MLB and USA Baseball to offer free player development camps for high school players – Los Angeles Times
For years, the cost of participating in baseball showcases has been rising. Parents have been spending hundreds of dollars for their sons to be seen by college coaches or professional scouts.
Major League Baseball and USA Baseball announced on Wednesday the creation of the Prospect Development Pipeline, a program of 17 free events across the country for invited high school players ages 16 to 18.
“We’re tasked with growing our game and increasing participation,” said Sean Campbell, senior director for sport development with USA Baseball.
The events will be one-day workouts that provide players exposure to all 30 major-league clubs. Five are scheduled in 2017, starting in January in Atlanta. There are also events in Bradenton, Fla., Houston, Mesa, Ariz., and in Southern California on Feb. 4.
There will be 12 events after the high school season focusing on players from the senior classes of 2018 and 2019. Everything culminates with a 16-team national scout team tournament in Cary, N.C., in late September.
College coaches will be allowed to attend the workouts for free. At many showcases, college coaches have to pay for admission and pay for packages that include background on the players.
It remains to be seen how this new focus on increasing accessibility to players around the country might affect such organizations as Perfect Game, which ranks players and holds lots of high-cost showcases.
Russell Greene, father of top prospect Hunter Greene of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, said he doesn’t believe Perfect Game will be affected unless the dates of events conflict.
“This is something they probably should have been doing years ago,” Greene said of the new development program. “Any time a group of kids can be seen by scouts and it’s free, it’s awesome.”
Campbell said the new program is trying to break down barriers, make access easier for families without financial means and promote baseball around the country.
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