The Toronto Blue Jays organization has brought back the very popular September showcase, spotlighting Canadian talent. Formerly known as “Tournament 12”, “T12”, and “Blue Jays Baseball Academy Showcase”; the new-title “Canadian Futures Showcase” is back in full effect.
This tournament was established in 2013, and commissioned by Blue Jays Hall of Famer, Roberto Alomar. It is organized, executed, and evaluated by the Blue Jays Baseball Academy and scouting department. This is the most popular Canadian based showcase, spotlighting Canada’s top amateur players that have College and Major League Baseball draft eligibility.
In my years with the Blue Jays Academy, I’ve seen a tremendous urgency from amateur players from the high school and elite level to crack a roster spot in this tournament. It seemed that players prioritize this event as a part of their careers and baseball resume builders.
Blue Jays: About the Tournament
This heavily scouted showcase is typically held annually in late September for approximately five days at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. This is a showcase type tournament, consisted of around eight teams, all compiled of Canada’s top amateur players with post-secondary and draft eligibility. In previous years, teams were compiled and sectioned off by major provinces and parts of Canada; for example, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, the Prairies (which included Manitoba and Saskatchewan), and Atlantic, which included the east-coast. This year, there are six teams, categorized by team colour and are a mix of players from around the country; the top 140 players in the country crack the roster. This year, due to unknown reasons, the organization is hosting the tournament at the RCTG Park, in Ottawa, Ontario.
Blue Jays: Why is this Tournament important to Canadian Baseball?
If you’ve played any sort of competitive baseball in Canada, you know the struggle of recruitment for school, and exposure to the U.S. market. Although local elite programs are improving that system of exposure, it’s tough to get schools north of the border to scout players. This tournament centralizes Canada’s top players all in one event, showcasing in front of hundreds of schools, and all 30 Major League clubs. Not only does this put highly-graded players in the collegiate lane of success, it also gives them an audition to the big leagues.
The tournament kicks off with a scout day, with each player running 60-yard dashes, positional defence, batting practice, and more. The metrics collected here along with player’s contact, information, and profile makeup is made available to scouts and coaches. Each day after this includes games between the six teams in the tournament, followed by a home run derby. This provides scouts with the full experience of the players of their interest.
Blue Jays: The success of this tournament
While working for the Blue Jays Academy as an Instructor, I’ve had the privilege of assisting with this tournament and attending with scouts. I was able to watch top draft prospects compete against each other, which now I get to see on a Major League level. I’ve advised and sent players to this showcase, which has now resulted in collegiate opportunities and professional interest. The Blue Jays have listed 110 showcase alumni players that were drafted by Major League clubs; popular names such as Josh Naylor, Abraham Toro, Zach Pop, Dalton Pompey, Dasan Brown, and Matt Brash.
The Blue Jays have certainly gained from this tournament, with draft picks emerging, and the fact of having these prospects attend your own backyard. This year’s tournament is scheduled for September 20th to the 24th with a fresh batch of promising talent. I will be covering prospects from this year’s festivities, and breaking down possible interests for the Blue Jays.