. 175 lbs.
Bats L Throws R
Hometown Oakville, Ont.
2008 Team Team Ontario
2009 Team Team Ontario
Baseball Influence "Ryan Armstrong, my instructor at The Baseball Zone. I've been to a lot of pitching clinics with him. He's helped me with arm mechanic, how to get over arm problems and how to avoid them."
Favourite Player "Roy Halladay because of his work ethic on an off the field. Brad Arnsberg told us all about his work routine and how he is an idol to guys who pitch for the Blue Jays."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Getting invited to the Mizuno Camp."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "Coach Brad Arnsberg taught me a changeup grip, that's a pitch I'd had some problems with in the past."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Talking to Arnsberg and getting to watch Halladay pitch his bullpen right in front of us. Then, he came and talked to us and signed some baseball and bats. He's a great guy, he seemed genuine."

 

Name Justin Marra
Position C
Age 15
Ht. 5'10" Wt. 175 lbs.
Bats L Throws R
Hometown Toronto, Ont.
2008 Team North York Blues
2009 Team Ontario Blue Jays
Baseball Influence "My brother, Daniel, he was an excellent middle infielder. My brother Adam helped a lot too. Daniel is on a scholarship to a good Division I school at South Dakota State University, Someday I hope I can get a scholarship too. I like to watch famous catchers on YouTube, guys like Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Ivan Rodriguez and see how they handle situations."
Favourite Player "My favorite would be Russell Martin, just because he hits in amazing fashion for a catcher, but most of all, he`s Canadian."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Going to the Little League nationals with High Park in 2005. We were 5-0 and we got beat by B.C. Hitting a game winning homer when the score was tied 9-9 to beat Windsor Riverside at the Ontario bantam eliminations in August. We lost the gold-medal game to B.C. No. 13 over there (Michael Foster) was on our team too."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "I learned a lot from Chris Robinson. He's an outstanding player and was on our Olympic Team and is a great teacher. He told me I had to get my rear in the air with a man on base and have my legs ready in a steal situation, one foot slightly ahead of the other."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Getting to meet Greg Hamilton of Baseball Canada and listening to all the great speakers we had here. Ultimately my highlight would be just being at the Rogers Centre and competing with some of the best players in Canada."

 

Name Brody McDonald
Position LHP-OF
Age 16
Ht. 6'1" Wt. 185 lbs.
Bats L Throws L
Hometown Cornwall, PEI.
2008 Team PEI Youth Selects, Canada Summer Games
2009 Team PEI Youth Selects, Canada Summer Games
Baseball Influence "Pitching instructor, Joe Puiia, a lot of technical stuff, he helped with my delivery."
Favourite Player "Roy Halladay, I like his attitude, he's very serious on the mound and he has a great work ethic."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Making it as an under-ager on the PEI Youth Selects in 2007, I was the only under-ager."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "Jeff Krushell taught us lot of stuff about posture and how to help my arm to avoid surgeries"
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "At the game, Roy Halladay came out and threw his bullpen session. I was playing first base at the time. A lot of guys got autographs, I was busy playing first b

 

Name Steve McKinnon
Position RHP
Age 16
Ht. 6'4" Wt. 220 lbs.
Bats R Throws R
Hometown Duncan, B.C.
2008 Team Nanaimo Pirates
2009 Team Nanaimo Pirates, Canadian National Junior Team
Baseball Influence "My dad, Larry. He coached me all the way up. He taught me my pitching motions."
Favourite Player "My favorites are Roy Halladay and Jason Bay. Halladay because he's a great pitcher and it is good to watch someone that plays the same position. It's cool to see a Canadian like Bay doing as well as he is doing and hoping you will be like that someday."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Pitcher of the year with the 2007 Nanaimo Jr. Pirates, being invited to try out for the Canadian National Junior Team.
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "How to stay closed, come up more with my lead arm. I tried to soak in everything Brad Arnsberg said."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Playing on the Rogers Centre field. Plus, playing on the field and learning so much from the coaches that were there and meeting Roy Halladay."

 

Name Johnathan Paquet
Position RHP
Age 16
Ht. 6'4" Wt. 180 lbs.
Bats L Throws R
Hometown Quebec City, Que..
2008 Team Charlesbourg Condors
2009 Team Charlesbourg Condors
Baseball Influence "My coach, Chris Chenard. I taught me how to pitch like a pitcher, he taught me how to think like a pitcher. All I know about pitching -- or most of it -- I learned from Chris. He's my coach and he's also by teacher at the Sports Institute School in Quebec City."
Favourite Player "My favorite player would be Russel Martin, because he once was a player like myself and he went through the same path that I'm taking right now and he managed to get very far in baseball."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Making the Quebec midget triple-A team as an underager and having a 0.60 earned run average. I think I allowed three earned runs over the whole year."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "If you want to get far you have to make baseball your lifestyle. Baseball take more than just what goes on inside the ball park."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Getting to practice with all these great players from across the country and in the game, the inning I threw, two strikeouts and a comebacker against Quebec player for the third out."

 

Name Tom Robson
Position RHP
Age 15
Ht. 6'2" Wt. 175 lbs.
Bats R Throws R
Hometown Ladner, B.C.
2008 Team Fraser Valley Chiefs
2009 Team Fraser Valley Chiefs
Baseball Influence "Two people, Brent Crowther and Dave Empy. I've been with both those guys most of my life. Brent taught me basic pitching mechanics and worked with me from age 6-to-12 at the Dugout. Then Dave, who coached Ryan Dempster, Simon Pond and a whole bunch of other guys started coaching me. Dave took me to the next level."
Favourite Player
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Top BC pitcher with the 2006 peewees and making Fraser Valley. Most of the teams are grade 11 and grade 12 and I was in grade 9. (Just like Adam Loewen?) His father is my phys-ed teacher in Detla. His name? Mr. Loewen."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "Listening to Brad Arnsberg talk. He makes pitching really clear and easy to understand."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp

 

Name Paul Schaak
Position LHP
Age 16
Ht. 6'1" Wt. 175 lbs.
Bats L Throws R
Hometown Winkler, Man.
2008 Team Pembina Valley Orioles, South Central, Manitoba Youth Team
2009 Team Pembina Valley Orioles, Manitoba Youth Team
Baseball Influence "Jamie Bettens, my coach. He's our pitching coach for our Manitoba Team. He's helped me with a lot of pitching things and helped me along."
Favourite Player "Roy Halladay. He so good the way he spots all his pitches and because he's such hard worker. We saw him throw a bullpen the last day, he signed some things and talked to us -- that was really cool."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Getting invited to fall instructional camp with Canadian National Junior Team, we leave in a few days."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "How important consistency and repetition are. How you have to try to perfect your delivery are. It will never be perfect but you have to try to get as close as you can."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Being on the field at Rogers Centre and seeing Halladay, that was awesome."

 

Name Cody Shrider
Position OF
Age 16
Ht. 5'11" Wt. 150 lbs.
Bats R Throws R
Hometown Dartmouth, N.S.
2008 Team Dartmouth Mariners, Nova Scotia Selects
2009 Team Dartmouth Mariners
Baseball Influence "My parents, Angela and Johnny, they started me off playing ball and they took me around to all the games and practices. I wouldn't haven been able to play without them"
Favourite Player "Alex Rios because of the way he hits and plays the game."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Making the N.S. Youth Selects as a first-year midgets and going to the Canada Cup. I hit a way better than I thought I would."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "I learned plenty of technique on how to field the ball from Adam Stern."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Roy Halladay came down and threw a bullpen when I was in left field."

 

Name Greg Telford
Position C
Age 16
Ht. 5'10" Wt. 175 lbs.
Bats L Throws R
Hometown Newmarket, Ont.
2008 Team Ontario Blue Jays
2009 Team Ontario Blue Jays
Baseball Influence "My dad, Todd, he got my started and pretty much taught me everything I know. He gave me the basics and coached me in Newmarket."
Favourite Player "Jimmy Rollins because he's an exciting player to watch because of the way he steals bases and make diving plays in the field."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Making the York-Simcoe all-star team to go to the Ontario Summer Games in 2006 at Ottawa as an under-ager. We lost in the bronze medal game."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp  "I learned a lot about base running from Brian Butterfield and positioning when it came to catching from Chris Robinson."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "Playing in the game at the Rogers Centre."

 

Name Grant Vincent
Position 3B
Age 16
Ht. 5'11" Wt. 180 lbs.
Bats R Throws R
Hometown Corner Brook, Nfld.
2008 Team Corner Brook Barons, Terra Novas
2009 Team Corner Brook Barons, Terra Novas
Baseball Influence "My dad, Brian, or my coaches John Snow and Billy Taggart. My dad taught me pretty much everything. John and Billy taught me the basics."
Favourite Player "Alex Rodriguez because he's one of the best hitters in the game."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "Being invited to the Mizuno camp and winning the Honda, Hit, Run and Throw at the Rogers Centre when I was eight."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "Greg Hamilton taught me to look at the contact zone because that makes it easier to tell if it's a hard-hit line drive or a chopper."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "When Roy Halladay came the last day to throw bullpen."

 

Name Shane Zimmer
Position OF
Age 16
Ht. 6'0" Wt. 175 lbs.
Bats R Throws R
Hometown St. Albert, Alta.
2008 Team St. Albert Cardinals
2009 Team St. Albert Cardinals
Baseball Influence "My dad, Brad. Ever since I was little he made sure to go the extra mile. When I was young he introduced me to the game and gave me a love for baseball. When I busted my collar bone playing hockey they said if I didn't quit I wouldn't be able to throw a baseball again. I quit hockey."
Favourite Player "It would have to be Alex Rios because he always works hard and hits consistently with power. I have like him since he started playing for the Jays."
Greatest Baseball Achievement "We went to two nationals. In 2004, we went to Summerside, PEI for the peewee nationals and I won the home run derby, hitting three in the first round and two in the second. In 2006 we went to Windsor and were silver medallists as bantams. And this August we were in Medicine Hat for the Baseball Canada Cup."
No. 1 Thing Learned at Mizuno Camp "I was always a third baseman and they just moved me to the outfield. So Adam Stern helped me learn a lot: to throw over the top, how to get back spin on a throw, to drop step on a ball over my head."
Highlight of the Mizuno Camp "I've seen the Detroit Tigers play the Colorado Rockies before, but seeing games at the Rogers Centre and then taking batting practice was quite a thrill. I was standing in centre and turned around after a out and saw Roy Halladay running poles. I also to got the last hit of the game -- that was something i will remember."