Baseball draft bonanza awaits Australian star Bazzana

The respectful, baseball-mad kid whose Dad thanked Glenn Williams with a bottle of wine for his coaching help a decade ago is about to make Australian sporting history.

There is no doubt Travis Bazzana will become the first player from this country to be recruited in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft.

But the big-hitting infielder at Oregon State University could be taken as high as No.1 when the draft is held next Monday morning (AEST).

Williams, who played in the majors for the Minnesota Twins in 2005, is now Baseball Australia chief executive.

"It would be quite an achievement - to put it into context ... there are 14-15 million people registered, playing baseball over in the US," Williams told AAP.

"It would be absolutely incredible."

Gary Bazzana has a photo of his son Travis, when he was three, with Williams around the time he won silver in the Australian team at the Athens Olympics.

When Bazzana was 10 or 11, Gary approached Williams and asked him to work with his son in the batting cage.

"He was super-eager, really attentive and right into it - and through his Dad he gave me a bottle of wine for my effort, which I wasn't expecting," Williams said.

"Something that also stood out to me, his hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills were very advanced for someone of that age.

"He was quite small for his age as well, so his ability to 'square the ball up' and hit the ball well was good - it was fun working with him, he was so attentive."

Williams stresses he is one small part of Bazzana's development, in particular noting all the volunteers at his home club, the Ku-Ring-Gai Stealers in Sydney's northern suburbs.

The Stealers will hold a function in their clubrooms early on Monday morning, when the draft selections will be confirmed in the US.

The Cleveland Guardians have the No.1 pick and they are interested in Bazzana. But if it isn't the first selection, Bazzana will most likely go in the top five.

While the left-handed second base clearly has raw talent, Williams says that is only part of it.

"We've had a bevy of really talented people who have gone over the US and been great, but the fact that he's really been able to capitalise on that, and just the consistency ... that doesn't come without work ethic, dedication and application," Williams said.

He notes there is a lineage in Australian baseball - major leaguers such as Craig Shipley and David Nilsson paved the way for Williams, and now Bazzana wants to do the same for the next generation of talent from this country.

"He could be a generational talent," Williams said.

"He's very keen to set an example for the next generation of baseballers coming through.

"I was fortunate enough, as a 16-year-old kid, to have people who paved the way for me - Craig Shipley, Graeme Lloyd, David Nilsson.

"It provides the sense of belief that you can do it."

If Bazzana came to Williams for advice about playing in the major league system, the Baseball Australia boss would have three points - focus on continual improvement, make sure he enjoys the ride and just keep being the person he already is.

"He can be washed up at 46, like me, and look back and say 'it was really good fun, I had a chance to be able to do some cool stuff, I gave it absolutely everything I had and I got the most out of the opportunities provided to me'," Williams said with a laugh.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store