EDI participants prep for bright baseball future
Many past Elite Development Invitational attendees now playing professionally, collegiately
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The Elite Development Invitational, based in Historic Dodgertown, may be in just its fourth year of operation, but it has already earned a reputation as one of the best youth camps in the nation.
Out of nearly 200 EDI alumni who graduated from high school in the past two years, over half are either playing at the collegiate level or professionally in the Minor Leagues.
To Massai Dorsey, a 17-year-old shortstop from Los Angeles, the dream is to play baseball at the highest possible level. With one year of EDI experience under his belt, after attending the event in 2017, Dorsey knew exactly what he needed to do when he arrived this week.
"Last year, I really knew what I had to work on as a player," Dorsey recalled, pointing to his defense and arm strength as some of his best attributes. "I took a lot of what the coaches taught me and what they told me that I needed to work on and I brought it here. Just trying to not only showcase myself but also learn a lot."
Dorsey explained that the principle catalyst for EDI's success -- and ability to churn out prospective professional ballplayers -- is the incredible group of former Major Leaguers that volunteer their time to provide their expertise and coach the program's participants. That's a whole different ballgame than what players get on Dorsey's Crespi Carmelite High School team.
"The coaches here have a lot more experience," Dorsey said. "They played at the highest level and where I want to go as a player. Back at home, I don't have too many big leaguers around me, so I'm just trying to soak it up and get as much out of it as I can."
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Tony Reagins, MLB's executive vice president of baseball & softball development, is in agreement with Dorsey, emphasizing the program's exceptional staff.
"This is a really diverse program and it's stacked with 30 former big league coaches that have a wealth of knowledge that I don't think you could find anywhere. That level of instruction in one room is the separator," Reagins said. "That's the thing that we think we can impart on these kids -- giving them things that they may not be able to find elsewhere, and hopefully those pieces just give them the advantage over the competition that they face back home."
Dorsey isn't the only EDI veteran that understands the significance of being selected for such a prestigious event.
Ed Howard, a 16-year-old shortstop from Lyndwood, Ill., attended EDI in 2015. Although he has already committed to the University of Oklahoma, he is fully cognizant that the coaches at his disposal are an incredible resource and can't be taken for granted.
"Being with these big leaguers, they teach you what it's like to play at a high level of baseball," Howard said. "They teach you the work ethic, what skillset you need and the mental part of the game, everything."
Howard and Dorsey are looking to join the group of EDI alumni that have been drafted, a group that is growing fast. Currently, the total stands at 20, including the likes of 2017 first-round pick Hunter Greene (2015 EDI) and 2018 second-round pick Osiris Johnson (2016-17 EDI).
However, if getting drafted isn't in the cards just yet, 85 EDI alumni are currently playing collegiately at baseball powerhouses like Vanderbilt, Duke, Alabama, Florida State and Kentucky.
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, one of many prestigious coaches advising the current invitees, extolled EDI's virtues when speaking to the group on Tuesday morning.
"This is the best camp that young people can go to anywhere in the country. It's not even close," Winfield said. "With the experience that these guys have, it's not about parents handing over a check for the weekend experience. These guys, the coaches, do it out of a love for the game, caring for the kids and really trying to mold and shape them in a positive way. That doesn't happen anywhere else in the country."