DENVER -- The Rockies are taking player development down to the high school level with their Colorado Rockies Scout Teams -- a program that has produced 30 players who have earned scholarships over the three seasons it has been in existence.
The team is sponsored by Comfort Dental, trains in Wheat Ridge, Colo., at the Diamond Club Training Facility and is managed and coached by members of the Rockies' scouting staff and Diamond Club Baseball coaches.
"We have a fall scout season, from late August through this past weekend," said Marc Gustafson, the Rockies' senior director of scouting operations and the team's key figure behind the Scout Teams. "We've got juniors who are going to be seniors and sophomores who are going to be juniors, and we added a junior fall Scout Team because we had some young freshmen and sophomores, because there was so much interest and so much success. We're looking for quality talent on the field, but to go along with that, we want character and work ethic."
Players from the team are from all around the state of Colorado. The teams play in showcase events at the team's Spring Training facility, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., Peoria, Ariz., Las Vegas, Nev., and Salt Lake City, Utah; as well as in Colorado in Denver and Greeley. Opponents are similar teams in the local areas of the tournaments and travel teams that also appear in the tournaments.
Players in the program are not prohibited from playing other fall sports for their high schools. The goals are development and exposure to colleges.
"It's neat when you look at the kids that come out of the program," Gustafson said. "It's realistic to set your sights on signing with colleges, whether it's Division I or a junior college or a Division II-type of opportunity. The key is, it's an education. Those have been my proudest moments, to see a kid get an offer to play, and get an education in the process. It's about helping the community."
Team members can earn scholarships to offset the cost of participation. The awards are based on character, academic achievement, leadership and community service.
For information on the program, contact Rockies Scout Teams head coach Wayne Doland at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-ROCKIES.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.