TORONTO - A capacity crowd filled the Northern Lights Ballroom at the Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel on Saturday evening as national team players, current and past, friends and corporate partners came together to celebrate and support Baseball Canada’s Junior and Senior National Teams.
The 18th annual Baseball Canada National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser raised money for the programs while also honouring alumni for notable performances over the 2019 season as seven awards were handed out.
Baseball Canada Junior National Team MVP Award presented by RBC Wealth Management - DASAN BROWN
Brown parlayed a strong performance, including a home run, in the annual Junior National Team/Blue Jays spring training game in Dunedin and later became the first Canadian selected in June’s MLB Draft when the Blue Jays chose him in the third round. After signing a contract and making his professional baseball debut, he capped a three-year stint with the Junior National Team program by hitting .345 with 10 hits and 8 RBI at the U18 World Cup in Korea.
Baseball Canada Senior National Team MVP Award presented by MLB Players Association - PHILLIPPE AUMONT
Aumont was dominant for the red and white in 2019 as he picked-up 3 wins in international competition making quick work of Argentina in Canada’s opening win at the Pan Am Games and later pitched Canada into the gold medal game retiring 21 of the 23 batters he faced in seven scoreless innings against Nicaragua. Facing a veteran Cuban lineup at Premier 12 in November he struck out nine in eight brilliant innings on the mound to lead Canada to victory.
Stubby Clapp Award presented by Mizuno Canada - SCOTT RICHMOND
The career path and journey that Richmond has taken through the game of baseball is remarkable. Undrafted and signed out of independent ball on his way to reaching the big leagues back in 2008, pitching professionally in five different countries not to mention representing Canada 11 times in international events spanning three continents and nine countries, this player has lived a life in baseball. A key cog in the national team program for the last decade, this player provided length on the mound for Manager Ernie Whitt with Canada short on starters at the Pan Am Qualifier last January before earning the victory in a huge win over Colombia at the Pan Am Games in July.
Larry J. Pearson Alumni Award presented by Larry Pearson - SCOTT MATHIESON
Mathieson spent the last eight seasons with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan and has earned the reputation as one of the best foreign players ever in Nippon Professional Baseball. A retirement announcement from professional baseball came following the 2019 season, but Mathieson is choosing to finish his playing career in a Canadian uniform as he recorded saves against world No. 1 Japan in Premier 12 warm-up play last October and was on the mound when Canada upset world number four Cuba at Premier 12 in November.
Canadian Futures Award presented by the Toronto Chapter of Baseball Writers Association of America - BO NAYLOR
A former, two-time Junior National Team MVP award winner, Bo Naylor was a first round pick of the Cleveland Indians in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. In 2019, he was challenged with a full season assignment as a 19-year-old and earned rave reviews for his work behind the plate and in the batter’s box making him a candidate to move quickly through the system and become a key part of the next wave of Canadian baseball stars.
Baseball Canada Special Recognition Award presented by MLB Players Association - JOSH NAYLOR
Josh Naylor made his big league debut last May at home inside Rogers Centre as a member of the San Diego Padres and soon after, with upwards of 300 close friends and family looking on, he recorded his first big league hit while going 3-for-6 and made a nice sliding grab in right field for good measure as teammate and fellow countryman Cal Quantrill picked up his first big league win. Naylor went on to slam his first major league home run one week later at home in San Diego before belting seven more with plenty left in the tank for years to come.
Baseball Canada Special Achievement Award presented by Major League Baseball Players Association - MIKE SOROKA
The baseball world caught a glimpse of Soroka in 2018 at just 20 years old with the Atlanta Braves before he exploded onto the scene in 2019. An All-Star Game appearance at just 21-years-old put him into Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award consideration as he ended the season with a 13-4 record and impressive 2.68 ERA over 29 starts. He flourished on the road in 2019 and was at his best in October when he led the Braves to a victory in St. Louis in the National League Division Series with a gutsy 7-inning performance.