Moving on from GPA to ERA
HARVARD’S HAVILAND: Late-round find trained with Jeter, Howard
Vancouver Canadians hurler Shawn Haviland sometimes runs with the rich and famous. He’ll lift weights and stretch with them, too. During his three-week exam break at Harvard last winter, Haviland went to Florida to work out. He eventually cajoled renowned personal trainer Jason Riley into adding him to a group.
Haviland’s bench press buddies there? Bigtime big leaguers like Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Carlos Quentin and Ryan Zimmerman.
“My dad and I finagled my way in there, and it was awesome,” says Haviland, 22, a righthander from Farmington, Conn. “I had breakfast, lunch and dinner with them, and hung out with them some in between [workouts]. They were all awesome guys.
“The coolest part is that Jeter came up to me on the first day and said, ‘Hi, my name is Derek.’ I had to laugh, because he’s been my favourite player since I was 10 years old.”
Haviland had taken part in the Cape Cod League, a summer circuit for the best university players.
He had helped Harvard qualify for the College World Series in 2005.
These workouts were a whole new stratosphere, though.
Jeter’s one of the best shortstops of this generation, and, going into Wednesday, Howard and Quentin topped the National and American Leagues in home runs.
“That was the best part of it — those guys were going real hard every single day,” says Haviland, who checks in at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds.
“You realized that they didn’t just get there on talent, but they worked hard, too. To see Derek Jeter running until he almost throws up is something.
“To see them go as hard as they did six days a week shows the dedication and how much they love the game.”
Haviland is obviously smitten with diamond life himself. His degree in government from Harvard could make him more cash than he’s pulling in after going in the 33rd round of this year’s major league draft to the Oakland Athletics, the C’s parent club.
He was an honourable mention All-Ivy allstar after putting up a 7-1 record and a 3.10 earned run average in 14 games in 2005. In part because of injuries, his numbers tailed off his final three seasons, including a 2-6 record with a 5.46 ERA in 13 games this year.
Oakland, whose assistant general manager, David Forst, is a Harvard grad, wasn’t deterred. And, early on at least, it looks like they have a find. Haviland has used a fastball in the 90mile-per-hour range with a curveball and a splitter to go 1-1, with a 1.78 ERA, through 11 appearances.
Keep in mind that Oakland’s final pick was in the 50th round and, right now at least, Haviland is the latest player selected this year they signed to a contract.
“There’s maybe more pressure, because you have to perform right away since they haven’t invested all this money into you,” says Haviland, whose signing bonus has never been announced. “On the other hand, there’smaybelesspressurebecauseyou’renot going to get thrown out there over your head, like they might if they had all this money committed to you.”
Vancouver Canadians pitcher Shawn Haviland shows the stuff that’s baffled Northwest League hitters this season. He’s sporting a minuscule 1.78 earned run average in 11 appearances.