Prep Baseball Report

STORY: 2019 C Jimmy Crooks (Trinity HS)

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Texas Writer

EULESS, TX. - The first exposure Jimmy Crooks had to varsity baseball came late in his freshman season, over two years ago.

“I got called up three-quarters of the way through the season,” reflected the Trinity High School junior. “We were playing the number one team in the nation (Coppell) and number three team in Texas (Southlake). I was nervous as all get out. I didn’t hit well but defensive-wise I was spot on. We beat Coppell and lost to Southlake.”

The experience against the Texas state powers proved to be a confidence-booster for the 6-0 190-pound catcher.

“When I was pulled up, I didn’t know if I was good enough,” Crooks admitted. “But since I’ve done that, I’ve thought that I could make it to the next level and hopefully work my way up to the majors.”

The 83rd-ranked player in the state’s 2019 class, Crooks understands the process but is searching for more exposure to make it happen.

“There are a couple of Division 1 schools that have been following me this spring,” Crooks explained. “They like my catching and quick hands behind the plate. They also like my ability to hit the ball well.”

A PBR event at Prestonwood proved beneficial in interest, but more exposure is needed in the eyes of Crooks, the ninth-rated unsigned junior in Texas.

“I plan to go to more PBR events to help me get my name out there,” Crooks said about his recruitment strategy. “I want to reach out to colleges with videos. It’s my junior year and this is when you get the most looks, so this summer will be the biggest point for me to get signed.”

There is plenty that Crooks hopes to show college programs he can provide on the field.

“My work ethic stands out,” Crooks noted. “I work hard 24/7. I’ve had a breakout season this year. I’ve really found my hitting and I’ve also been improving every year behind the plate.”

That is an aspect of the game that Crooks takes pride in.

“I’ve been catching since I was 10,” Crooks related. “I got put back there and I’ve loved it ever since. It just suited me.

“Defense is everything,” Crooks added. “Catching is about being a bulldog.”

Crooks knows improvement is still a key to being a factor at the next level.

“I’ve got a strong arm, that’s my strength, but I need to work on being able to block every ball,” Crooks explained. “Hitting-wise, I have a lot more bat speed than I used to have and I’m seeing the ball better, but I need to be more aggressive with swinging at more first pitches. Most of the time those are strikes.”

The Trinity junior, who hits from the left side of the plate, points to his family as big factors in getting him where he is today.

“My parents (Jim and Michelle) have done so much for me in helping me out,” noted Crooks, a 3.4 student who is looking at forensic science as a potential major with the idea of becoming a fireman. “My brother (Dylan) also has helped. He catches me at school when I pitch. He’s my back-up.

“My high school and summer coach (Jason Noonan) have also been a big part of teaching me new things every day.”

Now it is about reaching that long-time goal.

“Since I was little I’ve always wanted to be the first in my family to go to college, get a degree and play baseball,” Crooks said. “I told my family since I was little that I wanted to go to college and they’ve been a big part in helping me out and saving money to be able to do this.”

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