Striking out with the Scouts

MN varsity baseball players make a Players to Watch list for recruiters

Olivia Torrez, In-Depth Editor

Prep Baseball Report (PBR) is one of the country’s biggest independent high school baseball scouting services, focusing on providing year-round coverage. Based around the country, they help shine a spotlight on high school baseball players in different states.

“[PBR] offers great opportunities to play college baseball through showcases, tournaments, a website with player stats– like exit velocity and fastball velocity– and player evaluations by using the latest technology in the game,” Director of Scouting Nebraska for PBR Pascal Paul said.

PBR puts out statistics on high schoolers, results of games, and sets up tournaments. On Feb. 20, Paul put out a Player’s to Watch list on PBR’s website. It details player information across the state, each high school getting its own.

The Players to Watch list doesn’t grant any special favors to players whose names end up scrawled on it, it does the opposite:  whoever winds up on this list is now seen as a leader on their team with responsibilities to help other players and to their team.

“[Making the list] made me happy because I know that I can be one of the good players on the team and that I can be a leader on the team too,” junior Will Henry said. “Even though there are kids who are committed [to colleges], I have to be a leader with them as well.”

Henry is on MN’s varsity baseball team starting this spring. He’s been playing baseball since he was five years old. As a first-year varsity player, he’s looking forward to his spring season.

“[Making this list] is an accomplishment for sure. Our coach selected me for this, so it’s really an honor to be on it and I’m thankful for it,” Henry said.

Cork selects varsity members for PBR’s list every year. This year, out of the 50 players in the program, 21 made it to varsity and 13 made it on the list.

“[Making this list] shows me my gauge of achievements and how far I’ve come since being a little kid on the diamond, to going on to college and just getting better,” senior Cameron Pickens said. “I was excited. Really excited [when I found out I made the list]. It got me even more excited for the spring season and what’s to come.”

Pickens is a varsity member and is committed to Concordia University in Seward, NE, where he plans to keep playing baseball after his graduation.

Pickens has been playing baseball since he was four years old; his senior year marks the fifteenth year he’s played.

“[Making this list] isn’t too big of a deal to me, but it’s pretty cool that our coaches think that I’ll be a good player this year. So I hope to live up to that,” junior Brayden Gum said.

Gum is a varsity baseball player this spring.  He has been playing baseball since he was five and has aspirations of UNO or UNL once he graduates.

“I’m ready to get at it. Just ready to play some baseball. Our spring season was canceled when COVID hit, and things have been picking back up, so I’ve been playing wherever and whenever I can,” Gum said.

As their season continues, varsity players hope to work together, help each other, and grow as a team.

“I’m excited about this spring season, but I’m also saddened to see my last season. Mostly, I’m excited to see what we can do,” Pickens said.