The Canadian Way: Marcus Knecht
Marcus Knecht's baseball journey started just like many Canadian baseball players did at the age of six years old playing for the North York Baseball Association and the North York Blues.
“Where I played, the ballpark was close to my house so my Dad was free to throw balls to me and help me out" said Knecht in a 2012 interview with the Toronto Observer.
At the age of fifteen and looking to hone his skills, Marcus moved on to the Ontario Blue Jays and the dream of getting to college baseball began.
The Toronto Maple Leafs is not Knechts first stop in the IBL, back in his early career, Marcus suited up for the Oshawa Dodgers, hitting .356 in thirty-five games played.
Through Marcus' success with the Blue Jays, he was selected as a member of the Canadian National Junior Team where be played in the World Junior Championships in 2008 and named tournament all-star. Also in 2008, Marcus was drafted in the 23rd round by the Milwaukee Brewers, wanting to get better, Marcus declined the draft by the Brewers and committed to Oklahoma State University before transferring to Connors State College. The results were off-the-charts as Knecht hit .453 with 23 homers, 20 steals and a .540 on-base percentage. He was selected in the third round of the 2010 Amateur First-Year Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays after being followed by ex-Jays’ scouting director and assistant General Manager Andrew Tinnish.
Accepting a $250,000 signing bonus, Knecht signed on-the-spot with Toronto and went straight to work in launching his pro career with Short-Season Single-A affiliate Auburn Doubledays. After being voted the Canadian Baseball Network Player of the Year in 2010, the six-foot-one outfielder was promoted in 2011 to Single-A Lansing Lugnuts, where he posted a .273 average with a team-leading 16 home runs and 86 RBI for the Lugnuts. Knecht’s offensive power was noticed early on, and he was named a 2011 Midwest League Eastern Division All-Star. After impressing Jays skipper John Farrell with his powerful bat and quick feet on the field during 2012 Blue Jays Spring Training, Knecht was assigned to Single-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays.
Marcus spent the next three seasons in Dunedin before getting called up the being released and picked up by the Minnesota Twins and suiting up for their double-A affiliate the Chattanooga Lookouts before ending his season with the Fort Myers Miracle.
Marcus would return home to Canada following the 2015 season and suit up for two seasons with the Quebec Capitales of the CAN-AM League.
A member of the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2018, Marcus has been a big boost to the Leafs lineup. Named as a 2019 IBL first-team all-star in the outfield, the Leafs have enjoyed the former Blue Jays farmhands experience.
The Intercounty Baseball League (IBL), in its 102nd year of operation, is the best baseball league in Canada, boasting ex-major league professional and elite NCAA college baseball players. The IBL is the fifth-longest continually operated baseball league in the world and serves as a valuable training ground for coaches, umpires, and front office staff. More than 40 IBL players have advanced to Major League Baseball or returned to the IBL following their MLB careers. The league is comprised of teams from Barrie, Brantford, Kitchener, London, Toronto, Guelph, Welland, and Hamilton. For more information, visit www.theibl.ca.