Baseball Hotbeds: Metro Areas Dominate Texas
The image of a fireballing Texas pitcher who works on the farm before school in the morning and then dominates on the mound in the evening is a long enduring one.
But nowadays, it’s something of a misnomer. Hard-throwing Texas pitchers are still drafted year after year, but most likely they are going to be found in the major cities of Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin—and the suburbs that surround those cities.
Houston has been especially productive, producing more pro players over the past decade than half the states in the country.
Texas has some of the same advantages seen in other warm-weather hotbeds like California and Florida. The combination of excellent summer travel teams plus highly competitive high school baseball in the spring (especially in the major cities) gives players plenty of chances to refine their skills against top competition. It also ensures those players get plenty of exposure to college recruiters and scouts.
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The 23-year-old righthander has gotten valuable experience pitching against advanced hitters at the alternate site while he awaits a possible big league call.
And scouts get chances all the time during the spring to watch top hitters face top pitchers. Seeing hitters square off against a Forrest Whitley, Shane Baz, Beau Burrows or Michael Kopech provides scouts rare opportunities to evaluate hitters in spring games where the talent matches or exceeds what they’llface in their first year in pro ball.
Texas also benefits from having excellent instruction in part because success breeds success. When one generation of pro players retires, many of them stay around the game. When Cavan Biggio, now playing in the Blue Jays system, was in high school, his coach was his father, Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. While few coaches have Biggio’s pedigree, the state of Texas has plenty of coaches with pro playing experience that filters on to the next generation.