As you wind up, 80 major league scouts with radar guns pop up and record your ever pitch. Your telephone is ringing constantly with calls from the media, major league scouts and agents wanting to talk to you. People are always asking whether you want to turn pro and how much of a signing bonus you will get. Just another day in the life of an projected high draft pick.
While most players look forward to going through the draft process. The process can be long and a draining process. It effects not only the players being scouted but everyone around them.
Bill Harvey who had coached (1995 1st rounder, Phillies) Reggie Taylor in high school. "Sometimes you get the impression that players are playing to impress the scouts and winning the game becomes secondary." It can get a bit distracting to everyone playing the game when 50 scouts all move down the first base line ever time Reggie comes to hit."
The draft process can also be draining on the prospect's families. Frequently the player's dad has to deal with the endless questions from scouts, cross checkers, agents and financial advisors asking about their sons future plans. "Every game we are bombarded with questions like does Macay want to turn pro , who is advising him and how much of a signing bonus are we expecting," says Joey Mc Bride father of (2001 1st round draft pick, Braves) Macay Mc Bride. " People forget our family is just trying to enjoy watching our son play a high school baseball game."
While some prospects have been in the scouts eyes for long time, a prospects life can change dramatically after just one game.Colt Griffin's (2001 1st rounder, Royals)second pitching start of the 2001 season for Marshall (Texas) High was against Natchitoches (La.) Central on the field at Northwestern State. A handful of scouts were there to see Central's pitcher, a kid named Calvin Carpenter. Griffin pitched his game, got on the bus and went back to Marshall.
This was on a Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, Marshall coach Jackie Lloyd had 100 phone messages. The Griffin family's caller ID was filled up, too. The scouts had clocked him as high as 98 mph.
Adam Loewen (2002 1st rounder, Orioles), 18, and Jeff Francis (2002 1st rounder, Rockies), 21, have attracted a lot of attention -- even in a market that doesn't traditionally talk about baseball until the Stanley Cup playoffs are over.
"It's pretty much every day the scouts are phoning and the media is pretty much at all my games wanting to ask questions," said Loewen, who was recently featured with Francis on the cover of Baseball America. "It's just a matter of getting used to it and blocking it out. I have to deal with it every game and after a while you just sort of get used to it."
After having scouts watch him throughout his junior year with the University of British Columbia, Francis is eager to move on with the next step of his baseball career. "It can be tough to sleep," said Francis, whose six-foot-five, 220-pound frame and 93 m.p.h. fastball have him rated not far behind Loewen. "Sometimes you're just lying awake trying not to think about what might happen, but as soon as you try not to think about it, that's all you're thinking about."
"Nobody knows and it's so hard to predict, so I'm just trying not to get too many expectations," said Francis, who has had private workouts with Kansas City and Anaheim during the last two weeks.
"If you expect to be drafted so high, that can lead to disappointment," he said. "I think we're ready to stop listening to people telling me how good I am, and try to go out and prove it."
Millikan High Baseball Coach Dan Peters having seen how Nick Bierbrodt (1996 1st rounder, Diamondbacks) handled so much attention the past two years. "There was a thousand people in his ear. It was a circus," Peters said. "There were so many people - scouts, friends - telling him what he should do, so much pressure. But he handled it OK. I don't know if I could have done that if I were in his shoes."
Not only is there pressure on the field, a prospect can expect a huge volume of calls from prospective agents and financial advisors. Agents frequently have their clients call prospective clients in an effort to recruit them. Carlos Pena (1998 1st round pick Rangers) would received phone calls from major league ball players like Greg Maddox and Pedro Martinez, telling them to go with their agent.
Scott Mathieson (2002 17th round pick, Phillies) and Adam Loewen roomate with Team Canada, tells of agents camping outside their motel door during the 2001 Senior Fall Classic in Arizona. "A swarm of prospective agents would follow Adam everytime he left his motel room."
Paul Benson father of (1996 1st round pick, Pirates) took an business approach to hiring an agent. He asked from prospective agents to provide a resume, references, and phone numbers of their clients." I would recommend you ask any prospective agent;
Ask for character and professional references. Ask how long have they been an agent? Whom do they represent? What assurance the player will get the proper attention from you ? Why are you the right fit for us ?
Ask any prospective agent for proof of eductional background, training and work experience, particularly in baseball.
Have in detail a discussion about fees for each of the services the agent provides.What is the length of the contract and under what circumstances can you terminate the agent.
May Kay Honel mother of Kris Honel (2001 1st round pick, White Sox) "Be careful as to who you choose as an advisor....ask for references and call their clients to get a feel for how they operate......this is what we did and it was very informative."
While being touted as a first-round pick may bring alot of requests for interviews from newspapers and the media, players are often cautioned against saying too much to the media. Mike Jones 1978 1st round pick, Royals) be careful about saying too much to the media, always better to keep your mouth shut than to say stuff about how much of a signing bonus you are expecting. This can kill your signability very fast in the scout's eyes.
Sometimes players feel the need to set the media straight about the players future plans. David Francoeur the father of Jeff Francoeur (2002 1st round pick, Braves) felt the best way to let scouts know about Jeff's intentions of turning pro in baseball through an article in Baseball America.
Players being touted as a high draft picks can expect many requests from major league scouts for inhome visits, eye tests and pyschological tests.Scouts recommend you can save yourself alot of grief by having the information they want to know readily available to the scouts, such as medical records, eye tests, your baseball schedule, signability forms and player information cards. They also suggest you leave your game schedule on your baseball coaches and your home answering machine.
Filling out all the player informations cards and pyscholocial tests can take up alot of a players time. The pyscholocial tests can vary from 78 to 278 questions depending on the team giving them.
Scouts often forget players have a life off the ball field, such as school, families and girlfriends.
" I have taken so many pyscholocial tests , I kinda go into autopilot," says (2002 1st round pick, Marlins) Jeremy Hermida.
Players can save some time by signing a waiver on the Caliber Test and have the results release to all the teams that use that test.
When discussing your signability with scouts, scouts recommend you decide whether you want to turn pro and how much of a signing bonus it will take. Most of all be honest with scouts about your future plans.
Scouts like to point out of all the thousands of players who play this game each year, only a few are chosen. This is a young mans game and the sooner you get started the quicker you develop and can fulfill your dream. Injuries and age have never stopped anyone from getting an education but they have stopped a promising career in sports.
Jim Owings father of Micah Owings (2002 2 round pick, Rockies) recommends
you own your time and your schedule. Set limits early about how many people you will see each week and for how long (including scouts, colleges, and advisors). Donít let the pressure of the draft take away your love of the game or the goal that you have long term - which is to be a player in the MLB for a period of years . Be certain to include your family in the challenges that you face mentally, socially, physically, emotionally and don't try to shoulder it all by yourself.
Mary Kay Honel tells prospects to remember that Bottom Line......"Major League Baseball is a business and even though you are projected to be a high draft pick ...stuff happens. Always hope for the best but prepare for the worst and always, always, always have a plan B, and C if the draft doesn't go as you anticipated.Don't be greedy...if you are offered a predraft deal for multi-millions take it because it may not come around after the draft.....Remind your son what happened to Matt Harrington."
Kris Benson (1996 1st pick, Pirates) tells players to
continue to want to get better. "Never think that since you're a high draft pick that you've got it made. What will set you apart is your work ethic and determination to learn. The more prepared you are for professional baseball, the better you will be when you get there. As far as the draft process itself, let your parents or your family advisor do the talking. You worry about baseball! Just remember if it doesn't work out or it's not the best option then you have a couple of years to make yourself better."
Alex Agostino, Canadian Scouting Supervisor for the Montreal Expos. "Agostino warns that being touted as a first-round pick in baseball does not guarantee success. "Players could potentially run into arm problems, head problems, or problems from being away from home, one never knows. They have not been in the Gulf Coast League where it's 100 degrees every day with no meal money. "The baseball draft is very precautious, for high school kids especially.