On June 8, 2013, Millersville baseball’s ace starting pitcher Tim Mayza’s life changed drastically. Coming off one of the most impressive campaigns in recent memory, Mayza was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB draft.
Mayza was the 355th player taken overall, the 192nd pitcher, and the first Marauder to be taken since Derek Kline in 2009. Kline never signed with the Tigers, who took him in the 35th round. Mayza, however, reached a deal within a day and was in Florida less than three days later, wasting no time getting started on his professional baseball career.
Heading into the draft, both Mayza and Millersville baseball head coach Jon Shehan were confident the southpaw would be taken. After posting a year in which he finished with an 11-3 record and a PSAC-leading 1.55 ERA, it became only a matter of when.
“There were projections throughout the year where people thought I would go but nobody ever knows for sure,” Mayza said. “The Phillies called me around the 11th saying they were going to take me with their next pick. The Blue Jays ended up drafting me that same round, but either way I am blessed to be able to have baseball as my job.”
Mayza was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays where he began his professional career. His first appearance came in the fourth inning on the Jays’ June 25th game against the Gulf Coast Pirates. He pitched two innings, striking out two, allowing one run and getting stuck with the loss.
After a rough outing four days later, Mayza rebounded with a lights-out performance against the Gulf Coast League Astros. Mayza showcased the same talent that won him All-PSAC East First team honors in his final collegiate year, throwing three hitless innings while striking out six.
“Some games I will be lights out and others I will struggle,” said Mayza. “I just need to put it all together and become more consistent with my outings. No matter what level you are at, the game is always the same and the only thing I think is different is consistency. Your performance needs to be consistent in order for you to move up the ranks.”
Late in the season Mayza was promoted to the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League, where he remained for the rest of the season.
During the offseason, Mayza continued to seek the improvements that he had been focusing on since he was drafted, namely consistency with his pitches.
“Tim is obviously gifted—he was blessed to be a left-hander with a projectable frame,” said coach Shehan. “God also provided him with arm strength. However, much of his velocity was earned through his outstanding workout regimen.”
Shehan praised Mayza’s worth ethic both on and off the field during his time as a student athlete, calling him “hands-down the hardest working pitcher in the program.”
Mayza made his 2014 debut with the Vancouver Canadiens of the single-A short season Northwest League. He was able to make an immediate impact, tossing three shutout innings to earn the win in his first appearance of the season. Though he was again marred by inconsistency, the hard throwing lefty seemed to hit a smooth stretch at the end of his second professional season, hurling five shutout innings in his last two appearances.
Coach Shehan remains in contact with his former ace on a regular basis to provide advice, exchange stories and, of course, critique. “I am his biggest critic and he accepts my criticism,” said Shehan.
“Tim and I have a great relationship … at times when he needs advice sometimes I do not always tell him what he wants to hear.” Mayza, who will be returning to Toronto for his third season playing professional baseball next spring, was more than accepting of his former coach’s criticisms, crediting him as a reason for his success.
“My dad, Ernie Quatrani (High School coach), Coach Shehan, Coach Supplee, Coach Preli—all these people have helped me along the way to help me succeed, and get to where I am today.”