Eight years ago, the Future Stars Baseball organization kicked off its annual Scout Day event with a crop of youngsters that are now looking at advancing their professional careers, and Future Stars founder Darren Canton said this week that as the event has evolved, he’s been looking for more solid talent that give local players the chance to succeed nationally.
Monday’s event on St. Thomas brought in scouts from the Major League franchises – from the Mariners to the Mets – and college recruiters that Canton feels can take advantage of what the territory has to offer. But along with the local athletes, Future Stars has also reached out to players on the mainland in need of exposure, and Canton said that’s what helps to keep the event fresh – and the local players on their toes.
"For this event, we have a solid 30 players and, really, every one of them can play," Canton said as this year’s event kicked off at Lionel Roberts Stadium. "The better the talent is, the better the event is, and this year, we’ve also been reaching outside our own pool. We’ve got players here from Atlanta, New York, the British Virgin Islands – and that’s good for us, because if you can do well here, with them, it means that you can do well abroad playing against college and professional competition."
For years, the Future Stars program has nurtured some of the territory’s best “baseballers,” with Canton working behind the scenes to teach his players about the importance of a good education and really learning the fundamentals of the game.
The day started out running drills that were followed by outfield, infield and hitting practice. The day also wrapped up with a full scrimmage that gave the scouts a better look at what each player brought to the table.
For three-time Scout Day participant Jed Joseph, Monday was the final chance to draw some scout interest. A shortstop with years of experience on-island, Joseph said he used his first Scout Day to learn from the older athletes and this year is trying to show how much he has improved.
"I want to show them that I’ve been listening to what they have to say, that I’ve been working hard and that I’m productive," Joseph said. "I’ve been watching, I’ve been learning and, hopefully, they’ll think I had a productive day."