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Tournaments : : Story
Why Some Do Not Go To Jupiter
Perfect Game Staff        
Published: Sunday, October 22, 2006

Before reading this, please understand the purpose here is not to cause problems. The purpose is not to disrespect anyone, least of all any young players. There are some very good reasons why certain players are unable to attend a big event. In fact, the staff at Perfect Game has advised some players that it might not be in their best interest to attend this event. This article is not meant as a last ditch effort to get every top prospect to Jupiter. The WWBA Championship, as always, will be a great scouting event with or without a certain individual or two. Everyone understands that this time of year is high school football season. Most top baseball prospects who also play football are usually key players at skill positions. Several players in Jupiter this year will be football players and that says a lot about their love and desire for the game of baseball. Others playing football would love to be there, but haven?€™t been able to stay in baseball shape and could be suffering from minor injuries. And there are some players who have football coaches that disallow them to participate. All this is understood by everyone. There are other valid reasons for a player to miss this event. This article is about the truth, and some of the other reasons players decide to miss baseballs biggest scouting attraction.

Most do, but not all

The number of 1st round and early picks that have played in the WWBA Championship in Jupiter is well documented. Over the past several years, an amazing number of first round picks have played in this event, several are already in the Major Leagues, some are Major League All Stars. However, every first round and early round pick does not play in the WWBA Championship.

Sometimes football or injuries get in the way of top prospects playing in the October event. Sometimes school work, school attendance and other things get in the way. Sometimes pitchers are not in shape or have shut down because of over working. All these things make good sense and that?€™s a reason why every single top player does not attend Baseball?€™s largest scouting event.

While certain reasons for players deciding to miss the WWBA Championship don?€™t bother us, even a little, there are some reasons that do and we?€™re not the only ones that it bothers. Here is a few of them?€?

Player says he was advised not to attend by his agent/advisor.

Sometimes this can be good advice depending on the circumstances like those mentioned above. Unfortunately it?€™s often the worst advice a player could ever receive from someone he trusts, someone who claims the players best interest is all that counts. Obviously, there are many top agent/advisors who actually recommend their player attend Baseball?€™s Biggest Scouting Event. To prove that point, one only has to look at the many outstanding draft prospects who do attend every year. Many of the top agents/advisors want their players there for very obvious reasons. It?€™s where the decision makers are!

It?€™s really very simple?€? Baseball players play baseball?€? They desire the best competition and the biggest events they can find. One thing that always impressed me the most about kids like Scott Kazmir, David Wright, Justin and BJ Upton, Delmon Young, Jeremy Bonderman, Chad Billingsley, Zach Duke, Chris Lubanski, Lastings Milledge, Prince Fielder, James Loney, Jeremy Sowers, Ryan Sweeney, Brian McCann, Zach Greinke, Matt Bush, Carl Crawford, Nick Markakis, Casey Kotchman, JJ Hardy, Kyle Davies, Jonathan Broxton, Matt Cain, Mike Morse, Adam Jones, Chris Resop, Robert Andino, Cody Ross, Jeremy Hermida, Nick Masset, Craig Hansen, Zach Miner, Pat Neshek, and hundreds of others just like them?€? If there was a big game or event?€? Any time, any where?€? These guys were going to try to get there! They play baseball?€? It?€™s what they do! It?€™s what they want to do! There?€™s no place to hide in baseball, you either play or you don?€™t!

This speaks volumes to the many hard nose baseball scouts out there and most baseball scouts are hard nose! Good baseball scouts know what it takes to make it to the Big Leagues and it takes more than just talent in nearly every case. Good scouts look well past the talent into the very fiber of the player. Young players will seldom fool a Scouting Director because they?€™ve seen many others just like that player. The reasons a player might make it are weighed against the reasons he might fail. The same formula is used by College Coaches.

Some 600-800 scouts and college coaches travel from all parts of the country to Jupiter to see the best players. Players should ask themselves?€? What would you tell a scouting director or a college coach regarding why you were not there playing with and against the best. There are good reasons as mentioned before and then there are other things you might say.

You could say?€? I?€™ve already been to events and shown what I can do.

Put yourself in the shoes of a Major League Scouting Director or GM. Does this sound like a player they would want to use a high draft pick on and pay a small fortune? Does this sound like a player who is already satisfied with what he has accomplished? Satisfaction is a big negative for a baseball player! You should only be satisfied when you retire from the game.

Or you could say?€? I might have a bad day and hurt myself in the draft.

Put yourself in the shoes of a Major League Scouting Director or GM. Does this sound like a player they would want to use a high draft pick on and pay a small fortune? Does this sound like a player who might be afraid of failure? Failure is an ingredient players need to deal with in baseball. Fear is a big negative for a baseball player! Once again, there is no place to hide in baseball.

Or you could say?€? I just needed some rest and time away from the game.

Put yourself in the shoes of a Major League Scouting Director or GM. Does this sound like a player they would want to use a high draft pick on and pay a small fortune? Does this sound like a player who will be able to handle the grind of professional baseball? Will this player be able to handle spring training, a full season and play fall and/or winter ball? After all, that?€™s much more baseball than he plays now. If he needs rest now, how much will he need later? Is this player a little soft, does he want it bad enough? Does he love it enough?

Or maybe?€? I?€™m so good I don?€™t need to go anywhere and show my ability.

Put yourself in the shoes of a Major League Scouting Director or GM. Does this sound like a player they would want to use a high draft pick on and pay a small fortune? In professional baseball you will need to be prepared to show your ability each and every day. While the confidence might sound good, reality says it doesn?€™t work that way! When it comes to MLB Scouts and College Coaches, you?€™re only as valuable as they think you are.

Or how about?€? I?€™ve been told I?€™m a first rounder so I don?€™t have to play in something like this. I have nothing to gain.

Put yourself in the shoes of a Major League Scouting Director or GM. Does this sound like a player they would want to use a high draft pick on and pay a small fortune? First of all, there are no first rounders in October, there are only first round candidates and there are a lot of them! In fact, if you heard what we hear, there are well over 100 players out there right now that have been told they will be drafted in the first round. The more those who actually make those decisions see a player and have a long history on a player?€? the more likely that player will be drafted in the slot he belongs. Now, is your objective to fool these people who make their living making these decisions? There is a reason why those decision makers, MLB Scouting Directors, cross checkers and other highest level scouts are present in Jupiter?€? What is your reason for being somewhere else? Oh Yes, you?€™ve been told you?€™re a first rounder! Was that told to you by one of the people that make those decisions?

We hear this once in awhile?€? I?€™ve already got a college scholarship so there is no reason to play.

Let?€™s think about this one! In this case the player must not be all that interested in the draft. However, what would the college coach who recruited this player think? Does the player he has recruited now feel his mission is accomplished? The player the coach has offered a good scholarship to, thinking that the player will have a positive impact on the coaches program, is now feeling there is no reason for competing against the best. Pro scouts might see the light and shy away from this player, but what about the coach who has already recruited the player? Is this the type of player he expected when he recruited him? Is this the type of player that has a strong desire to improve and does this player have what it takes? Has this player already reached his goal (is he satisfied)? While the recruiter might like the idea of the player being so satisfied with the college commitment, many other questions cloud the picture. Why is my player avoiding the best competition and not playing in one of the years biggest events? Is this the way the player wants to enter his college career? Will the coach think this is a sign of what?€™s to come? Is this the player he thought he was recruiting? Does this player love the game? Is having a college commitment a good reason for not being at this event? Think about this for a minute! What is the major reason for playing baseball? If it?€™s no more than getting a college scholarship, there might be a problem. True baseball players?€? Play Baseball! It?€™s what they want to do! They desire the biggest stage possible! Those are the players that both college coaches and MLB scouts are looking for!

Don?€™t say this?€? I just don?€™t feel like playing.

No explanation needed! One can only wonder when the next time will be that this player doesn?€™t feel like playing.

Which of the above would cause a scouting director to pay a player a million dollars or more??€? Once again, you pretend that you?€™re the Scouting Director!

Agents/Advisors

The truth is, regarding the advice players sometimes receive?€? Among the hundreds of scouts and college coaches in Jupiter will also be the biggest and best agents/advisors in the business. A well known fact is the easiest thing for a player to do is get rid of his advisor and go with someone else. Now pretend you?€™re the advisor! Is not attending in the best interest of you the player or is it in the best interest of the person advising you? I think we can all figure that one out. It?€™s just that many players truly do think the advisor is only interested in what is best for the player. Does his interest involve anymore than how much you are worth to him? Truth is, you are worth more to him as a Tenth round pick than if you went with someone else and became a first round pick. You being a first round pick is not worth anything to him unless he is your advisor! Please understand, we?€™re not talking about all advisors. There are many very good ones. However, it is odd how often we?€™ve heard a player tell us his advisor told him not to attend and then we see that same advisor at the event looking for players. Unless there?€™s a very good reason for him telling you to skip the biggest scouting event in baseball, what other reason could there be?

College Coaches?€?

We have noticed that most of the very top programs actually like to see the kids who have committed early to them play in this type competition. However, sadly, there are those who advise their committed (verbally) players to shut it down and they don?€™t need to be in Jupiter. This is actually fine, if the player has no interest in the draft and is completely satisfied with his verbal commitment, which they should be. Truth is?€? The official signing period is in November, shortly after this event. Nearly every major college baseball program will have a recruiter or two in Jupiter. Not to mention the people who dictate how the draft plays out. I kind of understand a college coach trying to protect his recruit, but what is it all about? The player! We sure do understand why a college coach might not want his new verbally committed player to be in Jupiter. Yet, most top programs actually recommend their recruits be there. They are secure and really want to see their player compete. They understand they sometimes lose players to the draft.

What about the player whose future college coach tells him ?€?It?€™s up to you as to whether you attend or not?€? If you were that college coach, what would you think if that player decided to skip this highly competitive event with and against the best talent in the country? Do you think that college coach might wonder or maybe even second guess his decision regarding that player?

Scouts?€?

We have heard the story at times that a scout or associate scout has told a player not to go to this event. This is something we understand and sometimes it?€™s actually suggested because the scout has built a relationship with the player and his family. Sometimes the scout actually believes, for one reason or another, that his suggestion might be in the best interest of the player. And sometimes it might be!

Not that there is anything wrong with it, but one needs to know that scouts work for one of the MLB clubs. Good scouts do what is best for their club, that?€™s their job. If I think a player in my territory is a first round talent who might slip to the 10th round, the last thing I want to tell him is to go to where the people who make these decisions will see him. Yes, it is much harder to hide players in these days of so much information, but if it were only possible, many of the top players out there would be known by only one or two MLB clubs.

Interesting enough is the fact that some of the very best (most successful) MLB clubs seem to be among those who want to see the best talent no matter who else sees that talent. After all, there is a lot of talent out there! Most clubs will not draft a player they haven?€™t seen an endless number of times. They can?€™t see the player too much! That?€™s because there?€™s a lot to learn about a player who you might invest a large amount of money in. There are a few organizations we know of, among the most successful each year in the draft, that will not draft a player early unless they have seen him play several times at the highest level possible. That highest level is not high school!

As a group, scouts are very helpful when it comes to the WWBA Championship. Many know their scouting director will be there and in many cases the scout himself will be there. The number of Area scouts who work hard and help kids amazes us. There aren?€™t many bad apples out there, but they do exist!

College coaches and professional scouts all have to have one major concern. They must take care of business above all else. This does not stop most of them from giving so much to help young players. Some of the best people we know at promoting the game of baseball and helping young players are Major League Scouts and College Coaches. Many of these people remain the biggest booster for the player they didn?€™t get.

Agents/Advisors in many cases also have one major concern. There are some that truly do care about the player and his future whether it?€™s their player or not. There are others who will bad mouth, even try to black ball players who have decided to go with someone else. Just like in most things, there is the good, the bad and the ugly! Most all of the big firms are very good, they have integrity and they are honest. Many of the smaller groups are very good also. Some of the new firms and individuals each year are very honest and do a great job. Unfortunately, in a business that contains many war stories, the new honest guys have a big uphill battle to work against.

We never have a problem talking about the truth in the agent/advisor business. We know many of them and have a very good understanding of that business. Those that are among the good ones would agree 100% with what we are saying here. There are some rotten apples in the bunch! People who could care less about the players they represent or advise. Players should always ask themselves, is the advice I?€™m receiving more in my best interest or is it more in the interest of the person giving me the advice? Who has the most to gain or lose if I follow the advice? Thinking these things out can often lead to some interesting revelations! This holds true in all advice received, not just whether or not to attend a certain event.

Baseball is no different than any other walk of life. Be it baseball or plumbing?€? There will always be?€? The Good?€? The Bad?€? The Ugly!

Note: A highly regarded prospect attended the WWBA Championship in Jupiter in recent years. He was there as a spectator rather than a player. He was advised not to participate, but to be there to mingle and answer questions that the many scouts might have. He wasn?€™t there to play, but to impress the MLB scouting directors in some other way. This was a top prospect and a definite early pick candidate, and deservedly so. Some projected this player to be one of the first picks of the draft. Many rounds went by before he was eventually selected. No one knows what would have happened if this player would have played. The only thing anyone knows for sure is that he didn?€™t play and that it didn?€™t help him! It wasn?€™t Perfect Game?€™s opinion as he remained ranked as a first round talent right up until the draft. Perfect Game does not play vindictive games with this or any other young player. This despite the fact that one scouting director told us, they have no interest in this player and he won?€™t bother seeing him in the spring. It?€™s not nice to fool Mother Nature or Major League Scouting Departments or College Recruiters!


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