Scouting players for the next Draft is always a difficult task, as evaluators cross the country to get enough looks to develop some degree of certainty in selecting players, or at least strong follow lists for the next spring.
That has become nearly impossible in the midst of the pandemic. Even though several high school showcase events were held, they were more limited in scope, with players and scouts unable to travel in the same quantities they would during a normal summer. And there were virtually no opportunities to see any junior college or four-year college players over the summer.
Major League teams expressed a desire to have additional events this fall to make up for those lost opportunities. There will be five over the next few weeks for amateur players across the country.
“Players who will be eligible for the next year’s Draft faced difficult circumstances this year, with many amateur showcases and leagues cancelled due to the pandemic,” said Morgan Sword, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for league economics and operations. “We thought it was important to step in and provide those players with opportunities to be evaluated by our Clubs in a safe and responsible way.”
The events will be run by area scouts and regional cross-checkers, much in the way that the East Coast Professional Showcase is operated. Major League Baseball has teamed up with Driveline Baseball to help with the execution of the events and the data collection.
“We are grateful to scouts throughout the industry for their leadership in planning and running these events,” Sword said.
Each event will be 1-2 days with a combination of workouts, assessments and games. Here’s the schedule for the first round of events, with the goal to hold more events and cover more parts of the country in the future.
DATE: LOCATION (REGION)
10/17: San Bernardino (California)
10/24–10/25: Clearwater (Florida)
10/24 – 10/25: Rome, Ga. (Southeast)
10/30–10/31: Round Rock (Texas)
10/31–11/01: Tacoma, Wash. (Northwest)
In addition to all 30 teams being able to scout these players in action, the clubs will be given access to the video and data collected with Driveline’s help. All pitchers will have a TrackMan/Rapsodo paired dataset from in-game action as well as Force Plate data from a series of lower-body jumps. Hitters will have a Blast Motion, K-Vest and Rapsodo paired dataset from cage work and sprint data (30-yard splits). All players will be filmed with multi-angle video from games as well as high-speed video and MLB video tech captured pregame.
“Hopefully we are creating a model here that can increase access to Major League Clubs for players all around the country,” Sword said.