Showcase : : Story
Saturday, January 05, 2013

Brody, Walt Weiss enjoy World

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., advanced to the final four at the Colorado Class 5A State Baseball Tournament last May thanks in large part to the contributions of standout shortstop prospect Brody Weiss and head coach Walt Weiss, Brody's father.

Brody's situation and status has remained solid since that third-place state finish last Memorial Day weekend, and he is now in his senior year at Regis Jesuit. He has risen to the No. 214 national overall ranking in the class of 2013 (No. 29 shortstop) and has signed a letter of intent with the University of California Santa Barbara.

He is at this weekend's 2013 Perfect Game World Showcase at Terry Park hoping to improve his standing in June's 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Walt Weiss, a former MLB All-Star who enjoyed a 14-year big-league career, is here supporting his son.

Walt Weiss also is no longer the head coach at Regis Jesuit High School. In early November, he was named the field manager for the Colorado Rockies where his office at Coors Field won't be very far from the Weiss's home in Castle Rock, Colo.

"I'm excited," Walt said Saturday morning, speaking of his new challenge. "I've got a lot of history with the Rockies and that helped during the interview process with them being comfortable with me and vice versa. ... But it's a month away now and I'm ready to go."

The Weisses have a vacation home in southwest Florida over on Sanibel Island where they typically spend the winter holiday season, so being in the area this weekend was always in their plans. When Brody was extended an invitation to attend the World Showcase -- PG's longest running national showcase event that attracts dozens of big-league scouts -- the family jumped at the opportunity.

"I like doing these Perfect Game showcases. I think they're pretty fun," Brody said during Saturday morning's workout sessions. "It gets your name out there, especially coming from Colorado where it's kind of low-key over there, so I think it's important to come to one or two of these (showcases)."

This is Brody's third PG event, coming after his appearance at the prestigious 2012 PG National Showcase in Minneapolis in June and the PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., in late October (he also played in the 2012 Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., in early August).

After the PG National, a PG scouting report noted that Brody Weiss has "smooth defensive action, short compact release and arm action (and) ... has the feel for playing defense." The report went on to identify him as a "projectable player who should continue to improve with additional strength (and) knows how to play the game."

Walt Weiss marveled at the entire showcase experience.

"For these kids it's a lot different, obviously, from when I was younger when we didn't have these (events) and it was tough to showcase (your skills) on a national level," he said while sitting in the grandstands of the main stadium at Terry Park, waiting for Brody to participate in his infield workout.

"These are great tools for these kids, and Perfect Game does a great job evaluating and creating a data system for coaches and scouts," he continued. "They're at the forefront of this whole showcase craze and they do a real nice job."

Walt Weiss was a first-round draft pick (11th overall) of the Oakland A's out of the University of North Carolina in the 1985 amateur draft, and played 14 years with Oakland, Florida, Colorado and Atlanta before retiring after the 2000 season. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year while playing with the A's in 1988 and was an NL All-Star with the Braves in 1998.

He won a World Series with Oakland in 1989, and played in the 1988 World Series with Oakland and the 1999 World Series with Atlanta. He retired with a career .258 batting average and .970 fielding percentage.

Brody was 6 years old when his dad retired from playing in the major leagues, so his memories of Walt's playing days aren't very vivid. He said he remembers some of the hoopla surrounding the 1999 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees when Walt was playing with the Braves, and he remembers a little bit from hanging around big-league clubhouses.

But Brody's entire life has always featured major league trimmings.

"Even after my dad stopped playing he started working with the Rockies (as a special assistant to the GM) and now he's going to be managing them, so it's been pretty much my whole life," Brody said.

"What's been most effective is probably just him being around it his whole life," Walt said of any wisdom he may have passed along to his son. "He doesn't like to hear stuff from his dad, but I always try to give him a little perspective here and there. Being able to play baseball is a blessing; it's an opportunity that you should never take for granted.

"I tell him that most players' careers end before they think they're going to, so go out and compete as hard as you can and work as hard as you can so you can play the game for long as possible," he continued. "It's tough to have that perspective when you're a kid and you're just flying by the seat of your pants, but I just try to give him the perspective that you shouldn't ever take the game for granted."

Brody said  he has always been a shortstop -- that was the position Walt played his entire big-league career -- and doesn't see that changing at the next level. Regardless of where that next level is, there were a couple of different factors that went into his decision to accept a scholarship offer from UC Santa Barbara.

"I wanted to play as a freshman and I think I have a good shot to do that there," he said. "And I like it in California; I like laying on the beach and everything like that. But they've got a good program and I'm excited to go there."

At this weekend's World Showcase -- the event is being run simultaneously with the PG World Uncommitted Showcase and the PG National Underclass Showcase-Session 3, turning Terry Park into a scouting all-you-can-eat buffet -- Brody was placed on a PG 1-Black squad that boasts nine other NCAA Division I committed players in addition to himself.

They include 2013s catcher Jon Denney (Florida), shortstop Connor Heady (Kentucky) and right-hander Joe Schindler (Oregon), and standout 2014s shortstop/right-hander Nicholas Gordon (Florida State) and right-hander Kyle Kemp (Florida).

"I like it a lot because it shows you where you are" compared to your peers, Brody said of the experience here. "You get a good grasp of how good you really are, and what kind of players are out there and how hard you have to work to get better."

"I'm amazed at how much talent there is out there," Walt said, shaking his head. "Just following my son around and going to some of these Perfect Game events, I'm just really impressed with where they're at physically already at this age, and skill-wise how polished their skills are, even at the high school level."

Brody Weiss identified his speed and his increasing power as the strengths of his game right now. As his national prospect ranking rose during the summer and fall, he admits to having allowed himself to think ahead to the 2013 MLB amateur draft.

"Just these past couple of weeks I've been kind of looking at it, just to see," he said. "I would have to go pretty high for me to sign, but it's on my mind. I know it's there."

With a new manager in place for the 2013 season, don't be surprised if the Colorado Rockies take a serious look at this home-grown prospect.

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