Ready to embrace the third season of the Canadian Premier Baseball League, the Team Ontario Astros are excited about the teams they’ve added to the program, the idea of playing baseball outside after a long winter, and an off-season that the organization believes will lead to success this year.
Through the first two years of the circuit, Team Ontario has enjoyed being a part of the CPBL because of the level of play it provides, the chances it gives its players – on and off the field – and the excitement it brings for baseball in Ontario.
“The CPBL is the best league in the province,” said Jason Booth, the Astros director of baseball operations. “It brings quality competition week in and week out. It provides a stage for our kids to be able to be showcased, and to have collegiate and professional opportunities. The league has created an identity for itself that sets a standard for those opportunities, and I can only see that continuing for as long as we keep the CPBL.”
Through the most recent off-season, the Astros made several changes and upgrades to the organization, and are looking forward to seeing how the changes translate on the field when the season begins.
“Our program is growing,” Booth said. “We’re now five teams from the 14U to 18U divisions, with one team at each level. We’ve Brough in some new coaches, and there have been some changes within The Dugout Baseball and Softball Academy, which is our facility. We’ve made some cage additions and training additions there, and the program works out there three days a week per team.
“As far as staff goes, we’re excited about the opportunity to bring in hitting coordinator Eric Owens, who played in the major leagues and is the former assistant hitting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. We’ve done some things and are excited for the program and the direction we’re going in.”
Team Ontario Astros Welcome former Major Leaguer Eric Owens to its Coaching Staff as the new hitting coordinator. Eric brings years of Major League playing experience as well as years of Minor and Major League coaching experience. We are excited to have him on board! pic.twitter.com/NgKt33p7Ob
— Team Ontario Astros (@TeamONAstros) January 29, 2018
The off-season alterations the Astros have made have helped to add excitement for the third CPBL season, and they can’t wait to see it all out on the field.
“We’ve been able to get stronger and more physical,” Booth said. “Our kids have been able to make changes to swings, and we’ve had a lot of highlights with some of the arms that we’ve brought in. We’re really excited about all of our teams, but I think a highlight for us will be our 18U and 16U teams, and our 14U team should be very different than it was a year ago. Our kids are older now, and they’re ready to come in and compete. We brought back a lot of 14U players, so they’ve had a year of experience in the league and we’re going to see some of those benefits.”
— Team Ontario Astros (@TeamONAstros) January 14, 2018
With the season set to begin, Team Ontario is looking forward to all of the benefits the CPBL has to offer, from the calibre of competition to the opportunities it can provide.
“We’ve all excited to get outside first of all,” Booth said. “But for the upcoming season for our program I’m excited to get our kids out and see how they’ve progressed over the winter. We’re excited to see our 2019 and 2020 classes, and to get them out and to see where they are as they go through the recruiting process. For us, it’s all about getting our kids to the next level of college baseball. There’s a lot of talent there.”