Poor Weather Limits Looks For Cold-Weather Draft Prospects
By the start of May, shortstop Brice Turang’s swing, defense, speed and makeup have all been analyzed, dissected and discussed for months.
As a Southern California kid, Turang’s team started playing in early February. He played in national high school tournaments in March and continued to play through April in a lead-up to the playoffs.
But if general managers, special assistants and crosscheckers wanted to analyze potential first-round pick Jarred Kelenic, they were just getting started as Turang’s season was wrapping up.
High school players playing in the Upper Midwest and Northeast are used to getting off to a later start than the rest of the country, but the cold weather and snow that stretched into mid-April has put them even further behind this year. Kelenic, a Wisconsin native, didn’t get his first games outdoors until after Tax Day.
Kelenic had a couple of hitless games in front of significant numbers of scouts and upper-level front office types in his first games of the season.For someone like Turang, that would be a minor setback. For Kelenic, he has very little time to reinforce the notion that he’s worthy of an early first-round pick.
“Now he has a huge target on his back and three weeks to prove himself,” said one area scout who has been scouting Kelenic.
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The weather this spring is going to have an even bigger impact on the players who are less highly regarded than Kelenic, who is a definite first-round pick who everyone will make time to see. But with many teams trying to chase good weather by playing on the same days, there are only so many places scouts, crosscheckers and special assistants can be. With most teams reluctant to draft a player in the top 10 rounds unless they have been crosschecked, some of the middle-tier high school prospects from cold-weather states may end up making it to college because there were a series of snowstorms that pelted the Midwest in April.
“Small-school kids have gotten screwed,” said another area scout. “Normally they haven’t gotten looks by now, but if everyone is chasing the same Wednesday where it’s warm, then you have to pick your spots.”