BY NICK ROBINSON
DENVER — MHCBL co-owner Jason Hirsh showcased 30 players to area college coaches in the league’s fourth scout day.
“Historically, the MHCBL does it every year,” Hirsh said. “We missed it last year, with the transition of Amanda (Kubec) and I taking over the league. We had to figure out the best way to make this happen. This is a new format for us, and I think it went very well.”
The new structure is simple. Pitchers going at batters, just like in a game.
“In the past, it was run like a traditional showcase,” the three-year MLB veteran said. “We had batting practice, pitchers threw bullpens, outfield work, guys would run 60’s – stuff like that.
The college coaches that came in today and said it was awesome. I think when you do showcases like this, a lot of extra stuff doesn’t need to happen. All these guys care about is velocity and swings. They can teach you a lot of the other stuff.”
How does just live hitting show college coaches that a player can perform at a high level?
A combination of metrics and technology.
“We want to give kids an opportunity to showcase their abilities and skills,” Hirsh said. “This being a unique event because we offer them the Rapsodo and the HitTrax to measure their abilities and to send them out. It gives them an opportunity to get exposure around the country with verified metrics.”
Hirsh feels baseball is aligning to a more modern state – and wants to make sure the MHCBL and FAST Arm Care are ahead of the curve.
“The format change and use of technology is the way baseball is heading,” he said. “You have to be able to measure things and they have to be verified. These devices allow us to do that.
College coaches and pro scouts are finally getting on board with it and what it means. We are one the few with the HitTrax and the first with Rapsodo in the state. We are one of the best, if not the best, in the entire state when it comes to understanding and using this equipment.”
The reason of the change in focus is simple – to give kids a chance to live out their childhood dreams.
“We want to give everyone the opportunity to move on and play collegiately,” Hirsh said. “I played pro ball, and of course I want everyone to go there, because it’s the greatest thing ever. A lot of my staff didn’t get that opportunity. They all want that opportunity for these guys, too.”
According to Hirsh, evaluating and understanding pitcher’s arms is crucial to the success of the event.
“We do follow ups with guys to continue to make this more efficient and better,” he said. “In the future, I’d offer a batting practice side, and do a live hitting side, and vice versa.
The problem with that is we run into time – we don’t want guys here all day. We need the best pitchers, but we want the best pitchers in the league pitching in the All-Star game, which follows scout day. It’s about finding that happy-medium.”
With a solid adapted foundation, the future of scout day looks to be headed in the right direction.
“I see this as being a big event for this league. We look to have 10 to 15 colleges here and all of the local associate scouts from all the major league ballclubs showing up, as well.
As a league, we are focused on development. A lot of the talent is a year, two, or three away from really being able to compete. The metrics we can gather can give coaches an idea of projectability for the players.”
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MHCBL co-owner Jason Hirsh showcased a simpler yet advanced scout day on Monday morning.