Earlier this week, Carson Lumley, the London Badgers’ fireballer, earned an invitation to the Junior Canadian National Team for the upcoming spring trip. Despite going through Tommy John surgery last year, the right-handed pitcher’s ability could not be ignored.
For up-and coming Canadian talent, this is the pinnacle of player development. Being part of the Canadian Junior National Team (CJNT) grants access to coaches that have been through it all, as well as other elite players from across the country to spitball off of and discuss what makes them successful. In past years, the CJNT played exhibition games versus the Toronto Blue Jays where they all earned valuable insight into the skill it takes to make it in professional baseball.
Lumley was at the doctor’s office for a checkup when his got the call saying he would be travelling with the club this spring. “After getting that call I was so excited and fired up,” Lumley described. “Being a part of the CJNT is a goal I’ve had since I’ve been 13 years old, so receiving the invitation meant the world too me.”
Last year, the Bowling Green commit underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in his elbow. The operation has a full recovery time of over a year and has become more common among pitchers in the last few decades. Despite the setback, Lumley continues to go through his rehab with the same dedication that allowed him to be one of the best pitchers in his class.
As most people who have undergone a serious injury, the mental process was the most difficult aspect of the recovery. “During the process I never knew what to expect and if I’d be able to get back to where I was before my injury,” Lumley said. “It was definitely a lot harder before I started throwing again because I had to wait around wondering whether or not my arm was going to be the same when I started throwing again.”
The CJNT does not waste time when the group is together, as Lumley said it’s “baseball all day, everyday.” Coming off of injury, Lumley needs to make sure not to overdo it, but he no amateur when it comes to training. “The workload is definitely going to be larger, however, I’ve been training all the time pretty much everyday for the last 4 years so I would say it’s a larger workout load but it’s something I am already used to and will be able to adapt too quickly.”
When asked who was his biggest influence to his baseball success, Carson Lumley immediately said his father and coach, Mike Lumley. Mike Lumley was a former minor league pitcher in the Detroit Tigers organization and has been at the helm of the London Badgers since 2000. “Without my dad coaching me and helping me become a better ball player, I wouldn’t be half the player I am today,” the younger Lumley said. “My dad’s taught me everything I know and has prepared me for so many big moments in my baseball career. Whether it’s the physical or mental side of baseball, I’ve learned it all from my dad and he’s definitely the biggest Influence I’ve had in this sport.”
Lumley has a three-pitch mix with a fastball, curveball, and changeup. His fastball has been his standout pitch with its velocity reaching 94 MPH — and he is only 17 years old. “The 3 pitch mix is looking good right now,” Lumley said. “I still have to ease into the curveball because of my surgery, however, it will for sure be where I want it to be before going on the CJNT trip.”
For this upcoming summer, Lumley is expected to continue playing for the 18U London Badgers, but if the invitation is open for more trips with the National Team, he will jump at the opportunity. “I will be with the Badgers for the majority of the summer. If anything, I’d only miss a couple weekends.”
Growing up, earning a spot on the CJNT seems like a pipe dream. It takes a massive amount of work ethic to get to this stage, and it is rewarded with expertise and exposure that few could imagine. The Badgers organization and the PBLO will be watching closely these next few years to see the journey of this electrifying pitcher out of London, ON. “I am super excited to train with the team Canada coaches and players, and I am thrilled to see what I can learn and where this experience can take my game.”