Blue Jays minor league pitcher Scott Silverstein takes advice during spring training on Friday

U. of Virginia prepared Blue Jays prospect for the grind

Scott Silverstein, a big lefty, looks back on college career with pride

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Injuries may have altered the course of Scott Silverstein’s career, but he doesn’t waste time with regrets.

Drafted in the 32nd round in 2008 by the Washington Nationals, the left-handed pitcher discovered he had a torn labrum and postponed his professional career to accept a scholarship opportunity at the University of Virginia.

“Everybody has got a different path,” Silverstein said at the Bobby Mattick Training Center. “I certainly enjoyed my time at Virginia, obviously my path was different due to injury, but I wouldn’t trade my path for anything.

“I loved my five years there. I think players can learn a lot in college. The college game is definitely different from professional baseball. It has its pluses, it has its minuses.”

Silverstein was a star for the Cavaliers, going 10-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 91 1/3 innings his senior year after which he was drafted again by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 25th round of the 2013 draft.

Last season with the single-A Lansing Lugnuts, Silverstein went 11-4 with a 4.08 ERA. He credits his amateur experience with getting him ready for the next level.

“I think I was really well prepared coming in,” Silverstein said. “The University of Virginia gave me a great foundation to come in and not only have success but be prepared every day. I know I was ready to go day one.”

Silverstein was tied for second in the Midwest League in games won, a feat made more impressive by the fact that he did not start a single game.

Whether it’s as a reliever or a starter, the 24-year-old is determined to make it to the big leagues sooner rather than later.

“You know, I’m pretty set on staying in the pen but at the same time I’ll do whatever it takes to make it to the big leagues, move up,” Silverstein said, asked about his preference. “As of now it looks like it will be relieving, but if down the road they say ‘Hey, we want you to be a starter,’ and that will be your faster track to the big leagues that’s what I’ll do … anything to get there.”

While he’s yet to visit Toronto, his initial stint with the single-A Vancouver Canadians was enlightening.

“Coming out of Virginia where everything was big, sort of. You play in front of 6,000 people at school, all of a sudden you’re up in Vancouver and playing in front of the same amount of people. It’s a big league city and it was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it.”

 

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