While Jordan Lennerton may not be right where he thought he would be when he was a young child, the future does look promising.
“My goal when I was four years old was to be a professional player,” Lennerton said by phone earlier this month from Toledo, Ohio.
“I didn’t expect to play in the minor leagues or have a minor league career, my goal was to be a big league baseball player.”
The 27-year-old first-baseman amidst his first season at the Triple-A level with the Toledo Mud Hens, the top affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers.
“As I got older, I got to experience different things and the dream started coming true year by year,” he said.
“I have done some pretty cool things that not a lot of people get a chance to do.”
Ever since he began playing the sport back with the Langley Baseball Association, Lennerton has gone on to big things.
In 1998, he was part of the Langley All-Stars, who represented Canada at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
He continued on in the game and played at the Junior League World Series, the Babe Ruth World Series, and then the NCAA College World Series, helping the Oregon State Beavers win the championship in 2007.
Lennerton was drafted by the Tigers in the 33rd round of the 2008 draft.
He was previously selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 50th round in 2004 during his final season with the Langley Blaze Premier U18 program.
But after graduating from Brookswood Secondary, Lennerton elected to go play junior college ball at El Paso Community College.
The Milwaukee Brewers took him in the 41st round of the 2005 Draft, but Lennerton stayed in school and after one more season at El Paso, took a scholarship offer to Oregon State.
He signed with the Tigers after graduating from university in 2008 and has worked his way up the organization’s farm system, landing in Toledo at the start of this season.
The 2012 season is when Lennerton said he felt he was making headway to his goal of playing at the MLB level.
“I began putting up some better numbers and started getting myself recognized a little bit,” he said.
He hit .269 with 21 home runs and 82 RBIs in 139 games at the Double-A level and has built on that through the first 94 games of this season with the Mud Hens. Through July 12, Lennerton was batting .299 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs.
His play has earned him accolades, such as an invitation to play in MLB’s Futures Game, which was held on July 14 at New York’s Citi Field.
— Jordan Lennerton (@oppo_jack_lenny) July 15, 2013
Lennerton was the lone Canadian on the roster for Team World, finishing with a walk and a sacrifice fly in his team’s 4-2 loss to the U.S. team.
He is the fifth Blaze alumni to be selected for the game, joining the likes of Brett Lawrie, Tyson Gillies, Kyle Lotzkar and Scott Mathieson.
And up next is a trip to Reno, Nev. to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game, which is on July 17.
— Jordan Lennerton (@oppo_jack_lenny) July 16, 2013
He played in the Eastern League Double-A all-star game in 2012 as well.
As for the key to his success, Lennerton said it is no secret.
“Just continuing to do what I feel comfortable doing,” he said.
“Focusing more on rhythm and comfort in the batter’s box instead of worrying about production and putting pressure on myself.”
Lennerton has had solid numbers since turning pro: his lowest batting average (.222) came in his first year. Since then, he has hit .282, .295, .285 and .269 before this season. During that time, he has averaged a dozen home runs and 63 RBIs per season.
“I put together decent seasons and always knew what I was capable of (but) it wasn’t until last year when I kind of refocused, got my thoughts right and put together a year that I can ultimately be happy about,” he said.
“The biggest change I made was making sure my thoughts were in the right place, being positive and not letting the tough days get to me and always trying to be find something positive about every situation.”
“If you are not in the right state of mind, then baseball can wear on you,” he added.
“A lot of people say (the season) can be a grind, but it is only a grind if you let it be a grind.”
Life as a professional baseball player can be taxing.
For one thing, you are away from home — Lennerton’s parents live in Langley as does his fiancee — while his older brother Ryan, lives in College Station, Tex. and works at a baseball academy.
Lennerton lives in an apartment, with one of his teammates, in Toledo.
And while it may not be home, it beats the alternative of being on the road.
“Hotels can kind of wear on you,” he said. “They can be nice, but there is no ‘home’ feeling.”
But most of his time is spent at the ball park.
Lennerton will wake up between 9 and 11 a.m., depending on the game the night before, and then make his way to the ball park at about 1 p.m. He will workout, spend some time in the hitting cages at 2:30 p.m., take batting practice at 4 p.m. and then dinner and game time at 7 p.m.
“Even if things aren’t going great for me, I don’t see it as a grind, I am doing what I truly enjoy doing,” he said.
“I can’t worry about what else is going on. I can’t worry about when my shot is going to come because that is going to consume me and I feel like it is going to set me back.
“If I focus on what I am doing, I can stay positive and take it day-by-day.”