Scioscia excited by Breakthrough Series talent

Former manager instructs next generation at three-day showcase

June 21st, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- estimates that in his first season since retiring as Angels manager, his first summer off since he was 16 years old, he has watched one game’s worth of innings of his old team.

The former Angels manager and Dodgers catcher saw a lot more baseball than that on Friday, when Major League Baseball’s Breakthrough Series, a diversity-focused developmental camp and scouting showcase run alongside USA Baseball, kicked off its camp in Compton, Calif.

Located at Compton’s MLB Youth Academy and running Friday through Sunday, the Breakthrough Series is meant to offer instruction and exposure to players whose backgrounds don’t always allow for such opportunities. Along with several former Major League players and coaches, Scioscia provided instruction for 64 young talents who received special invitations based on recommendations from former Major Leaguers, USA Baseball, RBI programs, MLB Youth Academies and more.

“Going back where I was 45 years ago, it’s crazy to think -- although we never had showcases and opportunities like this -- to see their energy and see how much they want to absorb and how hard they’ve worked to get just an invitation to this event," said Scioscia. "It’s terrific.”

Among the coaches joining Scioscia were former Major League players Eric Davis, Tom “Flash” Gordon and Pat Mahomes. Attendees included some major talents with college commitments to USC, Oregon and Louisville.

“This event is probably the best one I’ve been to, because everything is provided by USA and you learn a lot,” Surprise, Ariz., native Brysen Hamilton said. “There’s a lot of big-time names here, a lot of big-time people. It’s a really great experience.”

In addition to three days' worth of drills, instruction and games, players will also receive a trip to the BET Experience music festival in downtown Los Angeles.

Currently in its 12th year, the Breakthrough Series has seen dozens of alumni reach the MLB Draft and major college programs. Just a few weeks ago, more than 30 past participants were selected in the 2019 MLB Draft, including second-round picks Nasim Nunez (46th overall to the Marlins) and Kyren Paris (55th overall to the Angels).

“The whole entire purpose of the program is to give kids in underprivileged places a place to come out and play, and also understand how the game is played and should be played,” said Gordon, who is in his sixth year of coaching at the event. “It’s a great program, we’ve done a real good job with trying to teach the kids to understand their abilities. When they go out there and give it their all, someone’s always watching.

“Since this has been in existence for me, me being a part of it and coaching, it’s been so, so great because the kids bring out that energy in all of us as well, even though we played for so long. You’ve got a lot of Major Leaguers with experience, but we’re actually still living that dream and they’re living that dream, so it coexists and helps one another.”