While most MiLB players are back in their hometowns training and awaiting the arrival of the new season. Four former Ontario Blue Jays players OF Malik Collymore, LHP Evan Grills, C Mike Reeves and 3B Eric Wood continued to work on their game internationally.
OF Malik Collymore, son of Lawrence Collymore (current OBJ Coach), brother of current OBJ players Khalid and Rashad have not seen each other much since the conclusion of the MiLB season. Malik finished his 2016 season with the Brevard County Manatees (Milwaukee Brewers A-Advanced affiliate) where he hit 4 HRs and drove in 14 RBIs over 59 games. From there, Collymore flew to Sydney, Australia to join the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League. While in Sydney, Collymore hit .276 with 3 HRs and 22 RBIs in 39 games. Collymore will head south to Arizona to join Milwaukee Spring Training this month in hopes of continuing his ascent through the Milwaukee organization.
LHP Evan Grills has had an eventful off-season, between playing in Puerto Rico and signing his new contract with the Colorado Rockies he hasn’t had much to relax after his already long MiLB season. Grills finished his 2016 campaign with the Fresno Grizzlies (Houston Astros AAA-affiliate) where he posted a 2.55 ERA over 17 and 2/3 innings. He then took off for Puerto Rico to join the Cangrejeros de Santurce in the Liga de Beisbol Professional Roberto Clemente. While in Puerto Rico, Grills went 4-2 with 28 strikeouts, yielding only 4 walks while maintaining a 2.08 ERA. After putting together a solid Winter League season, Grills returned home to sign with the Colorado Rockies after spending 7 years with the Astros organization. Grills looks to make the jump from AAA to the MLB this season as he joins the Rockies this Spring.
C Mike Reeves, headed into his fourth year with the Toronto Blue Jays organization didn’t stop playing once he caught his last pitch in Dunedin this year. Reeves joined Collymore and several other Toronto Blue Jays teammates in Australia to continue playing. Reeves joined the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League. With the Cavalry, Reeves hit .248 with 5 HRs and 20 RBIs over 30 games. Reeves was a 21st Round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013 out of Florida Gulf Coast University and has become a staple behind the plate in the Blue Jays organization. Last Spring, Reeves travelled with the Toronto Blue Jays to Montreal to take on the Boston Red Sox at Olympic Stadium prior to the beginning of the 2016 MLB season. Reeves heads back to Dunedin this Spring in hopes of continuing to rise within the Blue Jays organization.
3B Eric Wood, a 6th Round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, finished his season in Altoona, Pennsylvania (AA Home of the Pirates) and instead of heading to his hometown of Brooklin, Ontario he went south to Surprise, Arizona. Wood was invited to the well known and respected Arizona Fall League which features many of the best prospects from across the MiLB. Wood landed on the Surprise Saguaros roster which features players from the Red Sox, Royals, Twins, Pirates and Rangers. Wood proceeded to catch fire in Arizona, hitting .330 with 3 HR and 20 RBIs over 23 games. Wood lead the Saguaros in Runs Scored, Hits and RBIs. Woods’ “off-season” didn’t end there, after completing the Arizona Fall League he then flew to the Dominican Republic to join the Gigantes del Cibao of the Liga de Beisbol Domincano. Wood played in 25 games for the Gigantes, hitting 3 HRs and driving in 12 RBIs. After a long year of baseball, Wood returns to Bradenton, Florida (Spring Training Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) this month with a Major League Spring Training Camp Invitation. Wood looks to improve on an already impressive professional career.