Alomar likes potential he sees at Tournament 12

Hall of Famer joined by other ex-Blue Jays at Canadian showcase event

September 15th, 2017
Former Blue Jays star Roberto Alomar is the commissioner of the fifth annual Tournament 12 event. AP)

TORONTO -- None of the young Canadian players taking part in Tournament 12 this weekend were even born when Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar spent five All-Star seasons with the Blue Jays, which included back-to-back World Series wins.

Alomar's connection to Canada's next generation of baseball talent runs deep, however, and as the commissioner of the fifth annual T12, Alomar is excited by the potential he sees in 160 of the country's top young amateur players with college eligibility.

"You see some young guys who are developing to play the game of baseball," Alomar said Friday. "I think this is a great opportunity for them to showcase their ability to play the game. Hopefully, from here, some of the guys can be seen, open eyes, and get a chance to go to college or sign professionally."

Over the past four MLB Drafts, 51 alumni of T12 have been drafted (26 signed), while many more have earned opportunities to continue their education and baseball careers at the NCAA level.

Canada's output of top-end talent has begun to climb, too. Right-hander Landon Leach was selected by the Twins with the first pick of the second round this summer and is now their No. 27 prospect. Shortstop Adam Hall was also selected in that second round by the Orioles. Catcher Andy Yerzy went in the second round in 2016 and now is the Diamondbacks' No. 24 prospect.

The 2015 Draft was a big moment for Canadian baseball and T12, as two alumni were selected in the first round. -- whose brother Noah is one of this year's top prospects at T12 -- was drafted 12th overall and is now the No. 10 prospect in the Padres' system. Mike Soroka went 28th overall to the Braves and is already their No. 4 prospect after an excellent season with Double-A Mississippi.

Thursday's highlights

These stories are one way of measuring T12's impact, but Alomar sees value beyond that.

"I look for different things," Alomar said. "I look for opportunities for college and professionally, but also to understand that if they don't really make it in the game of baseball, they can make it in other places. Baseball is one part of their life. The motivation and opportunities for them to succeed in life are here."

Joining Alomar for the event from September 14-17 are Blue Jays alumni, including Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby, Duane Ward and Devon White.

"For me, it means a lot," Alomar said, "because I realize that I was one of them at one time in my life, and thanks to the things I was involved with in baseball, I was able to accomplish a lot of my goals. I think this means a lot to me because I'm bringing something back to them that they can take home to others and hopefully help them in their life, too."