When he was playing for the Langley Blaze, Jacob Zibin didn’t waste a lot of time day-dreaming about a major league baseball career.
“I’m not the type of guy who looks too far in the future,” Zibin told the Langley Advance Times.
Which doesn’t mean he didn’t imagine himself in the majors, he clarified, just that he preferred to focus on the work needed to get there.
This year, after some concentrated effort at the baseball-centric TNXL Academy in Florida added some muscle to his frame and speed to his pitching arm, Zibin put his name in the major league baseball draft.
At 17, 6’2” and 218 pounds, a right-handed pitcher with a fastball clocked up to 98 miles an hour (along with an effective changeup), Zibin has just became the youngest player signed by a MLB team this year, a 10th round draft pick who inked a contract with the Cleveland Guardians for $1.2 million (U.S.). It is believed to be the biggest-ever signing bonus for a 10th round pick.
For Zibin, a high point was signing day with the other new drafts in the U.S., when his family was flown in by the team to be with him for the event.
“It was awesome,” Zibin commented.
A Guardian Baseball Insider post predicted the “talented right-hander will likely start his professional career in the Arizona Complex League and stay there for an extended period.”
Guardians director of amateur scouting Scott Barnsby told MLB.com Zibin was “absolutely physical” already.
“He’s got life to his fastball,” Barnsby commented. “Really good feel for his changeup. We’re confident that the breaking ball is going to come, as well. Throws strikes, and another guy we couldn’t be more excited about the player development group getting their hands on.”
Now working under the guidance of Guardians development trainers, Zibin still isn’t looking too far head, concentrating on the immediate steps he needs to take before he next appears on the pitcher’s mound.
“In a month, month-and-a-half, I’ll get into my first game,” Zibin estimated, predicting it will likely be no more than a few innings.
Between then and now, he is concentrating on preparing, “building my arm strength back up and getting back in game shape.”
“Things are going good,” Zibin remarked.
“I’m settling in.”
Zibin said he was being “set up to succeed” by the Guardians trainers, who have a reputation for getting good results with young players.
“This is where I want to be,” Zibbin declared.
“This is the best place, personally, for me to be.”
Zibin, who also played basketball and volleyball at Langley Secondary School, becomes the latest Langley Blaze player to make the move to the majors, a list that includes Tyler O’Neill, Brett Lawrie and Scott Mathieson.
Since the Blaze organization was founded in 2001 by Doug Mathieson, a former right-handed pitcher who played in the MLB minor leagues, more than 30 Langley players have been drafted by MLB clubs, more than any other high school or club team in Canada.
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