Northern Marianas: Saipan Baseball League
NZ Devonshire drafted
New Zealander Daniel Devonshire has been drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 37th round (2012)
Kiwi baseballer drafted by Toronto Blue Jays
Auckland teenager Daniel Devonshire has become the third New Zealander to ever be drafted by a Major League Baseball team.
Devonshire was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 37th round of the Major League Draft today (NZT).
The 19-year-old catcher currently attends Colby Community College in Kansas.
He joins fellow Auckland Scott Campbell as a Kiwi to be drafted by the Blue Jays, taken in the tenth round in 2006. Paraparaumu-born Andy Skeels was the first New Zealand-born player to be drafted, by the San Diego Padres in 1987. The 46-year-old now manages the San Francisco Giant's single-A affiliate in San Jose.
No New Zealander has ever played Major League Baseball in the United States, with former Black Sox Travis Wilson coming the closest; missing making the Atlanta Braves' roster by just one spot in 2001.
Devonshire is the third Kiwi to sign with a Major League Baseball team over the last 18 months, following Wellington's Te Wera Bishop (Boston Red Sox) and Auckland's Pita Rona (Baltimore Orioles).
US baseball scouts pitch at NZ talent
When a dad puts his boat out in the rain and transforms his garage into a batting cage, you know it must be serious.
Every day 15-year-old Daniel Devonshire faces nearly 500 balls flying at him at 145kmh, knowing with each one he is a step closer to his dream of playing major league baseball in America.
Having already caught the attention of several major league scouts, he is well on track.
In January, while representing New Zealand in the AA Oceania championship in Sydney, three scouts were impressed by Daniel's game.
"They took me into the cage and did a bunch of tests on me," he says.
One of the scouts was former New York Yankees player Pat Kelly, now scouting for the Seattle Mariners.
That resulted in Daniel being selected for the Major League Baseball Australian Academy Programme in July a four-week course on the Gold Coast for young baseballers showing major league potential.
The Seattle Mariners covered all his expenses, hoping Daniel will one day repay the favour by playing for the team.
The Orakei resident is the youngest New Zealander to attend the programme and was the second youngest of the 44 boys attending. Most were Australians.
Training from 7am to 5pm, six days a week, plus two hours of compulsory schoolwork every evening, it's no surprise Daniel found the experience 'tiring'.
He held the record of 18 minutes for the longest time spent in the ice bath - used to speed up recovery.
He was approached by three scouts at the programme, including one for the Boston Red Sox, but to his mum Hazel's relief, he can't sign a contract as a 15-year-old.
Daniel plans to play college baseball in America before moving on to major league.
"If we can convince mum I'll be over there in year 13 to do my final year at school," he says.
Daniel's dad Roger says the programme was 'the only way for Daniel, in this part of the world, to get the exposure and experience he needs'.
Roger built a batting cage for Daniel in the backyard so he could have his batting all-year round. The pitching machine was imported from Kansas City.
"It is a big investment," he says. "But if I didn't think he had the passion to do it I wouldn't have spent the money."
Mum Hazel agrees.
"Normal people have swimming pools and we have a batting cage."
Daniel is grateful to his coach Cola Yeh, Oceania Baseball development officer Ray Brown and New Zealand development officer Greg Wolf for their combined efforts to further his baseball career.
- © Fairfax NZ News