In his fourth year at the Breakthrough Series, Dillon Head understands the significance of participating in the event.
“Don’t take this moment for granted,” Head said. “Come here, get your work in and get better. You’re just wasting everybody’s time if you come here and don’t get better. Really take after what the coaches say, listen to what the coaches say and write down in your notebook. Just take all the information, soak it in and be a sponge.”
The Breakthrough Series, which is being held at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla., is an MLB developmental program that gives highly ranked Draft prospects a chance to be scouted by professional and college scouts. The Breakthrough Series has former MLB players such as Rajai Davis and Gregor Blanco giving advice to the kids, as well as Jerry Manuel, who used to manage the Mets, and Mike Scioscia, who won a World Series as a player (1988 Dodgers) and as a manager (2002 Angels).
Part of the allure that has led Head to come back on four separate occasions is the opportunity to improve and play with some of the top prospects in the country.
“Every time I come here, I just get better,” Head said. “All of the guys here are top in the country and all the coaches here are great. Just talking to them, the conversations, it makes me better as a player.”
Head plays outfield for Homewood Flossmoor High School in Illinois, and he is committed to the University of Michigan. He is among a group of players from the class of 2023 who are ranked by Perfect Game among the Top 100 prospects. Others include Antonio Anderson, Nazzan Zanetello, and Derrick Mitchell.
Anderson, who plays shortstop and pitches, is the top-ranked participant at the Breakthrough Series. He plays at North Atlanta High School and has committed to Georgia Tech University.
For Anderson, who is in his first year at the Breakthrough Series, the environment and coaching are what he’s most excited about.
“I heard a lot of good things about Breakthrough,” Anderson said. “It says it’s like a family here. Coaches ... you can’t get this anywhere else in the country and I just wanted to come and check it out. So far, it’s a blessing to be here.”
Mitchell, who plays for John Paul II High School in Plano, Tex., is ranked No. 68 in the country. Mitchell plays the outfield and has committed to LSU.
Mitchell is in his second year at the Breakthrough Series and has been participating in MLB camps for five years. With top players from around the country playing in the Breakthrough Series, Mitchell feels like it’ll help prepare him for the next level.
“They’ve always brought out the best of the best,” Mitchell said. “Seeing the pitching and then the players, how they play, it helps me to be myself and play how I want to play my game.”
Zanetello, who is in his first year at the Breakthrough Series, is the 35th ranked prospect and plays for Christian Brothers College High School in Missouri. He has yet to decide where he plans to attend college.
Among the lessons he has learned thus far, running the bases is the one thing that’s stood out to Zanetello, specifically noting Scioscia’s impact on the game in that aspect.
“I want to be a part of Breakthrough Series because as a young African-American man who plays baseball, this is where you want to be,” Zanetello said. “It paved the way for a lot of young athletes like the Cam Colliers and Termarr Johnsons and now look where they are.”