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'A lot to learn': Prospects gear up for 2020 Draft

June 7, 2019

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Prep pitcher Miles Garrett has good opportunities in front of him, and the right-hander is sharpening his skills in an effort to make the best decision next June. Garrett is one of roughly 60 high school players to participate in Major League Baseball’s diversity-focused Breakthrough Series,

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Prep pitcher Miles Garrett has good opportunities in front of him, and the right-hander is sharpening his skills in an effort to make the best decision next June.

Garrett is one of roughly 60 high school players to participate in Major League Baseball’s diversity-focused Breakthrough Series, with the first event this weekend at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex, the former Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Top high school players representing 17 states and Puerto Rico attend the three-day showcase, with a staff of former MLB veterans serving as instructors. The participants all received special invitations from a variety of baseball organizations, including MLB and USA Baseball.

Garrett is a 2020 prospect eligible for next year’s Draft, and the Stone Mountain, Ga., native is one of approximately 30 players who have committed to some of the nation’s elite collegiate programs, including six playing in the NCAA’s 16-team super regionals this weekend.

With this year’s Draft concluding earlier this week, Garrett said, “There is a lot to learn,” and that his class is on the clock.

“Now it’s our class, and I want to take the right path and approach at this,” said Garrett, who has committed to Vanderbilt after helping Parkview High School to consecutive state championships the last two years.

“I want to train, get bigger and try to get drafted, but the plan is always to go to college and get the degree. I want to go to school, but the Draft is always a possibility. I have opportunities.”

On Friday, Garrett played on a team that featured a host of top talent and was managed by five-year MLB veteran second baseman Junior Spivey.

Garrett’s teammates included 2020 prospects John “Tre” Morgan (LSU), T.J. McCants (Ole Miss), Tyler Roche (St. John’s), Tervell Johnson (Georgia Tech) and Jeff Waters (Maryland).

Morgan rapped a double and hustled to third on an errant throw in his first at-bat, then later nearly beat out a routine grounder to second for an infield hit, saying he wanted to clean up his game and “edge out all the marks they could have against me, like hustle.”

“This [showcase] is for removing the small negatives. This is for the details, getting all the details right,” added Morgan, a first baseman/outfielder from New Orleans, who will have the option to play in Baton Rouge for the Tigers.

Spivey’s squad stayed on the field the longest during postgame speeches, and he kept advising 2022 prospect Termarr Johnson as the two walked all the way to the dining hall.

Spivey, a second baseman during a World Series-winning 2001 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, likes what he sees in fellow middle infielder McCants, another SEC commit who could play for the Rebels in Oxford.

“He’s a big guy with a lot of potential, really rangy. He just has a chance to be a really good player. I like him up the middle and the way he runs, moves, his athleticism up the middle. He brings a lot to the table,” Spivey said of the Pensacola, Fla., native.

Roche, a right-handed pitcher from the Bronx, was thrilled to be in Florida again playing on the grounds that developed Jackie Robinson.

“Every time I come here it’s a chance to get away from some situations back home. I live in the Bronx; it’s tough back there. I play travel ball back home, but it doesn’t compare to being here. It’s amazing here,” said Roche, who earlier fired a bullpen session to former MLB pitcher Pat Mahomes.

Roche and Class of 2019 shortstop Nasim Nunez became friends while at the JRTC last year, and the Miami Marlins selected the defensive standout No. 46 overall on Monday, exciting Roche for his turn next June.

“I call it having the power. The power to say, ‘No, I want to go to college’ or ‘Yes, I want the job.’ It just opens up different routes for you,” said Roche of being committed to St. John’s.

Thirty-two Breakthrough Series alumni were selected this week in the Draft and 25 more in 2018.

Mahomes, a sixth-round Draft pick in 1988 by the Minnesota Twins who signed out of high school, said the current Breakthrough Series campers were teammates in last year’s event with the ones who were chosen this week.

“Some of the same guys they sat in the room with [were taken]. It’s nice to get that phone call knowing that a professional baseball team wants you,” Mahomes said.