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Blue Jays' Jaden Rudd Turns Heads In World Baseball Classic

Recruited to play for Great Britain out of the Florida Complex League, Jaden Rudd hit a pivotal home run in a World Baseball Classic qualifier last September and then made an impression in the tournament itself.

The 20-year-old outfielder singled off Team USA starter Adam Wainwright and later in Pool C play ripped a go-ahead, two-run double in a 7-5 win against Colombia, a milestone moment for the nascent baseball nation.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Rudd is headed for Low-A Dunedin this season.

“That kid can absolutely play,” Great Britain manager Drew Spencer said. “My favorite part about Jaden Rudd, he's the kind of guy, like a true pro, who lets you know when he'd like you to have confidence in him.

"He said to me, just before that at-bat (against Colombia), ‘You know I can hit lefties, coach? You know I can?’ And I said, ‘I know, and you're going to get the opportunity to.’ So he took it. And I'm really proud of him.”

A lefthanded-hitting outfielder drafted in the seventh round in 2021 out of Mosley High in Lynn Haven, Fla., Rudd was born in Great Britain while his father Jason, an F-15 fighter pilot, was stationed there.

British coach Brad Marcelino recruited him for the Regensburg qualifying tournament, where Rudd hit a game-tying homer in the ninth before an extra-inning rally beat Spain and clinched a spot in the WBC.

“This was by far the most important baseball I've ever played,” Rudd said of facing the stacked United States team. “It's the biggest crowd I've played in front of and the biggest stage. So it was a learning experience and it was the most fun three hours of my life.”

What did he learn?

“I learned how to handle some nerves,” he said. “The game was at 7 o'clock, there's a long build-up to it, so I learned how to handle that, learned how to handle the noise, the cameras, this, that and the other.”


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