Australia apparently agrees with Kellin Deglan.
The 22-year-old catcher from Langley, a 2010 first-round pick of the Texas Rangers, has blasted 16 home runs in a mere 35 games in the Australian Baseball League, an off-season circuit sanctioned by Major League Baseball.
The former league record was 15, and Deglan has 13 games remaining in the season. He hit two home runs on Saturday, helping the Melbourne Aces to a 9-8 win over the Canberra Cavalry.
The No. 22 selection from a draft thatâ€™s already put, among others, Bryce Harper (No. 1), Manny Machado (No. 3) and Chris Sale (No. 13) in the majors, the left-handed hitting Deglan had a five-homer lead on his nearest competition in the six-team loop as of Saturday.
Deglan also topped the ABL in runs batted in (32) and slugging percentage (.682), while sitting second in total bases (90), two back of Adelaide Bite right fielder Aaron Miller, a Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand.
Deglan is batting .280.
Youâ€™d have to think heâ€™s a most valuable player candidate.
The ABL is run via a partnership between MLB, the Australian Baseball Federation and the Australian Sports Commission. Itâ€™s in its fifth year of existence.
Other players in the league who might be familiar to local fans include Canberra first baseman L.B. Dantzler and second baseman Christian Lopes, Toronto Blue Jay farmhands who played previously with the Vancouver Canadians.
Deglan, a product of the B.C. Premier Leagueâ€™s Langley Blaze, has long been considered advanced defensively.
His bat has been his question mark. In his five seasons in the minors, heâ€™s hit .232, with 47 home runs and 206 RBIs.
Heâ€™s made it as far as Advanced Single A twice. Heâ€™s played 270 of his 403 career games for the Hickory Crawdads, a Single A team in the South Atlantic League.
Lennerton resigns with Detroit
Langley native and Blaze product, first baseman Jordan Lennerton, 28, announced on his Twitter account (@oppo_jack_lenny) on New Yearâ€™s Eve that he had resigned with the Detroit Tigers after becoming a minor-league free agent in November.
Lennerton has spent the past two seasons with Detroitâ€™s Triple A affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League. In 2013, the left-handed swinging Lennerton represented the Tigers at the All-Star Futures Game. He wound up hitting .278, with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs in 139 games.
His numbers dipped last season, as Lennerton finished off batting .249, to go along with 10 homers and 53 RBIs in 121 contests.
He did win his second straight Minor League Baseball Rawlings Gold Glove for his fielding prowess.
Lennerton is currently playing in the Puerto Rican winter league with the Cangrejeros de Santurce, where former big leaguer Eduardo Perez is his manager and his teammates include former Vancouver Canadian Dickie Thon, Jr.
Through 32 games, Lennerton was batting .227, with one homer and 13 RBIs.
Steve Ewen is a reporter with the Vancouver Province. Read more Province stories by clicking here.