This past weekend, over 50 high school baseball and softball players seized the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of the Next Letter of Intent (NLI) Scouting Agency at the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) Complex in Nassau East. It was an event that was co-ordinated by JBLN and the I-Recruit Baseball Organization.
Chris Hunt, co-founder and co-national director of scouting at NLI Scouting, said he was pleasantly surprised at the talent here.
“We had about 50 baseball prospects, and a lot of them are what we call projectable which means they have an ability to play college baseball,” he said.
Hunt said his team looked at base running, infield play and outfield arm strength, while also examining catching and pitching ability.
He said a good number of the athletes stood out for him, and they are looking forward to working with them in getting them to the next level.
“The next step that we are going to do will be to look at all of the numbers that we compiled. After that, we are going to reach out to the families and see if they are interested in working with us. If they are interested in working with us, we are going to tell them what we think is realistic for them. There are different levels of college baseball; there is division one, two and three. We are going to let them know where we think they will be able to play. Then we are going to start reaching out to coaches who are looking for players like them to get them there,” Hunt said.
What particularly stood out for Hunt was the speed of most of the athletes.
“The running was the one that really pleasantly surprised me. There were a lot of fast runners there,” he said. “There were also a good number of power hitters and switch hitters who we are interested in. We had guys in the outfield throwing 89 miles per hour (mph), which is unbelievable. In the infield we had a handful of guys throwing 85 mph and above. Everything was good, and I was pleasantly surprised.”
This was Hunt’s second time in a month here in The Bahamas, and he is looking to come back in a few months to do another showcase.
“It is very promising. We are starting to expand to countries like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and The Bahamas. The Bahamas is right there. There is a lot of talent here,” he said.
Former professional baseball player and I-Elite Academy Director of Player Development, Bahamian Albert Cartwright, said the day was good and it was encouraging to see the young men want to take baseball in The Bahamas to the next level. He mentioned that the showcase was put on so that the athletes could get exposure and for the scouts to see their talents.
“We need the exposure, and for us to get the exposure we need to team up with these guys (NLI) so we could reach out to those colleges and get a better chance for our athletes to get in. Down here is a little tough because we don’t play any meaningful games where colleges could get a good read of the athletes. It was good teaming up with NLI so they can come and reach out to every school and to put these athletes in the right position,” Cartwright said.
Cartwright is looking to have more showcases like this in the future.
Kim Sweeting, co-founder of I-Recruit, said she helped stage this showcase because there are only so much who make it to the big leagues, and college can be the ideal avenue for those aiming to become professional athletes while getting an education at the same time.
“Only a certain number of boys can go pro, but what happens to all the other boys that can actually play the sport and get an education? They should have their opportunity, and we feel like we can get them scholarship money if they are good athletes,” she said. “I teamed up with NLI Scouting and Geron Sands and Cartwright, and we formed a network. This is our second showcase. The first one only had about 10 athletes who participated and it grew to 50 baseball and 15 softball players this past Saturday.”
Sweeting is of the belief that the showcase could be bigger in the future. She thanked JBLN for allowing them to use the field.
I-Recruit teamed up with partners from the United States and has a network of over 1,300 colleges and universities with already-established relationships nationwide. These relationships are used to personally communicate with college coaches and get I-Recruit prospects identified and actively recruited.