Major League Baseball and USA Baseball announced that the Breakthrough Series is expanding to four regional locations this year, thereby showcasing approximately 200 players, which is more than double the annual number of players under the previous format.
The Breakthrough Series is designed to showcase talented players who may not have received the attention their ability warrants to professional scouts and college recruiters. It will be held between July 19 and July 28.
Many elements of the Breakthrough Series will remain the same, with its focus on educating players on and off the field, but the event will be much larger in scope. The Breakthrough Series was held at single locations over the last six years and hosted between 60 and 80 players annually. But the regional-based structure beginning this year will provide more individualized attention for participants and greater exposure to talent evaluators.
"The Breakthrough Series continues to be an excellent opportunity for Major League scouts and college coaches to evaluate some of the nation's best amateur players from urban areas," MLB Scouting Bureau Director Frank Marcos said. "This new format of regional events will now provide a greater opportunity to scout more players than any previous year of the event. The MLB Scouting Bureau is excited for the chance to identify and evaluate these players on behalf of Major League Baseball and USA Baseball.”
The players who participate in the event will be recommended by the MLB Scouting Bureau, USA Baseball, MLB Urban Youth Academies and the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. The event will be free of charge to those invited participants, who will receive daily presentations from current and former Major League Baseball players, professional scouts, college administrators and other professionals in baseball. Workouts and double-headers will be conducted at each location.
Participants in the event have had a prominent impact on the draft. More than 40 players in the 2012 and 2013 drafts have played at the Breakthrough Series, including four first-round picks: Courtney Hawkins, Victor Roache, Addison Russell and Dominic Smith.
The four locations that the events will be held at are the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California, MCU Park (home of the Brooklyn Cyclones of the short season New York Penn League) in Brooklyn, New York, Pirate City (the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) in Bradenton, Florida and the P&G MLB Urban Youth Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Previously the Breakthrough Series had been held at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California (2008-2009), USA Baseball’s National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., (2010-2012), and the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Houston, Texas (2013).