TORONTO -- It's hard to miss a 6-foot-8 pitcher like Dellin Betances or Doug Fister standing atop a 10-inch Major League mound. When that towering right-hander is a 17-year-old Canadian who throws strikes, heads really turn.Ben Abram, one of the premier young arms at Tournament 12 in Toronto this weekend,
TORONTO -- It's hard to miss a 6-foot-8 pitcher like Dellin Betances or Doug Fister standing atop a 10-inch Major League mound. When that towering right-hander is a 17-year-old Canadian who throws strikes, heads really turn.
Ben Abram, one of the premier young arms at Tournament 12 in Toronto this weekend, threw four strong innings in Ontario Green's 5-3 win over Ontario Black on Friday night at Rogers Centre. The Georgetown, Ontario, native allowed one run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. His velocity sat in the mid-80s and touched 87 mph multiple times. Abram understands those numbers will continue to grow into his 235-pound frame.
"I've grown so much in the last few years, and it's crazy hard to try to pick up arm speed all the time," Abram said after his Friday start. "It wasn't that long ago that I was 160 pounds. For me it was all about getting to the point where I'd put on enough weight to stay healthy, and then this offseason I'm really looking to start trying to gain velocity, but I know it's going to come."
• Alomar likes potential he sees at Tournament 12
The fifth annual T12 marks Abram's third appearance in the tournament, after debuting with the Futures team in 2015, the same year he joined the Canadian Junior National Team. He was part of Canada's fourth-place team at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, and got the start in their 6-4 upset win over a strong Japanese team.
"Every year T12 is a great experience," Abram said. "World Championships was amazing. That's probably the best baseball experience of my life until, hopefully, later on, but coming back here, getting back home and getting back in the swing of things is awesome."
• Abram's Ontario Green trailed 3-2 entering the seventh and final inning, but put together a three-run rally in the top half to move to 1-1 for the tournament. Noah Hull had the big hit in the seventh, doubling home Blake Buckle and Ben Jones. Ontario Black's Eric Cerantola flashed his great arm over five innings of one-hit, shutout ball with 12 strikeouts and six walks. Nicholas Jaeggin went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI for Ontario Black.
• Alberta Red moved to 2-0 with a 4-0 win over BC Orange in the final game of the night. Left-hander Adam Macko, just 16, led the Alberta side with five shutout innings. He allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out five. LaRon Smith went 2-for-3 with an RBI for Alberta while Dylan Ohlsen and Liam Vulcano recorded BC's hits.
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.