Scouts looking for future major leaguers

Matt Anderson

The Alaska Baseball League's Scout's Showcase is wrapping up today and scouts from Major League Baseball clubs have been on hand to watch for prospects.

The three-day event is intended to show off the ABL's best players to scouts.

"Our job is to find good players," said Casey Harvie of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. "This is the breeding ground of the future."

An MLB club might have as many as 30 scouts on the payroll. Teams send regional scouts to summer leagues all over the country and the ABL has attracted scouts for decades. Every summer after the MLB draft, the scouting season starts anew and scouts look for players to sign in the next year's draft. This year, over a dozen scouts have come to Anchorage.

According to Harvie, who has nine years of scouting experience with the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Angels, the scouts compare the statistics prospects put up against the stats of major leaguers.

"Anything below an MLB average is below average to us," Harvie said. "We aren't trying to fill the minors with guys who will stay there, we want guys who will stay in the majors."

The ABL has a history of sending great players to the big leagues and Chicago Cubs scout Al Geddes, who has been scouting the ABL for 27 years, has seen a few of them.

"You recruit the best you can," said Geddes, who has scouting history with the Cubs, Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and Florida Marlins. "You rate the kids and sell them to your club."

The scouts all travel to the same places and Geddes said that some of them become friends on the recruiting trail. But because they work for different clubs, they are still competing against each other.

"Everybody has a different No. 1," Geddes said. "We don't share information."

The scouts said that they are looking at players at every position and evaluating them in every aspect of the game. The players deemed good enough are placed on a list of players to watch for a major league club.

The ABL used to be one of a few summer college baseball leagues in the country. But more leagues have been created in the past decade and scouts say this leaves the ABL with fewer talented players than in the past. But they said there are a few players in the league this summer who are being watched closely and have MLB talent.

"You have to have athleticism and you have to be able to repeat," said Harvie. "We look for guys who can repeat results."

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