* 1B Jordan Lennerton along with brother Ryan and father Cam Lennerton, part of Langley's first family along with Doug and Scott Mathieson. .... Canadians drafted in the top 200 Top Canucks drafted year by year Canuck$ with si$-figue bonu$
By Bob Elliott
NEW YORK _ Langley, B.C.’s first family of baseball does not have a first rounder or the top Canadian selected in the draft.
Nor does the regal Langley tree contain either Brett Lawrie or Kellin Deglan, first rounders who played for the Langley Blaze.
And it doesn’t contain Tom Robson, the top Canuck drafted in 2011, or Tyler O’Neill, the top high schooler selected this June.
“It’s Doug Mathieson, he built the McLeod Athletic Park and the Langley Blaze program,” said Langley’s Jordan Lennerton before the 15th annual Sirus XM Futures Game Sunday afternoon at Citi Field. Doug oversees the Blaze while son Scott Mathieson was a 17th rounder who overcame two Tommy John surgeries to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies and signed with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.
The Lennertons are right there as 1-A in Langley with the Mathieson clan.
Cam Lennerton helped Mathieson build McLeod when the Blaze moved from City Park, used to be the grounds keeper and still helps out the organization.
His eldest son, Ryan, was drafted twice by the Los Angeles Dodgers and now Jordan is amongst the best prospects in the minors.
There were 25 players on the Team USA roster including 18 former first rounders.
There was one first rounder on the World Team.
No one was drafted later than the 11th round (Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers) was amongst the 50 players ... except for Lennerton.
The Detroit Tigers selected Lennerton in the 33rd round (1,003rd over-all in North America) from the Oregon State Beavers in 2008.
“Mine is not the stereotypical road to the Futures,” said Lennerton, 27, in his sixth year in the minors.
He spent his first pro season with the rookie-class Gulf Coast Tigers and class-A Lakeland. In 2009 he was at class-A West Michigan. The next year it was West Michigan and Lakeland. And in 2011 he was at Lakeland again.
Before he could run for Lakeland town council, the Tigers promoted him to double-A Erie where he hit .269 with 21 homers and 82 RBIs last year. This season he’s at triple-A Toledo.
“I’m excited to represent both the Detroit Tigers and Baseball Canada, and proud to be from Langley,” said the only man with a Canadian flag on his uniform.
Most Canadians mention their team, then their country, but Lennerton played for the Canadian Junior National Team in 2004 and helped Canada reach the World Baseball Classic by playing in Germany at the qualifier. So it was Baseball Canada.
Jimmy Van Ostrand, Tyson Gillies and “everyone else following me on twitter,” sent congrats to the first baseman. Kyle Lotzkar, Lawrie, Gillies and Mathieson are former Blaze players selected by Baseball America to participate in the Futures, of which 85% have reached the majors.
Walking into a major league park with a uniform on for the first time is an experience no matter the player’s age.
“I’ve seen the park on TV, it’s a big-league park,” said Lennerton before his World team lost 4-2 to Team USA. “Walking in this morning put me in a state of awe. It’s breath taking.”
Lennerton and his fiancée Ashley Swistchew of Nanaimo, B.C. flew in Saturday and toured Times Square with thousands of other first-time visitors to the city that never sleeps.
“When you think of Vancouver, you think of a big city, but Times Square is pretty humbling,” he said. “The tourists. All the ads. The high-tech videos. It was magnificent.”
The two fly to Reno Monday for Wednesday’s triple-A all-star game and then Lennerton re-joins Toledo.
Lennerton worked a nine-pitch walk facing Seattle Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker and in his other at-bat, facing Boston Red Sox Anthony Ranaudo, hit a scoring fly ball in the fourth. Both pitchers were former first-round draft picks.
He was asked by a TV crew if Canucks GM Mike Gillis overplayed his hand in his handling of the Roberto Luongo trade and his thoughts of the Mexico-Canada bench-clearing brawl in the WBC (“oh, I think our guys held our own”).
This season Lennerton has 14 doubles, 13 homers and 43 RBIs in 95 games. He has an .852 OPS and while he’s behind the likes of Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez, there were roughly 100 scouts from 30 teams watching pre-game batting practice, infield workouts and the game.
Lennerton played for coach Dave Mihalek when Langley reached the 1998 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., as Canada lost to Japan in the semi final.
Williamsport was the top of the mountain for a 12-year-old, but nothing like walking into a big-league stadium for the first time.