The insatiable appetite of U.S. sports for athletes to throw into the hopper is set to nibble on the talents of 26 Australian baseball players who will appear in games against teams from Europe and Canada prior to taking on rookies from MLB powerhouses including the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers.
The Australians range in age from 15 to 18, the age when MLB clubs like to secure the services of young talent and put them on the arduous path of minor leagues in the hopes that two or perhaps three will develop into Major Leaguers.
Fifteen-year-old Jarryd Dale of Melbourne is anxious to make his debut in Florida and knows what is at stake. As an aside, what is going on with all the players named Jarryd, anyway?
Jarryd’s father Phil was an early proponent of baseball in Australia and gave each of his sons their choice of any sport they wanted to play, so long as the positions they chose were shortstop, pitcher, or catcher.
Older brother Tyler played for Australia, but middle brother Ryan signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2012. He played 47 games for the Idaho Falls Chukars in 2015. The Chukars are a minor league affiliate of the Royals in the Pioneer League, several levels below the Big Show, but at just 19, Ryan Dale can look forward to laboring at the minor levels in a sport where many players do not make their Major League debuts until they are well into their 20’s.