Prep Baseball Report

A Look Back at the 2013 KC Royals Senior Scout Team

By Rob Fleeup
Prep Baseball Report - Kansas City Area Scouting Director

Every fall for the last six years our hometown Major League team the Kansas City Royals and their scouting department have sponsored a program for the top high school baseball players in the area called the Elite Scout Team.  In an attempt to widen the net to include more players, this past fall the Royals added the Senior Scout Team.  I had the good fortune to work with this team throughout the fall.

It was the hope that including more players, many of them younger, in the program would provide them a forum to complete and develop in a highly challenging environment among the other top players in their age group.  The program emphasized skill and game development as well as camaraderie in order to enhance each player’s baseball potential. 

The Royals use both scout teams to not only evaluate talent, but to provide an opportunity for player development. The mid-week workouts and scrimmages lasted ten weeks throughout the fall building relationships among the participants, coaching staff and the Royals scouting department.

The scout teams were a gathering of the “who’s who” in high school baseball from around the KC metro area.  As in the past, Prep Baseball Report covered the games and players throughout their fall season.  Unlike other MLB organizations that sponsor scout teams that are travel–focused and participate in weekend tournaments, these teams function on a local, but no less competitive basis.  The format also allows the participants to compete on the weekends with their academy teams – maximizing their fall baseball development.

The scout team season began in August with open tryouts. The players were evaluated on the mound, a timed 60-yard dash, infield/outfield drills and in batting practice.  Players were then contacted and invited to participate and the two teams were created.

Matt Price, the Royals Area Scouting Supervisor, oversaw the Elite Team and I coached the Senior Team.  Price is a firm believer in the scout team concept, “It is an opportunity for the Royals to evaluate the top kids in the area on the field and also get to know them and their families personally.”

The two teams would scrimmage throughout the fall, including a game held at Kauffman Stadium on September 11th.  We utilized local college fields to hold the intra-squad games and workouts, including Rockhurst University, Johnson County CC, Maple Woods CC and Kansas City Kansas CC.

It was during these workouts and scrimmages that the Senior Team players were evaluated.  Avila University Pitching Coach Andy Shipman and PBR Missouri’s Jeff Viles assisted with pitching reports and evaluations.  PBR Missouri Director Shon Plack and I evaluated position players.

Some of the Kansas high school standouts on the Senior Team this fall included class of 2014 prospects infielder Tyler Watson (St. Thomas Aquinas) and left-handed pitcher Wally Nellor (Gardner-Edgerton), both Johnson County CC signees; class of 2015 prospects catcher Wichita State commit Noah Croft (Olathe South), right-handed pitcher Brandon Gomer (Shawnee Mission Northwest) and right-handed pitcher Arkansas commit Brendan Stanek (Blue Valley Southwest), although Stanek was promoted to the Elite Team pitching rotation early in the fall.  Class of 2016 prospects left-handed pitcher/first-baseman Joey Wentz (Shawnee Mission East) and left-handed pitcher/centerfielder Will Brennan (Blue Valley) also stood out among the Senior Team players.

On the Missouri side 2015 catcher Logan Geha and class of 2016 outfielder Tyler James, both of Lee’s Summit West performed at a high level as did first baseman Ben Whetstone (’15 Rockhurst), middle infielder Dillon Jackson (Blue Springs), right-handed pitcher Ethan Griswold (’15 Liberty) and shortstop Evan Rathburn (’15 Raymore-Peculiar).

The Senior Team was a success, exceeding our expectations, not just on development and potential, but maintaining the fun and competitive environment these young men need. The Royals are excited and looking forward to continuing the program this year.

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