Sports

Jays call on Robson

Tom Robson was the highest Canadian taken in Major League Baseball
Tom Robson was the highest Canadian taken in Major League Baseball's draft. The Toronto Blue Jays selected the Langley Blaze right-handed pitcher in the fourth round.
— image credit: photo courtesy of Baseball Canada

With the Price is Right on TV and Major League Baseball’s draft streaming in the internet, the Toronto Blue Jays called on Tom Robson.

The Jays selected the ace of the Langley Blaze pitching staff on Tuesday morning in the fourth round of the three-day 50-round draft for North American high school, college and university baseball players.

“I was kind of shocked when it happened,” explained the six-foot-four 210-pound right-handed pitcher, who was the top-ranked Canadian in the draft.

“But now that I have realized they have picked me and I have a chance to play for them, I am really excited.”

He was picked 139th overall by the team he grew up idolizing.

“Growing up, the Jays were always my favourite team; I watched them play every day,” Robson said.

Roy Halladay used to be his favourite player on the team, but since he was traded it is another Jays’ pitcher, Ricky Romano, whom he likes.

“(Romero) is really competitive, has a good three-pitch mix and is mean out there,” Robson said. “That is what I like to see in a pitcher.”

As soon as he heard his name called on the internet — he was attempting to focus on the schoolwork he missed last month while spending a few weeks in the Dominican Republic with Canada’s junior national team — Robson immediately began jumping up and down with his friends.

He had a small party at his Ladner home on Tuesday night to celebrate.

Shortly after the draft, Robson spoke with Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos and other members of the organization’s front office.

“They want to see me in a Jays uniform as soon as they can,” Robson said.

In very limited action with the Blaze, Robson is 2-2 with an 0.89 earned run average. He has allowed just five runs, three of them earned, in 23.2 innings. He has also struck out 42 batters.

Robson figured he would go between rounds two and five.

Getting drafted has been a goal since Grade 9 when a scout told his parents that Robson had the talent to make it to the big leagues.

“As soon as I heard that, I stuck with it and worked my hardest, and it paid off,” he said.

Robson, who turns 18 later this month, still has two final exams left to write and can’t sign with the Jays until after he graduates.

Should he fail to come to terms with the team before August 15, he could attend Central Arizona College on scholarship.

The Jays also selected Robson’s Blaze teammate, short-stop Justin Atkinson in the 26th round.

Atkinson leads the B.C. PBL in batting average, hitting .438 with 13 RBIs in 21 games. He has also stolen 10 bases and shows great discipline at the plate, striking out just once in 64 at-bats.

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