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Behind the Scenes with Another Canadian Outfielder, Brad McElroy

Behind the Scenes with Another Canadian Outfielder, Brad McElroy

August 30, 2011

Brad McElroy is presently in this 4th year with the Blue Jays organization, presently playing for the Dunedin Blue Jays

Brad McElroy is enjoying his 4th season in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He is one of many Canadians currently playing in Toronto’s farm system, chasing the dream of playing for Canada’s only Major League Club.

The native of London, Ontario has spent the entire 2011 season with the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League (FSL) at the high ‘A’ level of baseball’s minor leagues. He is also a product of the London Majors of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL). The IBL is a semi-pro summer league in Southern and Eastern, Ontario.

McElroy played with the London Majors for two summers while attending Kellogg Community College in Michigan. The IBL provided good competition during the summer while he played College baseball in the United States during the school year.

“There were a lot of veterans, older guys in the league who have played either college, pro or just mens league, but it was becoming more of a College league (while McElroy was playing). Even now you find more guys that go down south and to the northern states that come back to play in the IBL.”

McElroy remembers the parks he played in the two summers he spent in the IBL and has fond memories of his old home stadium Labatt Stadium.

“Labatt Stadium was really nice. It was the nicest field, the infield was great, the fans were great and it was well kept.”

The former Major recalls Arnold Anderson Stadium at Cockshutt Park home of the Brantford Red Sox.

“In Brantford, the sun set right behind the pitcher mound. I remember a couple times we’d have to wait a couple minutes to start the game.”

He only recalls one stadium he later played in, in College with a similar problem for hitters.
“We had one in college at Winthrop University. They had a gigantic batters eye.”

Brad McElroy was selected in the 25th round of the 2008 MLB draft

After two years of Junior College, the current Dunedin Blue Jay went on to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte before being selected by the Jays in 25th round of the 2008 MLB draft as a Senior.

During his time at UNC Charlotte the London native played summer ball in the ‘Coastal Plain League’ (CPL) with the Edenton Steamers.

The CPL is a highly competitive summer league primarily for collegiate baseball players.

“I was just hoping to get drafted then when it was (the Jays) it was awesome,” recalls the 25 year-old ball player.

“I never had any favourite teams in any sports, but the Toronto Blue Jays in baseball.”

The product of UNC Charlotte debated throwing his name in the draft in 2006, but elected to stay in school.

“Being in the organization now I’m happy I went to college. I became a better player,” says McElroy of his decision.

McElroy has progressed steadily since turning pro, but initially there was an adjustment from facing College pitchers.

His first taste of pro-ball came after being drafted in the summer of 2008, when McElroy played 26 games with the Jays Rookie ball affiliate in the Gulf Coast League (GCL). The recent University grad hit .241 in 97 plate appearances during that span.

“In pro-ball there are no pitchers that throw 80 mph, unless they throw sidearm.”

In 2009, McElroy spent time in the GCL before making the jump to Dunedin in the FSL and noticed a differencing in the pitching he faced at the two levels.

“They are two totally different leagues (regarding pitching). Dunedin is more like college the way they pitch to hitters, lost of off-speed and fastballs. In the GCL there are lots of fastballs.”

Last summer he split time between Lansing in the Midwest League in A ball and Dunedin.

Playing professional baseball McElroy has played with and against some top notch pitching prospects. He says current Toronto Blue Jay, Henderson Alvarez has “the most electric stuff” of any of the players he’s seen in the Jays system. As for the best pitcher he has faced, he says Zack Wheeler the pitching prospect the New York Mets acquired straight up for Star Centerfielder Carlos Beltran this past July.

If all goes well, maybe one day the former London Major can play with some of the those big names in the big leagues.