Scouts return, top talent shines!
By: Austin Alexander - January 28, 2019
Sunday was another banner day for high school baseball, prep players, pro scouts and Diamond Prospects! River Bluff High School played host to our most enjoyable event of the year, the 13th Annual DP Pro Day! After two weeks of cold temps across the state, every single component of a successful showcase collided just in time...Heaven shined on us topping out at 56 degrees, 25 (out of 30) Major League clubs were represented, a top-flight facility and talent on the roster commanded attention too... plus we serviced each player in a tidy 2 hours and 49 minutes. It was a great day in every respect!
DP's Pro Day has a very decorated list of players over its twelve year history, 167 performers from this event have been drafted, many of which are still presently playing professional baseball, 17 Big Leaguer's once wore this same jersey. There is a good chance that Sunday's field will add to that total.
With just under 100 scouts and coaches huddled around a lane, we fired off the 60's at 10:00 AM and 12 players shot through the finish line under 7.0 seconds, four guys chimed in at exactly 6.88: Reece Holbrook (Soph, Hammond), Landon Shaw (left, Sr, Riverside), Connor Kirkley (Sr, McBee) and Ricky Williams (Jr, River Bluff).
Another aspect we added this year is putting the radar gun on defensive player's throws. The top outfield bolt came from Brody Hopkins (Jr, Summerville) at 88 MPH, the number one arm during the infield portion was Jalen Vasquez (Jr, Ft. Dorchester) at 89 MPH trailed closely by Tyler Causey (right, Sr, Nation Ford), he topped out at 88 from SS and 3B.
The catchers were a group that did not disappoint as five of them registering a time under 2.00 seconds.Senior Tanner Garrison (left, Cardinal Newman) won their popping contest shooting a 1.88, followed by junior Tomas Frick (JL Mann) at 1.89...
Then time for BP! High school hitters wielding wood is not always the most endearing of acts to witness, not so at Pro Day!
Fortunately this years weather permitted us to hit on the field as Clemson-bound southpaws Geoffery Gilbert (right, Bishop England) and Caden Grice (Riverside) got us off to a good start, both lifted a handful of balls high off the 'ginormous' football press box wall in rightfield, Gilbert actually cleared it! A bit of guys stepped in and squared up balls at a high rate; Tyler Causey, Alberto Osuna (left, Sr, Mauldin), John Lanier (Sr, Blythewood), Tomas Frick and Aaron Thomas (Jr, Boiling Springs) to name a few. DP Disclaimer: The names in this category could be far longer. See Prospect info and video when available.
The bullpens are what pull in quite a few cross-checkers, and even a couple of scouting directors in some years. With a modest list of invited arms in 2019, we went one at a time on the live mound and a steady stream of upper-80's fastball's blew in, per usual. Like other categories on this day, a trio of bolts created a tie for as the velocity king (an unofficial award). Conway's Will Smith (left) has been a resident on our Club 90 before, but at 91 MPH he was joined this Pro Day by Geoffery Gilbert and Nick Clayton (York).
Smith and Gilbert ran away with the best overall 'stuff' this year, never throwing a fastball under 90 and filling up the zone with multiple pitches...In all on Sunday, 15 different guys eclipsed the 88 MPH barrier, 6 more hit 87. Six total moundsmen touched 90 or better...not too shabby for January in cool temps!
The usual prospects showed up and served as the cornerstone to a successful event, but the new names to pro scouts pushed Pro Day into what we'd consider as very productive day for high school baseball in South Carolina, again!
AA Appreciates... At so many of our showcases, I am often told by coaches/scouts and some parents how well-run, well-organized, etc our events are, and typically they praise me personally - and that is much-appreciated. BUT, what you see at any DP event are the fruits of labor from so many awesome people that have their fingerprints on anything we do.
As with any xyz, quality humans are imperative to any successful operation, we are no different. Selfishly I do believe our execution of a gameplan is a well-oiled machine, but only because of the folks there and behind the scenes too! So again, I want to publicly acknowledge my sincere appreciation of the legit guys and gals that I have been blessed enough to insulate myself with. Well-done DP family, together we are leaving our stamp on the futures of young men and a great sport!
DP Fist Bump: A special thanks is in order to Mark Bonnette, his coaching staff and River Bluff High School once again. Even in January, their 'Division I' facility and accommodation to us remains beyond first class, which is greatly appreciated by all in attendance! Coach Bonnette, we really appreciate the ways you have allowed us to advance baseball in our state!