By: Adam Kirshenblatt
St. PETERSBURG, Fla. -Toronto's Andrew Yerzy has a big decision on horizon.
The 17-year-old star catcher for the Canadian Junior National Team has already signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
However, there is a strong chance that Yerzy will be drafted in the 2016 MLB Draft, where he’ll have to make a decision if he wants to turn professional.
“It’s been a dream of mine,” Yerzy said Thursday at the Canadian Junior National Team's training facility. “I’m sure it’s been a dream of every kid who plays baseball to play in the major leagues. So having the opportunity to do it would be a dream come true.”
Yerzy has padded his baseball resume over the last year where he tied Ron Washington Jr. at the MLB’s High School Select home run derby for first place during the 2015 MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati. A month later, he was named co-MVP of the Under Armour All-America Game in Chicago with Carter Kieboom.
Despite all the attention Yerzy is getting from major-league scouts, he's considering going to Notre Dame.
“It’s a great baseball school first of all,” said Yerzy. “It’s a top-20 school in baseball. It’s a great academic school and it’s Notre Dame. It has a lot of history behind it.”
According to Yerzy, he attributes both the Canadian junior program and the Toronto Blue Jays T-12 tournament for much of his success.
“The exposure you get here is second to none,” Yerzy said. “Just to be able to go in, day in and day out, facing pros, and getting that high level of competition is something that most kids don’t get exposed to.”
As far as the Blue Jays T-12 tournament goes, Yerzy feels that it is a great stage for Canadian talent to showcase to scouts and schools.
“You get the best players from every province in one tournament,” Yerzy said. “You get a lot of people to watch, like scouts and schools. It just gives them an easier way to access and see the players.”
Yerzy needs to look no further than his favourite baseball player, Bryce Harper, for inspiration to eventually reach his goals.
“Since he came up, the intensity that he plays with and being able to play in the major leagues at 19 is insane,” Yerzy said. “I think it’s a five-year difference between us. So just seeing how close to my age he was, was just ‘wow’. That’s pretty amazing.”