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Scouts get close look at RBI talent on Workout Day

MINNEAPOLIS -- If playing in one of youth baseball's premier events isn't cool enough, try to top getting a chance to impress a Major League scout.

That's exactly what the more than 200 boys participating in this year's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities World Series had the opportunity to do on Wednesday. All 16 qualifying junior and senior division teams took part in the annual MLB Scouting Bureau "Workout Day" at Neiman Sports Complex in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins Midwest area scout Mark Wilson was one of the scouts in attendance. Wilson said a solid performance at Workout Day alone could be enough for a player to receive attention from a big league organization, especially after watching multiple players impress at last year's event.

"It's not different than any other day where you're looking at players and you're looking at what tools they have," said Wilson, who is entering his 13th year with the Twins' organization. "Can they run? Can they throw? Hit? Field? You're looking for all the things that you always look for in a player."

Still, some leeway is given because of how young the players are. Wilson was primarily focused on senior division players, who are ages 16-18.

"At this age, all of them have a chance to improve," Wilson said. "They're all young right now. They're still not physically mature. So every one of them can be stronger -- OK, arm strength is going to improve a little bit. Running is going to improve a little bit. The bat speed and hitting with power -- all that is going to increase as they start to mature from 16 to 17, to 18, to 21, to 24.

"It's a pattern all the way through where they just become more mature."

Since none of the qualifying teams hailed from the areas Wilson is responsible for -- Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and all of Canada -- he knew little about the players before seeing them in person on Wednesday.

But that doesn't necessarily make his job more difficult.

"The players are players no matter where you're at," Wilson said. "You're just looking at ability and trying to see what stands out. Basically I just kind of hang back and watch and let the players do the work for me. If they start to stand out and showcase some abilities, then you start to draw more interest towards watching that player and bearing down on them a little more."