North Van baseball prospect drawing attention from MLB scouts
Decked out in a Team Canada ball cap, hitting gloves, Under Armour shirt and shorts, Lachlan Fontaine is standing on the green turf inside a batting cage at North Vancouver’s Inside Performance training centre.
He’s spent countless hours here honing his swing. Sometimes he’s the only player training inside the cavernous facility.
That dedication to his craft, along with his physical talent, has the young player poised to be the next big hit from B.C. in baseball.
The Grade 12 Sutherland student who played his junior ball for the British Columbia Premier Baseball League’s North Shore Twins has already been contacted by 25 of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball and has had visits at his home from five pro scouts.
Universities and colleges on both sides of the border are also interested in having the strong-armed slugger don their uniforms. So far, he’s received 30-plus letters from schools such as Boston College, Indiana University and Oklahoma State University, to name just a few.
Along with a stellar season with the Twins this year, Fontaine, 17, also played for the BC Selects at the Canada Cup in Toronto and earned a spot on Canada’s national junior team. Last month at the 2012 West Uncommitted Showcase in Glendale, Ariz., Fontaine garnered rave reviews from the scouts at Perfect Game. After the tourney, he was named the top prospect at the event and also became the event’s all-time “infield velocity record holder” after a throw of his was clocked at 90 mph.
In the scouting notes posted at perfectgame.org, this is what they had to say about Fontaine: “He was the top hitter in the West Uncommitted batting practice and there is no question he’s a high Division I hitter. Fontaine has plenty of strength to drive the ball and has a loose, extended swing with lots of pull power. He also opened eyes by throwing 90 mph during infield drills. Scouts will have to account for him next spring with these type of tools.”
Fontaine is well aware of the growing roster of B.C. talent in major league baseball in recent years that has scouts paying close attention to ball players from these parts.
There are guys like Adam Loewen from Surrey who was drafted by the Orioles, Burnaby’s Justin Morneau of the Twins and Langley’s Brett Lawrie, the heavily tattooed slugger who was the 16th pick at the 2008 draft and now plays for the Blue Jays.
In 2011, playing at the Mizuno camp at Rogers’ Centre in Toronto, Fontaine got to meet Lawrie.
He says it was inspirational to meet a B.C. guy who was playing in the majors.
For now, Fontaine says he’s trying not to think too much about the MLB draft or the scouts in the stands.
“Sometimes, but I don’t want to get too caught up in it,” he says.
As the days tick down to the MLB draft in June, he’s just focusing on improving his game.
That means regular trips to the batting cage, working with strength coach Graeme Lehman, and playing in some tournaments with the Canadian national junior team in Florida and the Dominican Republic.
Larson Bauck, Fontaine’s coach with the Twins, believes the young third baseman has got a real chance to get drafted in June and can even bolster his draft status with a strong performance with the junior team this spring.
“He’s a powerful athlete. He’s got a plus arm across the diamond, real good power and moves really well for kid that’s six-three, two-ten. I think he can become a great player...the sky’s the limit for him.”
So, don’t be surprised if Fontaine is sporting a cap with a MLB logo when he’s working out at Inside Performance this summer.