By: Jonathan Soveta
Canadian Baseball Network
Ben Abram may not have won a Tournament 12 title this year, but there’s no doubt that he stuck out from the crowd.
Towering at a height of six-foot-six, the 200-pound pitcher grabbed plenty of attention throughout the event where he featured for the Futures Navy side.
Although he only pitched in the Futures’ first game, the righty consistently clocked in at mid-80's with his fastball and struck out four over two innings, picking up the win despite coming in as a reliever.
It’s important to note then that Abram only turned 15 this past February.
“I think for Ben the biggest thing is, being as young as he is, he just wants to be able to show he can compete with the kids who are one, two, maybe even three years older than he is,” said Sandy Abram, the pitcher’s mother. “I think that's really important for him mentally and on a personal level.
“He wanted to make this team, that was part of his goals for this year actually, and get out there and compete with the kids who are older and much more experienced than him.”
Like most young Canadians, Abram’s primary love growing up wasn’t baseball but rather hockey.
However, the fun on the ice waned for the Georgetown, Ont. native, prompting him to trade in his stick for a mitt instead.
“I was a goalie for a bit actually. I don't know, I really loved hockey when I was really young,” said Abram. “It just got kind of boring and then one day I decided 'Hey mom, can I play some baseball?' and I did.
“I was a stud in tee-ball.”
His mother fondly remembers his transition to baseball.
“We quickly realized he was a much better baseball player than a hockey player, and I think it took him a few years to see that himself,” said the mother. “Then it became a real passion and a real drive for him to just pursue baseball year-round.
“I think he's been in the sport now for probably about seven years, and the last year in particular for him has been really fruitful … in terms of his maturity and his future goals I think he's really come along this past year.”
With being so young, it can be difficult to determine what exactly makes up the athlete’s potential.
Coach Tanner Watson, the only member of the Futures’ coaching staff with pitching experience, knows exactly what it is that makes Abram so special.
“I think that for one you can't teach [size], but when you watch him pitch there's not a whole lot to dissect,” said Watson. “Usually when you see guys, especially at 15, let alone at 17 or 18, you can see they have flaws that need to be fixed.
“With him everything’s smooth; he throws well. It’s just hard to believe he’s 15 when you watch him throw out there.”
Abram was one of only two players in the entire tournament who are eligible for the 2018 draft, with highly-touted teammate Noah Naylor being the second.
Because his first taste of eligibility is further down the road than many of the other players, the hurler knows he has slightly less to stress over in the present moment.
“Maybe a little bit, but at the same time you don't have as much time as you think you do really,” said the prospect. “I can't say it doesn't matter to me less, but this is still really important to me even if I'm younger.
“I'm just looking forward to pitching again and challenge.”