Showcase Preparation


By: David List-May 20, 2008

Scouts-PD08.JPGAs we sit a week away from the DP showcase, it is important that all participants ready themselves for what will be coming. There will be a multitude of scouts, both college and pro who will attend, and it is important that you are at the top of your game. Below is a list of things that will definitely help you prepare yourself for the best possible outcome. 

Know the Format: The biggest issue for a player coming to an event like this is how to control their nerves. One of the best ways to combat nerves is to know what is going to happen and knowing that you have prepared yourself. If you have been to our showcase before then you understand the sequence of events that will take place, but don’t stop reading this just yet. For the first-timers, here is what is going to happen:

60 Yard Dash: The first event will be 60 times in the outfield. This is a critical component of the showcase and you will need to run your best time. As the start time approaches, start stretching and running on the practice football field. DON’T WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO TELL YOU TO GET LOOSE. Jog around the football field, practice getting out of the gate and then stretch out your legs and upper body. Understand that you will be starting in a base-stealer’s stance, not a three or four-point stance. You really need to do this to get loose after the morning drive because the last thing anyone wants to see is you getting hurt at the showcase. Don’t think you will run your best if you are not loose or haven’t run a few before we start. This is the first thing the scouts see you do and you want to leave a good impression. The clock starts on your first movement and you need to run all the way through the line, don’t leap at the finish line. Another quick tip, run a straight line. It sounds crazy but we see it all the time, don’t turn 60 yards into 62 yards!

Outfielders: Outfielders will be throwing from deep rightfield and will make two throws  to third base and two to home plate. The ball will be flipped to you and scouts are looking for your pure arm strength first, then accuracy…cut it loose but try to keep it on a line! Outfielders will run first, hence giving you time to get a baseball and go and get loose on the practice fields.

Infielders: First basemen will report to first base. All shortstops and second basemen will report to a deep shortstop position. Third baseman will report to the area behind third base and off the line 10-15 feet. The middle infielders will start this off with two balls hit right at them, throwing to first and continue with one back-hand and one fore-hand ball, ending with one slow roller, five groundballs taken consecutively. The same will be true for the third base guys and the infield sequence will end with first baseman taking two balls deep and throwing to third, then two coming off the bag and throwing to second. There is no return throw for the 1B’s to handle.

Catchers: The catchers will make four throws to second base to record POP times. All catchers need to be in full gear. Remain in a squat and behind the dish, don’t cheat! Scouts are recording your time, grading your arm and noting your exchange, they will notice if you stand up or hover over the plate before the pitch is thrown.

Batting Practice: Depending on the numbers of guys at the showcase, each player will get 7 to 10 swings to hit for BP. Try to relax and show everyone what kind of hitter you are. If you have power, show it. But if you are a smaller guy, spray the ball around and show us that you can square up balls with consistency. Hit the ball hard! Quick tip, don’t take strikes because you want to time the BP pitcher. He is making over 1,500 throws, don’t burn one because you weren’t ready! Time him up long before you jump in the box.

showcase-bullpens.jpgPitchers: Following Batting Practice, pitchers will make their way to the mound. During BP, pitchers should be getting loose, there is no time allotted for extra warm-up pitches. You will expected to be ready as soon as you toe the rubber. Two pitchers will throw at a time, FIRST ONE; THEN THE OTHER. You will make between 8-10 pitches total, this should move very quickly, but there also must be enough time between the two pitches to get another reading on the gun. Show your top velocity and breaking pitches with late/sharp movement. Showcase what you have!

Games: Remember this is a showcase and it is all about YOU! There is a four hitter limit per inning and we turn you loose to do whatever you want to do. Throw what you want to throw, run when you want to run, swing as hard as you want to show us what you can do. There is no score, there is no winning or losing team. Take extra bases, steal every pitch! Bunt if that is part of your game. While your tools are being graded, you are also being observed as much for how you play the game more than how many hits you accumulate. To best assess you, give us all you have!

showcase-waiting.jpgLittle things: Don’t think for a second that evaluators don’t notice who keeps going to get foul balls, that guy that tracks every fly ball he can get to during BP or the player that keeps volunteering to run the bases. It’s easy to blend in, it takes effort to stand out! While there is plenty of downtime at a showcase, don’t get caught watching the paint dry for two days.

Be in Baseball Shape: Depending on how long ago you finished your season, and what you are doing this summer, will depend on where you are right now as far as "BASEBALL SHAPE". Continue to throw baseballs/ play catch with someone.You must be able to back up deep enough to loosen your arm well at least every other day. If you are tubing guy or cord guy, continue to use it to keep the rotator cuff in shape and decrease the chances for injury. If you are a pitcher, I would get one good bullpen per week around the 50-pitch mark. Obviously if you have thrown too much in your High School season, you should not throw 100% out of the bullpen for a few weeks.

Start Running everyday: Whether it is a mile run or fifteen sprints, you should be running each day. The distance will help recovery time for soreness in the arm, as good blood will remove the acids that build up and repair the micro-tears that occur during any workout. You should alternate days from distance to sprints and focus on what is most important to your position on the baseball field.

Hit a lot of baseball’s: There is no reason why a player would come to a showcase and not want to play at the next level. Along those lines, there is no reason why a player would come to a showcase and not have at least hit 100 balls per day off a tee or in a cage, in preparation for this event or just as a normal practice. You can do it by yourself and a tee is the most cost effective item that a hitter has to ensure success. Get a wood-broom stick and hit hard peas, rice or large marshmallows, whatever. Swing something, hit something! Most everyone can do this in your backyard with a parent’s assistance. So daily, you should be getting a ton of swings and you will strike baseball’s better for doing it. Lastly, if you have a chance to go to a cage and hit BP, do it. Make sure a person is throwing to you though- not a machine. Knowing you are prepared takes away a lot of the jitters you may otherwise encounter.

Depending on how determined you are to land a scholarship one day, will depend on whether you will even attempt this.  Food, Rest and Mental Practice.  

Food: It is important to eat things that will put you in the best position to perform well. Avoid greasy fast food or fried items the day before and the days of an event. It will cause you to feel tired after you eat it and may even send you running to the restroom. What you should eat is pasta the night before and again after day 1 of the showcase. You should also get eat fruits and vegetables. Make sure you eat quality food the morning before the showcase starts and make this a routine a few days ahead of the showcase to avoid any issues with milk or orange juice (remember we are running first thing).

Rest: Get on a schedule for at least two weeks prior to the showcase and stay on it. Bed time is bed time. Alarm clock set the same time each day. Your body likes to stay on a routine and will perform better if you do stay on it. The problem will be that most of you will just be getting out of school a week or two in advance of the showcase and you will start to stay up late and sleep in. Bad idea, save that for after the showcase is over.

Mental Practice: This is something that is overlooked by a bunch of high school players and it is really one of the easiest things in the world to do. We all daydream from time to time so use it to your advantage. See yourself at the plate looking right at the best pitcher you faced this year. Put him in slow motion, see the ball at his release point and watch it come into zone. Make line drive contact to the ball and watch it fly to the field of your choice. See his curveball, his change-up, etc. Right now I am doing the same thing and it really gets you excited to go and hit. Hence, one reason for the mental exercise is confidence. You just hit that tough pitcher you faced this year and you should be excited about it. I know some of you are sitting there right now going, "Wow, this is really corny". Just try it and see how you feel after you do it for a while.  Secondly, mental practice allows you to practice when you can’t be outside doing what you love to do. It will benefit those who do it and do it correctly. Pitchers can do the same thing, just do it from the mound and watch yourself pound the zone. Hit the spots you want to. It is that easy, but don’t think you should quit practicing physically because that would be a huge mistake. 

This is the best opportunity for you to shine in front of a bunch of scouts looking for great players. Prepare yourself, consider the things above and let you athleticism take over. Be able to walk away from the showcase saying, " I prepared myself the best I could, I left everything on the field the past two days, the scouts have seen what I can do and I have no regrets."