ID Tour out to mentor, find future stars

April 12th, 2022

Major League Baseball continued its search for young baseball talent by hosting the first two ID Tour events last weekend, as part of a 12-city swing through the United States.

The goal is to identify talent, particularly among Black and Latino athletes in the eighth and ninth grades, and invite them to future development programs. Those events include the Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series and Hank Aaron Invitational, some of which will be held at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla.

The tour started in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday and went to Pittsburg, Calif., the following day, in search of more talent.

The next tour stop will be the Rangers’ MLB Youth Academy on April 23. The following day, it’s off to Houston, where kids display their talent at the Astros MLB Youth Academy. The rest of the tour will then move to Pearl, Miss., Charlotte, N.C., and The Bronx, N.Y.

Former Major League manager Jerry Manuel, a baseball development consultant for MLB, has a leadership role throughout the ID Tour.

“It’s a tour to identify players who might possibly get the opportunity to be seen,” Manuel said. “It’s a program that MLB puts on for the under-resourced, underserved, and then gives them an opportunity to come out and put some metrics to their talent.”

Diamond Kinetics, a trusted youth development platform for MLB, will support scouting efforts using technology rooted in player evaluation and development analytics services. One highlight of the technology is a sensor that sticks to the bottom of the bat and reads bat speed and exit velocity.

Outfielder/right-handed pitcher Alex Thompson has taken advantage of being part of the ID Tour, gaining insight into his baseball talent. He said the tour boosted his confidence and helped him learn to stay through the ball when he’s in the batter’s box.

“I can go to all of these events and I can get noticed. People can see how much I want to be something,” Thompson said. “You can really feel how much [Manuel] wants us to succeed, how much he really cares about us.”

Third baseman/catcher Jack Cullison, from Woodland, Calif., said he doesn't want the success of the tour to get to his head.

“It’s fun to think about what could happen just by playing baseball and having fun,” he said.

Jaxon Byrd, an MLB development participant, expressed gratitude that kids are learning from coaches who played or managed in the Major Leagues. Manuel is one such person who did both -- he played professional baseball for 14 years and managed in the big leagues for nine.

“You are getting one-on-one instruction with guys that have played MLB; they coached MLB. So you know you are getting the top-of-the-line instructions,” Byrd said.