From Mascouche, Québec : Raphael Pelletier!

Revue de presse

By Bob Elliott, Canadian Baseball Network, le 14 septembre 2018

Raphaël Pelletier

What would you expect from someone who calls Mascouche, Que. home?

A baseball talent.

Who else is from Mascouche, catcher Raphael Pelletier was asked before Thursday night’s game against the Prairies at the Rogers Centre?

“Former Cy Young award winner Eric Gagne,” said Pelletier. “When I was real young our house was in front of his.”

Well, why is Pelletier not a pitcher like the Quebec icon Gagne, who saved 187 games in his career, including 55 when he won the award in 2003 closing for the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Pelletier shrugged saying “I fell in love with the position.”

He began playing at age 10 with Les Elites du Lanaudiere as a peewee and bantam, making the nationals and earning a silver medal at Summerside, PEI in 2016. He hit .231 (3-for-13) with an RBI. And this year was part of the Quebec team at the Canada Cup in Moncton.

Pro scouts were in the seats Thursday while college recruiters arrive on Friday, first day of the fall “open season” to watch and talk to high schoolers. Pelletier says he is not eligible for the draft until 2020, yet an impressive summer allowed him to ensure his school was looked after.

Playing for Academy Baseball Canada, Pelletier impressed assistant coach Kirk Saarloos to earn a scholarship offer from the TCU Horned Frogs. Saarloos, a former major leaguer, who played seven seasons with the Oakland A’s, Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds saw Pelletier twice: competing in the TCU tournament in Fort Worth at Lupton Stadium and again later at Indianapolis.

Now, the phrase TCU and Canadians does not really go together well. Since 1999 of the 100s of players we have been tracking each year (anywhere from 490 to 750) the only player we recall going to TCU was Vauxhall grad Jeremie Fagnan (Calgary, Alta.) as a JUCO transfer.

The Horned Frogs are a powerhouse, having reached the College World Series in Omaha five times under coach Jim Schlossnagle: 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The ABC won three Perfect Game tourneys south of the border -- also a fact we don’t remember a Canadian team ever accomplishing. Pelletier’s best game was in the final of one tourney when he went 3-for-4 with a double, two singles and threw out two runners attempting to steal. The ABC knock off Canes Nation 2020, which was fifth ranked in North America.

Coach Rob Fatal (Boucherville, Que.), director general Max Lamarche (Laval, Que.), plus Quebec coaches Denis Boucher (Lachine, Que.), Alex Agostino (St. Bruno, Que.) and Ivan Naccarata (Montreal, Que.) were some of the many who played a greater role in exposure for Quebec players.

Pelletier’s favourite player is Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes (“I cheer for players mostly, not teams,” he says). Next would be Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals and Montreal native Russell Martin of the Toronto Blue Jays.

“I go to the same high school (Ecole secondarie Edouard-Montpeit) that Russell went to,” said Pelletier. “A couple of years ago he came in and spoke to the students,”

Fatal compared Pelletier’s defensive abilities and his work ethic to catcher Maxim St. Pierre (Quebec City, Que.). St. Pierre reached the Detroit Tigers for six games, but played 15 years in the minors with the Rookie-class Gulf Coast Tigers, class-A Oneonta, class-A West Michigan, class-A Lakeland, triple-A Toledo, double-A Erie, double-A Huntsville and the Quebec Capitales of the independent Canadian-American Association.

“Raph’s comprehension of the game is at a high level, you don’t have to tell him anything a second time,” Fatal said.

Pelletier entered the game late and made a fine sliding play to his left to throw out Brodie Guenther (Warman, Sask.) as Quebec and the Prairies battled to a 1-1 tie.

“My goal is to make the pitchers better and help us win,” Pelletier said. And ABC won tournaments in North Carolina in June and two more in Texas at the end of July.

Pelletier is a catch and throw guy, not one to knock the ball over the fence. But travelling from Mascouche to Fort Worth, TCU thinks it has hit a home run.

Revue de presse publiée par Jacques Lanciault.

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