Nov. 4, 2015
Pair of Mets ink scholarships
By Matt Betts
The Toronto Mets sent 12 players off to college baseball in 2015 and recently added two to their group for the fall of 2016.
Brad Aldred (Whitby, Ont.) will join former Met Jeremy Newton (Toronto, Ont.) when he heads to the University of British Columbia on a scholarship. Luke Turino (Scarborough, Ont.) is headed south of the border to don the red and black of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats compete in the American Athletic Conference.
Honsing Leung, assistant coach with the 16U Toronto Mets has overseen these two young players as they have evolved through the program and certainly likes what he sees.
Aldred is a converted outfielder who has now learned to play third base and has seen success at the hot corner. Since making the transition from the outfield he was selected to participate with the Canadian Junior National team. Leung describes him as having plus bat speed and power with an arm that plays well from either the infield or the outfield. He comes from good genes as his grandfather, Joel Krol, won six Grey Cups and was a Lou Marsh award winner back in 1946. No doubt Aldred will also be looking to bring a championship home.
“He will have a great chance to make an impact right off the bat at UBC next year,” Leung said. “He needs to continue to improve his mental side of the game as that will differentiate him from other college players. He has the ability to play both the infield and outfield at the next level.
He can develop into a middle of the order type of player as he goes through college. He has a chance of developing into a pro prospect as he keeps improving.”
Those are certainly tools that new UBC head coach Chris Pritchett will be excited to have arrive on campus in the fall of 2016. Pritchett is only the second coach to take the helm of the Thunderbirds since 1997, taking the reigns from Terry McKaig (Tsawwassen, BC) who lead the team on the field for 18 years.
Turino, who has two brothers also in the Mets program, is taking his talent south of the border. Leung points out that his biggest strengths are his bat and his tenacity.
“He has plus strength and does not get cheated with his swings,” Leung points out. “In the past two years, he has learned to harness some of that raw ability such as being able to hit the ball the other way. He has a strong arm and is a good runner as well.”
Turino will join a Bearcat squad that did not include a Canadian in 2015 and finished their season with a disappointing 15-41 (6-18, last in the AAC) record. They were then bounced from the AAC Tournament in two games by the Cougars of Houston and the University of Memphis. Leung thinks if he can keep refining his skills he will help coach Ty Neal’s Bearcats in the future.
“He needs to be the dirtbag type of player,” Leung explains. “He can also play both the infield and outfield. He is a top of the order guy who will play good defence and has a chance to make an impact at the next level. He will surprise some people with his power considering his size (5’10, 160 lbs.)”
The Mets program, which is in it 11th year, feels it will continue to grow with added exposure and resources. With a new strength and conditioning program and weight room at the Out of the Park Sports facility, Leung sees the Mets continuing to produce higher level talents. They also take great pride in integrating their alumni into the program. Toronto Blue Jays bullpen catcher Greg Densem and former Chicago Cubs farmhand Brian Smith are currently coaches with one of the 16U teams.
“Our coaching, facility and the way we treat our players are keys to our success,” Leung says. “Our program is about the development of the player and helping them get to where they want to be at the end of their three years with the Mets. We make sure each player is focusing on family, education and baseball. If the first two elements are taken care of, the third will be much easier to achieve.”
That philosophy clearly worked for these two recent signees.