Justin Thorsteinson is in Florida this week as part of Baseball Canada’s junior national team. Thorsteinson is one of three members of the Langley Blaze on the team’s roster.                                 Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Justin Thorsteinson is in Florida this week as part of Baseball Canada’s junior national team. Thorsteinson is one of three members of the Langley Blaze on the team’s roster. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Teen turning heads on ball diamond

Langley’s Justin Thorsteinson, 15, already has verbal commitment to Oregon State University

Take the mound or take the field — it’s a question Justin Thorsteinson will eventually have to answer.

But for the time being, Thorsteinson is content to play both and leave the decision as to which position he is better suited for down the road.

And while no one knows which one it will eventually be, what baseball coaches and scouts do know is that he has the potential to play both exceptionally well.

Thorsteinson stands six-foot-three and weighs 185 pounds — and is just 15 years old.

A left-handed pitcher, he averages 85 to 86 miles per hour with his fastball and has topped out at 87 mph but he can also get things done at the dish, leading the BC Junior Premier Baseball League with a .467 batting average and 10 of his 42 hits went for extra bases — while driving home 20 runs — as a first baseman/outfielder.

Those tools and all the potential he is showing has caught the attention of NCAA Division 1 schools with Thorsteinson already verbally committing to Oregon State University, despite still having three years of high school to go.

He also left for Buena Vista, Fla. as part of Baseball Canada’s junior national team (U18) annual fall instructional camp this past weekend.

The camp runs Oct. 1 to 11 and in addition to daily practices, the team will play seven games against the Fall Instructional League clubs from the Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays organizations.

The 32-player roster is filled predominantly by 16 and 17-year-olds but Thorsteinson is one of two 15-year-olds on the roster, alongside Theo Millas. Team Canada’s roster also features 17-year-old Tate Dearing and the trio will also be teammates in 2018 with the Langley Blaze Premier program.

“He really could do both (positions),” said Langley Blaze coach Jamie Bodaly.

“He is special. If everything goes the right way, he could be a first round draft pick in three years.”

“It’s an honour to be selected,” admitted Thorsteinson, whose family moved from Richmond to Langley this summer.

Thorsteinson is attending Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, but will attend Langley Secondary for the second semester and enrol in the school’s baseball academy.

“Just representing my country and having “Canada’ across my chest — it’s amazing. I can’t express that enough,” he said.

The Canadian coaching staff has no idea where on the field he will wind up playing but are intrigued by what he brings.

“He is the type of player you want to get into the (national team) program young,” said Greg Hamilton, the head coach of Baseball Canada’s junior national team.

“He has got size, he has got athleticism, his arm works, he has the makings of a decent swing.

“With a player like that, you give him opportunities to grow and mature both on the mound and positionally.”


sports@langleytimes.com

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