After a decade of operation, Prospects Baseball Academy in St. Albert has cultivated some incredible talent.
Those who have attended the academy include Major League Baseball (MLB) draft picks – like Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Andrew Case and Erik Sabrowski, a 2018 selection of the San Diego Padres – while others have represented the Prospects in Edmonton as members of the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) team.
Jordan Blundell, meanwhile, has become the face for the Prospects in both St. Albert and Edmonton. In St. Albert, Blundell works as a hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator at Prospects Baseball Academy, while in Edmonton he was recently named head coach and director of baseball operations by the Prospects.
We caught up with Blundell recently to learn more about the academy as part of our “1 Thru 9” feature series. Here’s what he had to say:
1. How long has Prospects Baseball Academy been up and running?
The Prospects Baseball Academy was established in St. Albert in 2009.
2. What is the age range of the students you work with?
Student athletes range from 11 years old in our junior Prospects camps to 19 years old with our gold team.
3. Tell us about academic expectations at the academy.
The academic requirements for the Prospects Baseball Academy student athletes are that they remain in good standing with their current school with respect to grades and behaviour.
4. Shed some light on your typical annual schedule at Prospects Baseball Academy.
Our schedule functions in three phases. Phase one is our fall baseball phase. During this phase our teams play roughly 20 games and practices from the beginning of September to mid-October. Our annual fall study break is mid-October until the beginning of November.
Phase two begins at the start of November as we move inside our facility at 5 Tool Fieldhouse and begin our fundamental baseball training and strength programming. That runs through until early March.
Phase three is our spring competitive schedule.
5. What kind of travel are the players exposed to?
Our players compete throughout Alberta and British Columbia, with a trip to Georgia in May for a Perfect Game Showcase.
6. What facilities do you have to offer your students?
5 Tool Fieldhouse includes a 5,000 square-foot turf area, cages that are 20-feet high, two pitching machines and three full-sized pitching mounds. The weight room is also home to Absolute Human Performance.
Our competitive schedule is played at Legion Memorial Ball Park in St. Albert and RE/MAX Field in downtown Edmonton.
7. What can you tell us about your coaching staff?
Cam Houston is our head coach and program director. He’s originally from Spruce Grove and he played collegiately at Garden City Community College and Fort Hays State University, where he hit .412 with 11 home runs and 79 RBI, earning him All-American honours in his junior year in 2003. In addition to coaching at Prospects Academy, Cam has coached for Malaspina College on Vancouver Island, as well as with the Spruce Grove White Sox and St. Albert Cardinals.
Mike Johnson is our pitching and youth development coach. His 17-year professional baseball career began when he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993. Mike made his MLB debut in 1997 and played parts of five seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. He also has a lengthy international resume that includes Olympic appearances and a 2011 Pan American Games gold medal. Mike has also coached with Canada’s Junior National Team.
— The Canadian Baseball Network (@CDNBaseballNet) November 28, 2018
I serve as the hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator at Prospects Academy. I’m from Edmonton and graduated from Harry Ainlay High School in 1998. I attended the University of Jamestown, where I was an All-American and we won two conference titles and one regional championship. After majoring in international business, I continued on with baseball and ended up playing indy ball with the Schaumburg Flyers of the Northern Professional Baseball League. My coaching experience includes 11 years as the head coach of the Vancouver Island University (VIU) baseball program.
The fundamentals coach is Sean Erickson. Originally from Sicamous, B.C., Sean has coaching experience with the Spruce Grove White Sox and the St. Albert Cardinals.
Our catching coach and instructor is Aaron Lavorato, and our strength coach is Taylor Burns, the owner and director of Absolute Human Performance.
8. What are the annual tuition fees for students and what do those costs cover?
Our Prospects White fees are $5,000, while our Prospects Black tuition is $5,700. For Grade 11 students, those costs rise to $8,700 and Grade 12 students can expect fees of $10,000. The tuition covers all facility costs, strength programming, travel expenses and meals on the road.
I should also point out that the Prospects Academy has helped over 100 student athletes receive scholarships since 2009. We currently have 23 players in college baseball on scholarships.
You can also find out more about our program structure on our website.
9. What defines success for a graduate of Prospects Baseball Academy?
We encourage our student athletes to pursue their baseball dreams and are proud of all our athletes, no matter what level they achieve in the sport. Success for us also includes helping develop young men who will be leaders in their community as they enter the workforce.
Success for us can also be seen at Christmas when former academy athletes are back home for the break and are spending time with our younger players, sharing work and sharing their experiences through college baseball – the act of giving back. Lastly, many of our former players have taken up coaching and are having an impact on youth players throughout North America.