18U (Midget) Elite Showcase
Midget baseball is taking a giant leap forward.
B.C. Minor kicks off a Midget Elite program in January with players from all over the Province. The elite team will showcase athletes for college recruiters and pro scouts.
Dave Empey and Bill Green, two of the most successful coaches in Canadian baseball history, will be in charge of the Elite development. “After tryouts we’ll carry 30 players,” says Empey. “That gives us enormous leeway so we don’t interfere with the plans of the midget coaches throughout B.C.”
The 30 players will be selected from Province wide tryouts, which are open to all players, plus recommendations from coaches. The Midget Elites will practice on the Lower Mainland in January and February before going to Arizona for a spring break training camp. Then they’ll compete in up to six high level tournaments in the States, plus games locally.
The High Performance coaching staff also includes Orville Germaine from Aldergrove and fitness expert Matt Holtzman, plus 18U (Midget) coaches who will travel with the team. “Bill and I will mostly be involved with development here,” says Empey. “Coaches from all over B.C. will take the Elite team to play in the States. This is all about developing players and adding to the expertise of the coaches.”
Dave Empey has coached 16 professional baseball players, including four major leaguers, most notably Ryan Dempster, who won a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, and James Paxton, a frontline starter with the Seattle Mariners. Empey coached Dempster, a National League all-star in 2000 and 2008, for three seasons and continued to advise him throughout his 16 year career. Paxton is off to a brilliant debut with the Mariners, going 9-4 with a 2.66 ERA in his first 17 starts.
Empey has also sent eight players to the Canadian National Junior team, including slugging outfielder Rowan Wick, one of the top prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Rowan hammered 20 home runs in only 74 games in 2014.
Bill Green is an icon in Canadian baseball, winning over 1,200 games with the Coquitlam Reds. He’s developed a dozen pro players, including Larry Walker, who starred with the Expos, Rockies and Cardinals.
Green was a mainstay as head coach of the B.C. Selects, winning eight National Championships. What’s more, Bill worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau for two decades and is friends with baseball gurus throughout North America. “Bill’s experience as a coach and a scout is invaluable,” says Empey.
The High Performance coaches will also run player development camps for players at both the 18U and 16U level. 18U (Midget) coaches who want to attend these camps should apply at the B.C. Baseball Coaches Conference in Langley on February 20-22. “This is a mentoring program for our coaches,” says Mike Sarai, President of B.C. Minor.
Further information will be posted on the BCMBA website www.bcminorbaseball.org under “High Performance.”