Young Canadian talent makes it to the Big Leagues

May 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Canadian Sport Features, Profiles

Posing with teammates at the World Junior championships.

Posing with teammates at the World Junior championships.

Despite being just eighteen years old, Kellin Deglan is a force to be reckoned with on the baseball diamond. In June of last year, the Langley, B.C. catcher became the fourth highest B.C. Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) player ever drafted and the second highest Canadian position player ever drafted in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Deglan was the 22nd overall pick by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the draft.

Deglan currently plays for the Hickory Crawdads, a Minor League Baseball team based out of L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, North Carolina. The Crawdads are a Class A team in the South Atlantic League, a longstanding farm team of the Texas Rangers, dating back to 1999. The team has a solid reputation, and has taken home the South Atlantic League championship title in both 2002 and 2004. The Crawdads boast a notable alumni consisting of Joe Biemel, Matt Capps, Joe Crede, Zach Duke, John Grabow, Carlos Lee, Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Magglio Ordoniez, and Aaron Rowand.

Driving one hard for Spokane.

Driving one hard for Spokane.

Throughout his high school years at R.E. Mountain Secondary School, Deglan played for the Langley Blaze, a highly esteemed youth team that has earned itself a reputation as a talent pipeline for MLB entry draft. Numerous players have been drafted into the Major Leagues from the Blaze.

In 2010, Deglan joined the Canadian Junior National Team. The team attended Spring Training at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, and later on competed in the World Junior Baseball Championship in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Canada finished fourth after losing to Cuba in the bronze medal game, and Deglan was given the Junior National Team MVP Award. He scored five runs in the tournament, and his solid performance helped trigger his rise on the draft boards. After quickly signing on with the Rangers, Deglan began playing Rookie-level ball for their Arizona league team, stepping up to short-season A ball for their affiliate Spokane Indians team in Washington.

As a lefty-swinging catcher and one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League, Deglan offers a unique package, one that will most definitely serve as an asset in helping the Crawdads, who are currently on a four-game winning streak, build upon their respectable 9-4 win-loss record thus far in the season.

Focus is everything for Deglan.

Focus is everything for Deglan.

We sat down with Kellin to ask him a few questions.

How did you get started in the sport?
I was always watching my older siblings play baseball so I grew up around the ball field. I started playing baseball when I was 5 years old.

Do you have any memorable childhood experiences in the sport?
When I was 12 years old, I went to the Little League Canadians in Brossard, Quebec. Those were some of the best baseball games I have ever played.

When did you decide you wanted to take things seriously in the sport?
When I was 10 years old and playing with the All-Stars, I knew my team from Langley was a special group. Every game was exciting and this is when I knew I was serious about baseball.

How did you balance academics and other commitments with baseball during high school?
I had a busy schedule during my last few years of high school, playing baseball both for the Langley Blaze and the Canadian Junior National Team. I needed to get homework done and not procrastinate. Family was always there to support me and make sure I didn’t have too much going on.

What is the best piece of advice that you have received?
The best piece of advice I have received is to just be yourself, to try not to do too much, and to not do something you shouldn’t do.

What are your goals for the future?
My goal is to be consistent all season long and to not let my highs get too high and my lows get too low.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis?
Every day, every game, I have challenges. I try be on the same page as all of my pitchers and control the running game. Offensively, I want to drive the baseball during every at bat, and if I do that, I take it as a victory even if I don’t get a hit.

What is your proudest and most memorable moment to date?
The proudest moment was being drafted by the Texas Rangers. This was a proud moment for my family and I because my first job was my dream job.

What’s your plan for the coming months?
My plan for the coming months is to live life as a Minor League Baseball player, to prepare to play baseball every night, and to be consistent throughout the season.


Favourite baseball movie: Major League.
Pre-game meal: PB&J sandwich in the clubhouse.
Pre-game rituals: No pre-game rituals. Just visualize a few pitches.
Advice for young athletes: Play hard, have fun, and ask questions.

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