Toronto Blue Jays farmhand Mike Reeves is working on being more consistent this season.
The young Canadian is proud to have become a professional baseball player out of the hockey-crazy Peterborough, Ont.
“It was different for me,” Reeves said proudly. “I had to drive two hours to Mississauga to play for (the Ontario Blue Jays) so there was lot of travel going back and forth. There are a lot of professional athletes coming from Peterborough so I guess it’s an honour for me to be one of those in a different sport than hockey.”
After finding success as a catcher in Peterborough, Reeves started his university career at Florida Gulf Coast University.
The Blue Jays selected Reeves twice in two different drafts and after the second time last year he signed with them and started his professional career with the short-season Low-A Vancouver Canadians.
In his first year as a professional player Reeves got a taste of professional success. The Canadians won the Northwest League championship and Reeves played in the circuit’s all-star game. The young backstop described both experiences as “awesome” and “unbelievable”.
For his second year in professional baseball, Reeves has set a clear goal.
“Try to stay more consistent,” the 23-year-old said. “Last year I had lot of highs and lows so I want to even that out and be more consistent.”
In Vancouver, Reeves spent time with catching coordinator Sal Fasano, which was a great help for the Peterborough native. The catcher believes that he learned more about catching while with the Canadians than in his whole career before.
The catcher plays a huge role on every team, and Reeves knows that he has to find common ground with the pitchers he works with if they want to achieve anything.
“One of the biggest things is receiving and making sure that the pitcher feels comfortable,” he said. “When the pitcher feels comfortable and you’re back there, and sticking pitches and blocking balls, he feels a lot better about himself, so he’s able to throw good game.”
Reeves started catching during his childhood, when his 10-year-old brother was pitching and needed a catcher. His first throw knocked out the catching Reeves’ teeth and when he went to tell his mother, she said that he had better start catching the ball.
“My career has been awesome,” Reeves said. “Nothing was ever given to me so I always had to work hard. Being drafted by my favourite team has been a dream come true; it’s unreal.
“There are days you get tired; it’s a grind, but I wake up every day and I’m like, I get to go play baseball for the team I grew up (watching) so this is awesome.”