TRAVERSE CITY — A lot of bad things have happened during the coronrvirus pandemic.
Sports were cancelled all together this spring, leaving many kids in the area without stats or film to send to college coaches in hopes to be recruited.
Traverse City West head baseball coach Matt Bocian pulled some strings to change that Wednesday.
TC West hosted a small baseball scouting showcase for Titans from grades 9-12 Wednesday, inviting several Traverse City Central players to attend as well. About 35 players total attended as Grand Rapids Community College and Aquinas sent scouts to watch from afar.
“With no season statistics on the kids this is the only way get some metrics on them,” TC Central head coach Pat McDonald said. “It’s one thing for us to say to a college coach that a kid has speed but to put a number with that for a 60-yard dash give it a little more respect.”
Players participated in socially distanced drills including the 60-yard dash, exit velocity test, arm strength measurements for outfielders and pitchers were gunned on their fastball and off-speed pitches.
All the data from the showcase was recorded and is slated to be sent out to several more colleges across the state including Davenport, Muskegon CC and Calvin University.
That is great for players like TC West senior Luke Roberts, who has already been in talks with Calvin and missed and entire season worth of play to show off his skills. Roberts said that the showcase felt like any other one he had been to, except the boost from being on his home field.
The opportunity for younger players, especially freshmen, was enormous as they could get the feel for a college showcase and get a grasp on their own numbers very early in their careers.
“I never did something like that as early as they did, it gives them a good idea of what they need to work on and how things are gonna be moving forward to the next level,” Roberts said. “I think they got a really nice head start.”
McDonald and Bocian agreed that the exposure to the showcase environment will pay dividends for those underclassmen who are serious about playing college baseball — taking the first-time jitters out of the equation.
The Titans hosted the showcase free of charge to the athletes which also helps parents save hundreds of dollars that would be required at another event. This was the first showcase of its kind in TC and the first to bring both rivals together to show off their skills.
“I am hoping to turn this into an annual thing,” Bocian said. “In the future we hope to open it up to other people but with the world we live in right now I had to keep it to only TCAPS people on TCAPS property.”
Scouts were unable to talk to players due to NCAA recruiting restrictions but many got their name noticed by college coaches for the first time Wednesday. The metrics and numbers the underclassmen recorded at the showcase will also be used as benchmarks for the rest of their high school careers according to McDonald.
“It represented the Traverse City baseball community quite well I know that the coaches that showed up were happy that they did,” Bocian said.