The New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series has had a long and storied history of helping top Canadian talent to get to the next levels.
Wesley Johnston might be next.
The Mississauga Tigers standout is set to take the next step, earning an invite to the Main Event, set for September 29-October 1. The six-foot, 180-pound righty is tentatively slated to pitch in relief in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader at Fenway Park, and has been nothing but consistent ever since debuting on the signature event stage with last year’s Underclass Elite.
“My experience with the Future Stars Series so far has been nothing but great,” Johnston said. “From my first event with Future Stars almost two years ago, I never would have thought that I would be at the Main Event. Last year I was at Underclass elite and it was something like I’ve never experienced before…an incredible experience.”
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Johnston earned his way to Fenway with a big showing at the National Combine in Nashville, where he relied mostly on a slider-fastball mix — with the latter getting up to 91 miles per hour — and showed a repeatable delivery with impressive arm strength.
He’s been busy since then, however, developing a third pitch as well as working on his approach to the mental side of baseball as well.
“Since the last time I was at a Future Stars event, the thing that I’ve been working on the most is my mental game,” he said. “I think for me that is the biggest thing for me to master for me to move on to the next level in my career. With that being said, the other point of my game that I’ve been trying to improve is my pitch design, specifically my third pitch. I’ve never really gotten comfortable with throwing a changeup, so I was experimenting and figured out that something better for me is a splitter. I’m able to throw that pitch without think about anything extra than that of throwing a fastball.”
Johnston will debut that new splitter in Boston, and will be able to focus on his new offering after being sure to take a minute to just soak it all in.
“Fenway Park is a cathedral for American ballparks, the best of all-time,” he said. “Therefore, I simply am most excited just to walk on to the field and take it all in. I have never been there before, so the first (time will be) when I get to play on it. Just to be able to share the same field with all-time greats will be the top of my baseball career so far.”
With players such as Bo Naylor, Dasan Brown, David Calabrese and others having gone from this event to pro ball, Johnston also knows this is an enormous opportunity to take that career to new heights.
“With all the major-league scouts and executives that are going to be in attendance, the thing I’m most looking forward to showcasing is my high level of competitiveness,” he said. “There might always be people with more physical skill, but I will never let someone outcompete me.”
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