Spring training has been a reality check for Fishman

Former D3 Union College pitcher gains perspective at his first Jays camp

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Jake Fishman always maintains a level-headed approach to his game.

Experiencing his first spring training with the Blue Jays, the 30th round draft pick from Sharon, Massachusetts, focuses on improving at all times, while maintaining a balanced life outside of baseball.

Achieving this success has made the left-handed pitcher a trailblazer as Union College’s first ever draft pick, but Fishman’s mentality keeps him on track.

“Get better at whatever you’re working on that day, and then eventually things start to add up, and that’s when you start to move to the next level,” he said, in between conditioning sessions at the Bobby Mattick Training Center.

“I like to take that approach rather than just really trying to make a certain team.”

Fishman’s work in the prestigious amateur Cape Cod Baseball League last summer was good enough to earn him a spot on Team Israel’s expanded roster in the World Baseball Classic, after head coach Jerry Weinstein was able to watch him. He was not in the active group for the tournament itself.

Camp has opened his eyes to many new surprises.

“High school kids, they’re four years behind me, so I assumed that they wouldn’t be nearly as good,” he said. “Then they show up … and they’re nasty, they can play with the best of them.”

Though drafted late by the Blue Jays in 2016, camp was shocking for the 22-year-old, who dominated D3 baseball for Union College with a 0.41 ERA over 66 innings, including 85 strikeouts.

However, Fishman understands that while he faces a significantly higher level of competition from other budding prospects at spring training, there is more to life than the sport.

“You spend so much time at the baseball field, I like to go home and do a lot of different things. I’m into computers, I’m into video games, I like art, stuff like that,” he said.

“I just got The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it’s been amazing so far.”

Fishman’s priority is to take his own game to the next level.