Bradenton, FL - This past weekend we hosted the first PW All-State Showcase at the IMG Academy in Bradenton. From my perspective, I couldn't of been more pleased with the way the event ran.
With nearly 80 players in attendance, this event would've never happened without the committment from the parents and players as well as what I feel is the best staff in travel baseball working for PW.
All in all I believe there were six MLB organizations and several colleges at the event. The ratio of professional scouts/college coaches to players was as good as it gets.
Our goal for every showcase we run is not just to get players the exposure, but to help them get better as players and young men. It was never more evident than this past weekend.
It was one of if not the most interactive showcases I've been apart of since I've been with PW. Players need to understand, they don't get that type of quality instruction and evaluation at the majority of showcases out there. The professional scouts were extremely hands on with the players, stopping games to help players with mechanical issues, talking to players every inning of every game in the dugouts on what they were doing right and wrong, seeking out parents to give their honest professional opinion about their son's abilities. It was both interesting and exciting to see the parents interact with the professional scouts.
Back when I was an agent, I attended just about every showcase that was out there with players I was advising. Some were smaller and some were on a national stage but they were all the same. Get your hat and shirt, run a 60, take BP/IO and go home usually with nobody coaching the players as to what they were doing right and wrong. It had and has become the standard for showcase baseball. We're trying to break some of the bad habits showcases have provided players over the past 20 years.
Today's players have gotten conditioned to run a 60, take BP/IO and go home feeling like they've done something. The All-State Showcase was set up to not only get data on the players raw tools, but to see if they're tools translated into games. And during the games being able to identify where the players weaknesses were and help them turn their weaknesses into strengths.
What good is a showcase if you don't learn anything as a player? If there are 1,000 schools and professional scouts watching a player go through a showcase workout and the player never receives immediate feedback as to what they're doing right and wrong, how will the player know what they need to do to get better? Does that player have any idea what the baseball world really thinks about his abilities? After all, almost every showcase out there evaluates a player and then the player waits to read online a few sentences as to what they did right or wrong.
Why wait for feedback when the player can know immediately what a scout is thinking? The kid may have had the best showcase of his life in his mind and not received one college letter or any feedback as to why they never received a letter. That player's confidence and maybe even his love for the game may be lost forever especially at such an impressionable age.
Don't get me wrong, showcases are still about exposure for players but as a player or parent don't you want your son to be seen and know what the scouts are thinking about your son's abilities? Why keep all the information hidden in the scouts mind when they can share their knowledge with players on the spot.
I've seen it with my own eyes plenty of times when players will showcase well and then can't produce in games and it hurts their confidence because they don't know why they are having trouble producing.
In baseball, a player should want any and all feedback on what they are doing wrong more than what they are doing right. And for a high school kid to get that information from professional scouts with nearly 30 years of experience is priceless.
We feel we've made our showcases more personal for players and parents. The players no longer feel they are on an assembly line and at the end of the event stamped, "good" or "not good" and never understand why.