February 7, 2014
Left-hander Shane Dawson is presently in the midst of packing for Spring Training.
“I’m actually on my way to Dunedin tomorrow,” he said. “I’m going to be making a few stops along the way, such as in Kansas and Arkansas, to see some friends and former teammates of mine from college.”
With less than 24 hours before he hits the road, Dawson is just about set to begin his journey towards his 2014 season.
“I’m just about ready to go. I just have a few more loads of laundry to finish,” he said, laughing.
With the start of Blue Jays Spring Training merely days away, it’s interesting to think that the Alberta-native never thought he’d be drafted by Canada’s only Major League team.
“The Red Sox had shown the most interest in me before the draft, both in high school and college. [Former MLB first baseman and international scout for the Boston Red Sox] Chris Pritchett and I had sat down a few times, discussing money, and round, and all. I was really thinking I was going to be heading there.”
“The Blue Jays hadn’t really shown that much interest in me prior to the draft, but then, they kind of just stole me,” he added.
Dawson spoke about being Canadian and appreciating being chosen by the Canadian team, though he mentioned that being drafted was truly his main priority. “I just wanted the opportunity to play baseball,” he said. “I didn’t have a preference where I played, as long as I got that chance.”
He did, however, add that he has thoroughly enjoyed his time playing within the organization of Canada’s only team and spoke positively spoke about the positive growth of baseball in the country. “It’s growing, definitely growing,” he said. “The West Coast continues to pump out great quality ball players like Brett Lawrie, [Tom] Robson, and or even myself. But I can definitely say that it’s getting better. I think in no time we’ll be giving the States a run for their money.”
Recognizing the positive growth of the sport, Dawson debated heading back to Lethbridge College for school, but he soon gladly accepted the opportunity of joining the Blue Jays organization. Dawson was in Dunedin within a few days of signing and soon joined the GCL Blue Jays. On the 2012 season, the young prospect went 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA, maintaining a strong 10.3 K/9 ratio.
His successful season earned him the promotion to the Bluefield Blue Jays to start the 2013 season, and after finding success in his first seven games in Virginia, he was promoted to the Vancouver Canadians on July 30th.
Speaking on the variances he saw between the two teams, the 20-year-old indicated, “The biggest change I would say is the maturity of the players. Bluefield is filled with a lot of great athletes, but I think players in Vancouver are more mature as a lot of players in the league are college players and typically have a different approach at the plate.”
His success continued in Vancouver, where he was named Player of the Week in his first week with the team. “To be honest,” he said. “I was just happy to get the promotion to Vancouver. Before the season started, my goal was to make it to Vancouver. So to be able to be named player of the week was great. But I was just happy to get a chance to help my team win.”
A few weeks into his transition to his new team, however, Dawson experienced an injury that would put him on the disabled list on August 21 and would sideline him for the remainder of the season. “I had a muscle in my back that basically shut off and was causing issues with my shoulder and elbow,” he said.
“But thankfully, I’m feeling great now!” he added.
Back to 100%, Blue Jays fans will soon be seeing Dawson, displaying his 3/4 arm delivery and high leg kick, back on the mound in no time. When asked to speak about his mechanics, Dawson kept it simple.
“I just try to be as smooth as possible. I don’t try to do too much. “To be honest,” “I just try to pitch.”
Recognizing that his 2013 goals were accomplished, Dawson hopes he can do the same in 2014. “I’m hoping this year to make it up to Dunedin and play high-A ball, but I’d be happy playing in Lansing as well.”
Dawson should have no trouble reaching these aspirations as the young left-hander has shown improvement in command, lowering his walk ratio, increasing his strike out ratio, and lowering his home runs allowed in every season he has played. Despite all these realizations, his personal goals for the 2014 season remain the same:
“My goal is to pitch well to give my team a chance to win. It’s as simple as that.”