Courtesy of Adam Morrissette – Baseball Canada (www.baseball.ca)
OTTAWA – Ryan Kellogg plans on being at home with his parents when his name is likely to be called early Tuesday afternoon in Major League Baseball’s annual First-Year Player Draft.
“I think I’m going to stay home from school on Tuesday and follow the draft online,” said Kellogg last week from the Dominican Republic. “People have told me that the phone will probably be busy, so I’ll have my parents at home with me.”
The tall, left-handed pitcher from Whitby, Ont., has been on the radar of MLB scouts for the better part of a year and is widely expected to be the first Canadian taken in the draft that begins on Monday at 7 p.m. EST and concludes on Wednesday afternoon.
Kellogg joined the Junior National Team in April 2011 on the team’s yearly trek to Orlando and quickly became the ace of the pitching staff. He was a major contributor at the COPABE 18U World Qualifier last October in Colombia and he pitched in wins over Netherlands Antilles and host Colombia in a game that clinched Canada a spot in September’s IBAF 18U World Championship in South Korea. Earlier this year, Kellogg was named Junior National Team MVP at Baseball Canada’s National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser.
“It’s been incredible representing Canada,” said the humble Kellogg. “People talk about each trip being a grind, but if you love what you are doing it’s not a grind.
“I’ve loved every minute of representing my country and I’m extremely proud to be Canadian.”
Kellogg began playing for Rob and Rich Butler’s Ontario Prospects program when he was only 12 years old and started pitching soon after at age 14. At 16, he was invited to attend the prestigious Mizuno Camp hosted by Baseball Canada at Rogers Centre before Greg Hamilton invited him to the Spring Training Camp in Orlando just over a year ago. From there, the interest in Kellogg from MLB scouts has grown with each trip leading up to this week’s draft.
Throughout the past year, Kellogg has seen nothing but radar guns and stopwatches from MLB scouts as he stands on the mound for each start. Kellogg says that he tries not to let all of the attention get to him while he’s on the mound.
“It’s cool, I enjoy seeing the scouts at our games,” he said. “When I’m with the National Team, I know the scouts are down here to see all our guys not just me. I try not to focus on all the attention, but at times it’s hard not to, since it’s become a part of my everyday life.”
Scouts have also been in attendance to see Kellogg pitch with the Ontario Prospects, which was something that he and his teammates enjoyed together.
“My teammates thought it was cool because we usually don’t get any scouts at our games,” he said. “But you don’t play for the scouts, you play for your teammates and you play to win the game.”
This past week in the Dominican Republic playing against Dominican Summer League teams Kellogg didn’t do anything to hurt his draft stock as he threw seven innings in three games and struck out ten batters, while only giving up three runs against professional competition.
According to many experts, Kellogg is slated to go anywhere between the third and sixth rounds with some even suggesting he can be selected as high as the second round.
“People are saying all the time that I’m the top Canadian prospect, but I try not to think about it too much,” added Kellogg. “I’m just a Canadian kid who likes to play baseball.”