FORT MYERS, Fla. – Having spent the 2011 summer season playing with the powerhouse East Cobb Braves 17u squad, Jordan Ebert now feels like he’s ready to confront any challenges playing at the next level may present.
And it doesn’t matter if that next level is playing for Auburn in the Southeastern Conference or playing professionally –that depends on how the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft plays out in June.
Ebert was at Terry Park Jan. 7-8 for the 2012 Perfect Game World Showcase, eager to show the overflow gathering of professional scouts in attendance that he deserves their consideration come draft day. He wanted to show them that he is rejuvenated, feeling good, far from burned-out and perhaps in the best shape he’s been in for months.
“The last Perfect Game event I went to was the (WWBA World Championship), and playing with East Cobb and how much we play and how it’s an everyday thing, I lost a lot of weight this summer,” Ebert said on the final day of the World Showcase. “I really felt like the last time I was here I was not in tip-top shape. So I got into the weight room for a little while and got back to a regular routine of eating (well) and working out.
“I feel like my arm strength has gotten a lot better, I’ve really worked on my 60 (yard dash) and I’ve probably gained about 20 pounds,” he continued. “I really wanted (the scouts) to see me when I was more of the ballplayer that I know I can be than the ballplayer they saw the last time I was here.”
Ebert, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound primary second baseman who is a senior at Baldwin County High School in Perdido, Ala., performed well at the World Showcase. He threw 88 mph across the infield (tied for fifth among all the participants) and 90 mph in the outfield throw (tied for seventh). His 6.83-second clocking in the 60 ranked 18th among the hundreds of participants from the three PG showcases that were running simultaneously at Terry Park who ran the drill.
David Rawnsley, PG’s National Director of Scouting, ranked Ebert the No. 16 top prospect at the event and offered the following report at its conclusion:
“There is some effort to Ebert’s game but he’s very athletic and just crushes the ball from the right side of the plate. He’s been a top performer at WWBA/BCS events for the past two years.”
Ebert was satisfied with his performance.
“Physically I feel pretty good but I still haven’t seen a lot of pitching for a little while, and most of these guys out here haven’t,” he said. “But I feel like that I just needed to come out here and show these guys what I could really do and not what they saw the last time.”
Playing with the East Cobb Braves 17u over the summer provided Ebert with seemingly unlimited opportunities. He is ranked the No. 118 overall national prospect in the class of 2012 – No. 1 among second baseman – but wasn’t close to being the highest ranked prospect on the Braves’ roster.
It was a squad that included three Perfect Game All-Americans: right-hander Tucker Simpson (ranked 39th overall nationally), left-hander Matthew Crownover (No. 41) and outfielder Skye Bolt (No. 45).
The Braves won Perfect Game national championships at the WWBA 2012 Grads or 17u National Championship and the 18u BCS Finals in July, and also won the championship at the 17u/18u Perfect Game-East Cobb Invitational in early June. The Braves 17u finished third at the PG WWBA 2011 Grads or 18u National Championship in early July.
Ebert played with the East Cobb Baseball squad at the 2011 PG World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., in October. The ECB roster included Simpson, Bolt and Perfect Game All-American right-hander Duane Underwood (No. 13) from the class of 2012. It also included highly ranked 2013 prospects in third baseman/right-hander Travis Demeritte (No. 8 nationally) and outfielder Josh Hart (No. 31).
Ebert had a below average World Championship, hitting .231 (3-for-13) with three singles, three RBI and two runs scored. He was starting to wear down.
“This summer was really the test,” Ebert said. “I played 50 high school games (in the spring) and went from my high school (state) championship game straight to East Cobb; then we played about 70 games there. If I was going to get burned-out I felt like this was going to be the summer.
“I wanted to see if I wanted to do it for the rest of my life, and it was a blast – I loved it. I learned what I could and couldn’t do.”
Ebert also learned he needed to get in the weight room with more regularity and improve his diet if he hopes to excel at the next level. He feels he proved he can.
“What it showed me, it got me ready for minor league ball,” he said. “I’m ready to go play minor league ball and I know I could do it mentally and physically.”
In addition to all the games with the Braves 17u, Ebert also performed at the Perfect Game National Showcase in mid-June and at the East Coast Pro Showcase in early August.
Ebert played in WWBA and BCS Finals tournaments with Team Alabama 15u the summer before his sophomore year and with Marucci Elite 16s the summer before his junior year. He also attended the 2010 PG Junior National Showcase.
“I’ve always moved around a little bit and I’ve always liked to get on the best team possible,” Ebert said. “I always wanted to play for East Cobb growing up because they’re pretty much the name of travel baseball. I just figured my last year I might as well go out with the best.
“I really liked my decision of going over to East Cobb – I just feel like it was a very, very good decision.”
Ebert has signed with Auburn as part of a 2012 Tigers’ recruiting class ranked 11th nationally. Perfect Game All-Americans David Dahl and Addison Russell are also members of that class.
“I actually kind of grew up an Alabama fan – my mom’s a big Alabama fan and my brother is attending Alabama right now,” Ebert said with a grin. “I loved all the other schools I went and visited, but Auburn – I really liked their coaches and their facilities and I feel like Coach (John) Pawlowski is a real straight-up guy and he’s going to play the best (players) no matter what year they are.”
And, of course, there is the draft to consider. Ebert is considering it seriously.
“It’s gotten more real recently, with all the in-home visits and the workouts,” Ebert said. “It’s been a fun experience and there are a lot of guys who would wish to be in my shoes right now. I’m just taking it day-by-day and thanking God for the opportunity.”