ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jaden Griffin is the youngest player out on the field, but that does not seem to faze him.
The 15-year-old is one of three left-handed pitchers for the Canadian Junior National Team competing in the upcoming U18 World Cup of Baseball.
As a Nova Scotia native, Griffin grew up playing a wide variety of sports. He dabbled in soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and even hockey, but it was the mentality of baseball that had him hooked.
“Every other sport I played when I started playing baseball was a grind and took a lot out of your body and baseball is more of your mind than your body,” the Lower Sackville, N.S., resident said.
“That’s what got me into it, plus I saw myself improving a lot more with baseball than any other sport.”
And he continues to do just that—improve. In an early season appearance, Griffin went scoreless with two strikeouts. As a young gun out on the mound, he is relentlessly trying to make an impression.
His age does not separate him from any of the guys on the team. He walked into an atmosphere that only the tradition of baseball could bring.
“Feels good [to be the youngest on the team],” the Milwood High School student said. “They make me feel welcome, especially the older guys.”
When Griffin first began with the team back in October, roommate and fellow pitcher, Mathieu Deneault-Gauthier, especially welcomed him. The Candiac, Que., native had similar experiences—having already competed at world’s—to what the 15-year-old was going through and was able to share some guidance to Griffin.
“Basically, stay within myself, don’t try too much,” the Team Nova Scotia member said of the advice shared by the 18-year-old. “Work with what you have.”
Although Griffin sticks with his Canadian roots as a Blue Jays fan, he claims he models his game after Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel.
“I model myself after him because he doesn’t throw the hardest, he works with what he has,” the pitcher said. “That’s what I do, too.”