Prep Baseball Report

Bailey Points To Playing In The MAC As Big Selling Point With EMU

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Canada Senior Writer

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Bailey Points To Playing In The MAC As Big Selling Point With EMU

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Jayden Bailey LHP / Collingwood Collegiate, ON / 2024

COLLINGWOOD, Ontario - After narrowing down his college choices to two schools, Jayden Bailey has decided Eastern Michigan is right for him.

“I went on a visit to Canisius the day before Eastern,” Bailey explained. “It’s a good school with a really good team. The biggest thing for me is Eastern is in a better conference and that I can see Eastern may be a better fit for me in the long run.”

A pair of PBR  events helped connect the fourth-rated 2024 left-handed pitcher in Ontario and the coaches from the Mid-American Conference university in Ypsilanti.

“They said they saw me All-Star weekend of the CPBL,” Bailey related. “I pitched okay there and then they saw me at the New York Showcase with PBR. That helped me out a lot in getting my name out there. I just went out and did my best. I threw three innings with seven Ks and two hits. A lot of schools reached out after that, quite a few JUCOs and D-IIs and two D-I schools, Eastern Michigan and Canisius.”

Visits eventually took place for the Collingwood High School senior.

“They said to come on a visit,” Bailey said of EMU. “That’s when they gave an official offer. I had others to consider, but when comparing them I kept coming back to Eastern is in a good conference. They’re in the middle of it now, but with the new coaches I can see four years down the line, I’m envisioning them at the top of the conference.”

It was only recently that playing at the next level became a strong possibility for the 6-2 185-pound southpaw.

“I always wanted to play college baseball,” Bailey noted. “In grade eight or nine I knew I could play and that’s what I wanted to do. But it wasn’t realistic until a few months ago. Nobody was genuinely interested. But once a few reached out, that’s when I really thought it was something I could do.

“Until this year I never went to showcases, just to tournaments with my team,” Bailey added. “But this year I wanted to do as much as I could. I went to a PBR in April with my team for exposure and some showcases after that.”

That is when Eastern saw the potential in the 27th-ranked 2024 in Ontario.

“The biggest thing they saw was there is a lot of me to be unlocked,” Bailey explained. “The stuff I have now is good, and they said I had the tools, but with training and working on mechanical problems I can be a whole lot better.”

Improvement has been a big part in getting to this point according to the 17-year-old.

“The most important thing for me is being consistent,” Bailey related. “Last year velo and accuracy pitching-wise I was not consistent. I took the offseason and worked on accuracy and being consistent. My mindset was I don’t want one, two or three innings to define my skill set. That’s what I’ve been training for.”

Bailey pointed to being part of the Titans Baseball program with coach Dennis Bailey (no relation) as a major benefit.

“I never knew much about the recruiting process, but coach Bailey taught me what I needed to know by going to all of these showcases and about applying to international schools. Playing with the Toronto Blue Jays for two years also helped get my name out there.”

Now Bailey is a commit to the university in the state of Michigan, 61/2 hours from home.

“It felt so amazing to commit there, it didn’t feel real,” Bailey reflected. “I saw teammates commit a year ago and I’m thinking that could be me one day. The whole process was something I’ve wanted for a long time and to have finally done it releases some stress. I’ve been dreaming of this for a long time, it’s so unreal for me.”

A combination of exercise science and physiology will be majors for Bailey, a 3.9 student confident about what the future holds at Eastern Michigan.

“In talking to the coaches, they don’t have many lefties,” Bailey said. “I throw from a low arm slot and people have a hard time hitting it. I have pretty good velo with plans of increasing that. Once I increase it and gain accuracy, I think I’ll be unstoppable.”

There is more that Bailey anticipates at EMU.

“The whole environment will be so different,” Bailey concluded. “I’ll be in dorms with four or five teammates that will be friends from the start. We’ll be building bonds and playing baseball, that’s so cool. Playing baseball and having a good time will be amazing.”

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