Scouts see JUCO as hotbed for talent

BELIEVE THIS: Makayla Mumby, 20, falls asleep on Brandon Wilkenson’s lap during Western Nevada’s game against Shelton State in Game 12 on Tuesday at Suplizio Field. Mumby was caught sleeping by the same photographer when she was 9 or 10 years old. Some things never change at JUCO.

Have you ever wondered who those mysterious men are behind home plate at the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series? Well, those are scouts who are here to watch the players in action.

Thee scouts come from everywhere and from different levels of competition. There are some from Major League Baseball and others from Division I colleges.

Professional scout Jim Walsh, who has been an advanced scout for Team USA, has been to the JUCO World Series every year since 1977. He has seen good players come through every year.

“Year in, year out, there are always good players at this tournament,” Walsh said.

“We’re here because this is a prime tournament with great baseball talent from across the country.”

Walsh said most scouts use a system of five tools to gauge the different players.

“What scouts do with position guys is look for five tools, the five tools it takes the play,”
Walsh said. “Hitting, power, fielding, throwing and running, and put it into a package.”

When looking at players, they don’t look to lock the player at a certain position in the field or the batting order, but how they play as a whole. The players may be looked at to change positions later in their baseball career. Many third basemen have become second basemen and so on.

For hitting, the scouts can tell if they have power, but they look to see whether or not the player can change from aluminum to wood.

“If you can hit with an aluminum bat, you can hit with a wooden bat,” he said. “The thing is if the kid can make adjustments.”

Of all the national amateur tournaments Walsh has been to, he feels this is one of the best to attend.

“The kids they come up here, play hard, have fun and the fans have fun,” he said. “Of all the years I have been in baseball, this is one of the two best amateur tournaments.

This one and the Connie Mack tournament.”


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