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TRU's Arnold gets pro contract

By Tracy Watson

Thompson Rivers University Daily News Sports Reporter


(From June 11, 2007)


A scream from his sister Danielle alerted Adam Arnold to the fact that his life had just changed for the better.


The right-handed pitcher from the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack had just been selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 41st round, 1,224th overall, of the Major League Baseball draft, making Friday a great day in the Arnold household in St.Thomas, Ontario.


Saturday was even better. Arnold immediately signed with the Brewers, marking the end of his college career with the WolfPack. The 6-foot-0, 187-pounder leaves for Milwaukee in 1.5 weeks for physical testing, after which he will travel to Arizona for summer league ball.


"I'm pretty excited about it," said Arnold, 21, from his home in St. Thomas, 30 minutes south of London. "I haven't had time to sit down and take it in.


?It was a sigh of relief," he continued, recalling draft day. "The day was getting long and (I was thining), 'Am I going to get a chance to play? Is it going to happen? Am I going to have to go back out there and work hard again and hope for next year?'


"I heard (Danielle, 19) scream before I looked at the computer. I though, 'Oh no, what happened?' My name had popped up."


That was Friday at about 5:30 p.m. - the rest has been a blur. But, then, so has Arnold's pitching career.


Three years ago he was trying to make it to the big leagues at third base. That plan changed when Walt Burrows, the Canadian supervisor of Major League Baseball's Scouting Bureau, saw him throw across the field.


"He said, 'This guy ought to become a pitcher,' " Arnold recalled.


So he did, for two years at a college in Port Huron, Mich. But he still wasn't getting anywhere. Then Burrows and Jay Lapp, a friend from London who also happens to be the Brewers' Eastern Canadian amateur scout, suggested he attend TRU and get to know coach Ray Chadwick, a former major league pitcher.


Those of you with long memories may recall that Lapp also was the first head coach of TRU's baseball team when it began in 1999-2000 as the UCC Sun Demons.


Arnold took the advice and joined the WolfPack in January. The semester stay changed his life, he said.


"They said Ray would be the guy that could help me take that next step, and he definitely was," Arnold said. "I learned more in two weeks than I had in my life. He's a phenomenal coach. If you want to play, he'll work with you. It was definitely a great learning experience - best I've had yet."


According to TRU's website, Arnold went 3-1 as a starter and had one save en route to a 2.54 ERA in helping the WolfPack win the Canadian College Baseball Conference championship. He recorded 46 strikeouts in 39 innings, and didn't allow even one triple or a home run. Opposing batters hit .105 against him.


Chadwick said the Brewers were no doubt attracted by Arnold's arm strength - he was clocked at 94 m.p.h.


"He always had a strong arm, but he was never given the chance to pitch," said Chadwick. "My thing was to get him here and give him a chance to fail or succeed. And he showed them. He made a bunch of steps."


"It hasn't been an easy path," Arnold said, "but you work hard and something's bound to happen."


Jennifer Robertson Photo




Jay Lapp, former UCC baseball coach and now Milwaukee Brewers Eastern Canadian amateur scout, congratulates Adam Arnold on his new contract.



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3 Majors turn in their uniforms for a shot at the majors

By SEAN MEYER, The Londoner


Chris Dennis wouldn't be the first, or likely the last, 18-year-old to spend the better part of a spring day in front of his computer.


However, in this particular case, Chris wasn't playing the latest video game or an intense game of solitaire. No, Chris was instead anxiously waiting to find out about his future - well, as far as the world of baseball goes at least.


Chris, a catcher and outfielder with the London Majors, was selected in the 13th round, 401st overall, by the Milwaukee Brewers in the Major League Baseball amateur draft. While the first round was actually televised this year, the rest of the draft is conducted online with young men like Chris waiting sometimes long hours to find out if some team is willing to take a chance on them.


For Chris though, he had a pretty good idea where he would be selected.


"My agent had been talking to Milwaukee, they said they were going to take me. We didn't know the exact round, but they said they would take me somewhere between the sixth round and the 13th," Chris says. "So I spent a lot of time just waiting. I kind of knew where they said they would take me, but you just never know. When my name came up, when I got the call from the Brewers, it was pretty exciting. It was something I have wanted ever since I was a little kid."


Chris actually put his major league dreams temporarily on hold last year when he was selected in 38th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After declining to sign with Tampa, he went back into this year's draft - but not before signing with London.


"I knew I had to work hard, to improve my draft position. So when Roop (Chanderdat, the Majors' co-owner, general manager and field manager) called and asked me to come play for him, I thought this was a great opportunity," says Chris, who signed with London back in February. "I think I got a great opportunity here, great coaching. I don't think there is any question this is a great program and being here gave me an opportunity to show what I can do."


As for what he can do, Roop says the sky is the limit for Chris.


"Chris needs to keep improving, keep working on those baseball skills. He has tremendous raw power. He is physically remarkably strong. But there is more to

playing in the Majors than strength," Roop says. "Chris needs to find a position, show he can play defense at the Major League level, show he can hit the outside pitch to the opposite field. But in our league, in just a short time, he showed he can do that. So I think there is no question he has the ability."


Chris will be reporting to Maryvale, Arizona and the Brewers' rookie league affiliate.


However, he won't be going alone.


Adam Arnold knows the excitement Chris is feeling. The 21-year-old Majors' pitcher was drafted in the 41st round, also by the Brewers.


"It's so exciting; you just aren't sure what is going to happen. Where you are going to be selected, what team, what round. My emotions were really stirring all day," Adam says. "I was sitting there in front of my computer from about 11:30 a.m. till after 5 p.m. and I needed a break. I went, took a shower, went and relaxed. Then I heard my sister yelling my name . . . it was just a great feeling. I had talked to the Brewers; they had shown a lot of interest. But when it finally happened it was like a dream come true."


Before leaving for the desert southwest, Adam was quick to point out he recognizes that being drafted is just the first step in the long journey he now has to take.


"Nobody knows what will happen, but I know I have an opportunity. That's all I could ask for. Once I'm down there I know I will have to stay mentally focused, learn all I can," Adam says. "I know I have great arm strength, I have velocity. But I have only been pitching for three years. I know I have a lot to still learn."


Chris and Adam weren't the only Majors selected in the draft as Mitch Delaney, 18, was selected in the 21st round by the Chicago White Sox.


While Chris and Adam have signed Major League contracts, Mitch is still weighing his decision.


And whether Mitch should choose to sign with the White Sox or remain another year with the Majors, Roop says he is thrilled for all three young men and excited about their futures.


However, at the same time he knows it makes his life more difficult as the Majors' field manager and general manager.


"It's really typical of our league, you have to go out and find the talent. You have some successes, you have some failures. This year when we started I knew we had some young players who could be drafted, but that's what we want. We want players who are eager to learn, guys who want to play," Roop says. "Sure, now we've lost three top notch guys, it's going to hurt for a while. But it will also give an opportunity to guys here still on this roster to step up and hopefully they will do that."


And while Roop deals with lineup issues as the field manager, he says he will also have to put in more work while wearing his general manager's hat too.


"It shows me I need to go out and recruit more. Chris Dennis was one of our best power hitters through the first nine games, you don't easily replace that," Roop says. "We have to replace Mitch and we need another pitcher now. Actually, we probably need another pitcher too besides replacing Adam. It just reminds me there is always work to be done."

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Dreams of the field: Blount County baseball players pursue big leagues


By Alan Yarbrough

of The Daily Times Staff (Maryville, Tennessee)


An opportunity to pursue a dream is all anybody can ask for.


That's all three Blount County baseball players are wanting.




Yearning for that one chance.


Each hungering for an elusive shot to play Major League Baseball, Bryan Crosby, Travis Barnett and Brandon Ketron just want a chance to show they have what it takes.


It's as simple as that.


Currently on three separate minor league teams, the trio's work ethic is unquestionably there. Coming from three different backgrounds, they met last year and instantly hit it off. Now, they usually work out five to six times a week, all to impress a select elite in their respective organizations.


But even with all the talent and commitment present at Cherokee Athletic Facility most weekdays, there is still a major obstacle: Their dreams are in other people's hands.


"At this point in their careers, I think they're looking at it as a huge mountain to climb," said Doug Bochtler, who played 10 years in the minor leagues along with another five in MLB. "The one thing that they've got to stay focused on is it's a developmental process and that process takes time. You have people outside of your realm of control that can get you to a certain point.


"What you've got to do is just control what you can control and execute pitches or put good swings on the ball when you're at that particular level."


Crosby, a 2006 William Blount graduate, has the farthest trek since he's still a third baseman in a Rookie League for the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Barnett, a pitcher, and Ketron, a catcher, are both in Class A for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and New York Yankees, respectively.


"It's difficult, because if you're sitting there in Class A ball and you're a pitcher, you're looking at five other teams ahead of you before the Major Leagues," Bochtler said. "Then you're looking at another group of people in the Major Leagues, so you're sitting there thinking, 'Man, just within this one group of people, I've got 50 other people I've got to get better than.' It's a difficult process. When you're there, you're always seeing the negative side of things."


That doesn't mean the three are giving up without a fight.


"Really, it's how long you can stick around and execute," Barnett said. "Just work hard. You've got to be one of those guys, unless you have bookoos of money invested in you, you've got to battle. It's really just fighting your way up through the ranks."


Crosby had to battle back.


Following a successful junior campaign at William Blount, he was primed for a stellar senior season. Scouts had him projected to be drafted in the middle rounds.


But a hamstring injury caused Crosby to miss most of his final high-school season. As a result, his stock plummeted, even though he was still named to the All-Region team after hitting .477 with six home runs in limited action.


The Milwaukee Brewers took him in the 44th round in 2006.


"It was always a dream that I had," Crosby said. "Honestly, I was more sure it was going to happen when I was a little kid than when I was in high school. As I got older, I realized how tough it really was to get drafted and how many good ballplayers are out there that don't get the opportunity.


"I was lucky enough to be one of them, especially after being hurt most of my senior season."


The Brewers, however, weren't quite ready to allow Crosby into their organization. First, he had to prove his health at Cleveland State.


Apparently, Milwaukee was impressed with the .320 batting average he compiled in his lone season. Finally on May 23, nearly a year after being drafted, Crosby signed a professional contract.


Currently, after completing his first pro season for the Arizona League Brewers, the 19-year-old Crosby would like to be in the big leagues by around age 24.


"It's a night and day difference once you get into that environment compared to collegiate or high school," Crosby said. "Those guys got big-league talent already. They're the guys you watch on TV. Some of them have the mental ability to make it and some of them don't.


"For me, it's figuring everything out. You watch these guys that play every day in the Major Leagues and you see how they hit and how they go about their business. There's just a certain way that you go about it, and that's just pretty much figuring it out. What it will take is to be consistent every day in a 162-game schedule so a major-league team would want you to be a part of their roster."




Crosby has some work to do. His small sample of Maryvale numbers were unimpressive, and he wasn't an instructional camp invitee. So young, though, so we'll see:


Bryan Crosby Arizona Brewers 2007


colbyjack's notes from his home page 2007 draft class review, which included 2006/2007 DFE's like Crosby:


Bryan Crosby, 3B

.179/.303/.179 in 56 at-bats with Arizona

While the numbers may indicate otherwise, the Brewers drafted, followed and eventually signed Crosby due to his sweet swing and overall athletic ability. He has been hampered by injuries the past several years, and will need to find a way to stay healthier over the long, professional schedule. Crosby is likely to start next season in extended spring training before being assigned to one of the organization's two rookie level affiliates.

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