At the forefront of the Vancouver Canadians 9-2 victory last Monday night was leadoff hitter Roemon Fields, who set a stolen base record for the franchise by stealing his 26th base of the season. The record-setting steal was actually his second of the game, as he both tied and broke the record that same night by stealing 2nd and 3rd base consecutively.
Ever since he made his professional debut in Class Low-A ball this summer Fields has been absolutely on fire for the Canadians, but he hasn’t had much time to establish himself on any prospect radars.
So just who is the speedy centre fielder and how did he come to play in the Blue Jays’ organization?
Fields took an unorthodox route in becoming a Blue Jay. He went to college and played baseball like a lot of other prospects, however he did not attend an NCAA or Junior Collegiate school. Fields instead played in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for the Bethany Swedes of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. Bethany is a small, christian, liberal arts college, with less than a thousand students, that plays primarily against other teams from small schools in Kansas. Prior to playing there, Fields played at the even less renowned Yakima Valley Community College in Washington state.
Regardless of the caliber of talent surrounding him, Fields stood out during his collegiate career. As a junior at Bethany Fields starred as a baseball and track athlete, earning the male-athlete of the year award while also receiving an honourable mention for All-American. He followed his solid junior showing up with an equally impressive .348/.419/.511 slash line as a senior in 2013.
Fields hoped to receive some consideration in the first-year player draft that season, and even received some intent from Kansas City Royals after attending a pre-draft workout for them, but the intent never materialized into an actual pick and Fields went undrafted out of college.
Figuring his baseball dreams were done, the 23-year-old returned home to Seattle, Washington in search of a career outside of the painted lines. He took a position as a mailman and had been working his route for a few months when he was approached by one of his old coaches to join a showcase tournament. Fields ultimately accepted the offer and it turned out to be a decision he won’t soon regret. His play in the tournament was so outstanding that a Blue Jays scout took notice and signed him as a non-drafted free agent soon after seeing him late last season.
After spending much of the spring and summer in the purgatory that is extended spring training, Fields arrived in Vancouver and soon made a name for himself in professional ball. Over thirty games since the beginning of the season, Fields has posted a .303/.391/.395 and provided a potent leadoff presence at the top of the C’s lineup.
The scouting report on Fields is thin and he is a bit old to be playing at such a low level, but many of those who have seen him have been impressed by the electricity he brings even though he may be a bit raw as a prospect overall. Although he is currently playing alongside 18-year-old prospects like Franklin Barreto, a little polish to his game could have him flying up the ranks much more quickly in future seasons.
Of course the most impressive aspect of Fields’ game is his speed. After breaking the Canadian’s stolen base record in only 30 games, one has to wonder if Fields has a shot at the league record as well. The current Northwest League stolen base record is held by late outfielder Reggie Thomas, who stole 72 bases over 73 games for the Portland Mavericks in 1974. In order to break that record, Fields will have to steal 46 bases over the Canadians’ remaining 45 games, which he is currently not on pace to do.
However, if he continues to steal bases at the pace he did last Monday night while holding on to the can-do attitude that has helped him get this far, nothing is seemingly out of reach for this speedster.