Former Blue Jay speedster Crouse signs with Indy Barnstormers

01/28/2016 2:23 AM - Devo

Long-time Toronto Blue Jays prospect Michael Crouse has signed with the independent Lancaster Barnstormers.

Crouse, who has been off the radar this past year due to injury, is looking to springboard back in to the eyes scouts in 2016. Even though he may not be on an affiliated roster come opening day, at 23 years old, it's only a matter of time before he catches the eyes of scouts. With a resume that includes a bronze medal at the 2011 Baseball World Cup and a gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games, he brings a winning attitude to a team familiar with winning.

In seven minor league seasons, Crouse is a career .243 hitter with 24 triples and 57 home runs. Speed is something you can't teach and with a stolen base success rate of 75 percent (129/173), this can only benefit him in the end. Crouse does sport an extremely high K% of 27.6, but Barnstormers manager Butch Hobson looks at this as a great opportunity for a very talented player who has all the tools to be a very successful.

"Mike is very talented and was a prospect in the Blue Jays organization," Hobson said in a statement. "He is big and strong, plus he runs really well. He's going to be a valuable outfielder for us."

Not a household name, but the Barnstormers have had their share of players use their time with them as springboard back to the affiliated game (Scott PattersonMatt WatsonJerome Williams). With everything being even, Crouse is in a perfect spot to showcase his skills to all those who may be interested. The two-time Atlantic League champions are lucky have such a talented player in their midst, though it might only be a matter of time before he's gone.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 

UP17 provides MLB quality instruction at your fingertips

01/22/2016 1:40 AM - Devo

A growing list of Major League players will now have the opportunity to critique aspiring baseball players via the click of a button.

UP17 is focused on providing Major League quality instruction to all its clients, specifically on the fundamentals of the game and the skills that you will make you successful. UP17 is a one-on-one professional experience without leaving the comfort of your own home. In addition, you can take solace in the fact that the pedigree each professional coach displays comes from years upon years of professional experience, including a resume only the top in their field can present.

Players who are looking for critique on their mechanics can upload and submit hitting or pitching videos to the UP17 platform. A UP17 coach (all coaches affiliated with UP17 have Major League service) will be in receipt of the video and provide the ambitious player with a telastrated breakdown of their video (with voiceover), while also delivering specifically tailored notes and takeaways. Coaches will also be able to provide players with UP17 Drills to assist in their overall development. Upon each submission, the player will receive a Certificate of Authenticity.

According to UP17 Spokesman and two-time National League MVP, Dale Murphy. These ex-pros are looking to help young players become the best at their craft.

"We worked with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to assemble a powerful team of ProCoaches. These guys have a true passion for the game and a real interest in seeing young players develop into the best they can be."

UP17's roster of coaches includes 12 former MLB'ers with over 111 years of experience. They can provide nothing but the best to those looking to improve upon their current skill set.

John Doherty

John Frascatore

Toby Hall

Nick Green

Paul LoDuca

Charlie Hayes

Denny Hocking

Desi Relaford

Joe Oliver

Tanyon Sturtze

Matt Wise

Anthony Telford

Brian Tollberg

The unique UP17 application is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Lesson packages are priced at $75 (or $65/ea. when purchased in groups of 6). Looking for more information?  A UP17 demo video can be found here.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 

Toronto Blue Jays take a flyer on durable Independent arm

01/18/2016 12:20 AM - Devo

The Toronto Blue Jays, almost always known for their powerful bats, have made a splash in the arms department. Last week the Jays made headlines by signing ex-National, Drew Storen to a one-year $8.375mm contract. In a little known move, they also inked a durable independent arm from the American Association's Kansas City T-Bones' Bobby Doran. 

The reigning American League East champs never rest on their laurels and this isn't the first time they dug deep for pitching help. It wasn't that long ago that they spotted independent standouts Mike Benacka of the Laredo Lemurs and Quebec Capitales lefty-specialist Tony Davis. 

Doran, a relatively unknown in the baseball world, has spent his share of time in the minor leagues. Originally selected by the Houston Astros in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft from Texas Tech, he hasn't put up spectacular numbers. With the majority of his six minor league seasons spent with Astros affiliates, his career record sits at 45-28 with an alarming 4.81 ERA. In addition to pedestrian SO9 (5.9) and BB9 (3.0), what makes anyone think that there's an upside to this? In between all those crooked numbers, Doran has produced some very solid seasons, including two where he had double-digit wins (2012/2013) and a WHIP that came in under 1.3. 

There are skeptics who may not think of independent baseball as a legitimate source for talent, in actuality, it has produced some real gems over the years including Daniel Nava, D.J. Carrasco, Steve Delabar, Brad Ziegler, and has also revived the careers of former first-round picks like Scott Kazmir. Doran is another example of a discarded player who took his release from the Chicago White Sox and used it as an opportunity to impress. In his first Indy season, Doran became the leader of T-Bones pitching staff. He led them in starts (20), wins (8), and his 113 innings were 26 more than anyone else.

The everyday fan might look at this deal and think it serves no purpose. For those on the inside, especially the Jays who have an uncanny knack for finding talent, they look at this as another chance to take someone from obscurity to an asset who can defy the odds.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 

Cricket star Kieran Powell takes his shot at Major League Baseball

01/12/2016 6:14 AM - Devo

Kieran Powell is one of the most talented batsmen in cricket. At age 25, he’s played at the highest professional level including his Twenty20 debut at age 16. Powell is also one of only 81 players in history who have scored centuries in both innings of a Test match. The first century was recorded in 1909.

It was recently announced the Powell, who has dealt with some contract disputes, has decided to take some time off from the game and will attempt to transition to professional baseball. He peaked the interest of scouts immediately and has already has some tryouts, including with the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets.

The GM’s Perspective had the opportunity to talk to Powell about his foray in to baseball and the preparation needed to succeed in a second professional sport.

The GM’s Perspective: What led you to the game of baseball and how did you get discovered?

Kieran Powell: My agent had sent some footage of me off to some Major League teams and the then, Vice President of International Scouting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bob Engle, got in contact and came to watch me. He arranged for other members of his department to see me also and a senior colleague in his scouting team suggested that I come to the US to get proper baseball training.

I thought this was a great opportunity I couldn’t pass up. To play international cricket and also have the chance to play Major League Baseball is what dreams are made of. It’s an amazing story. We talked about it and decided to let’s go full on with it. To get the proper training I had to come to the US, so I’ve been getting the required training to make sure I drop the cricket habits and pick up the baseball habits. It’s been coming along really nicely. I’ve had multiple tryouts with quite a couple of big teams already, including the New York Mets, who invited me to their spring training facility last Saturday (January 9th).

GMs: Being a former professional baseball player myself, I know the pressures and preparation that go along with it. I’m definitely interested in the preparation for your training and what exactly has gone into it, especially the cricket swing compared to swinging a bat.

KP: They’re the same and they’re not the same. Cricket is more low to high. As you know, being a former professional yourself, a baseball swing is trying to stay on a level plain. It’s changing the angles and getting used to that angle of the swing. That’s the major change. Your body just falls into the natural position. Every now and then, like every other baseball player, your body won’t always be in the right position when you take a swing. For the most part, it falls in to the right position and knows when and what to do.

GMs: How long has the transition taken?

KP: The Dodgers scout, Mike Tosar had arranged for me to train out in California since the late summer. We then decided to come out to the IMG Academy in Bradenton as all the facilities I need are there and I have also been training with several professional athletes including baseball players. Quite a few of the major league guys have come in and have been training with me as well. I have been exposed to a lot more at an earlier stage than I would have expected which is great as I’ve been able to see how they work and how they prepare.

GMs: If things do go well and the opportunity presents itself, will you leave cricket behind and become a full time baseball player or can you manage being a two sport athlete?

KP: Right now baseball is the first and main priority. All my energy is focused on baseball and making sure I give myself the best possible chance. If an opportunity does materialize (we are currently negotiating with certain teams), that we think is suitable, I will give myself the best possible chance to progress through each level to get to the Major Leagues. Right now baseball is my main priority and I am training 7 days a week and giving it my all, as with anything I do.

GMs: With baseball going global just like every other sport, people who follow will be paying attention to your baseball career. This could allow a whole new group of people to enjoy the game of baseball and vice versa.

KP: As you said, I’m bringing new fans to both worlds. Cricket has a following of two billion globally and whichever team decides take the opportunity of signing me, they’ll have a massive influx of new fans trying to see what’s happening with Kieran. They’ll realize that my interest in the US game is not a temporary fancy, I am extremely serious about this. At this point you will also have the US baseball market that will hopefully take an interest in cricket because as you said, both are such global sports.

GMs: You recently had tryouts with the Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Mets and you have an exclusive Scout Tryout Day coming up this week for which the Dodgers, Cubs, Tigers and Pirates are just some of the clubs that are confirmed to attend. Do the tryouts get easier each time? And does the pressure to perform subside as you get more experience under your belt?

KP: I’m used to pressure after playing international cricket for a number of years. The pressure is more self-imposed than anything else. I have such high expectations in anything that I do that I put all the pressure on myself. There’s no actual pressure from any particular team or scouts. They tell me to stay relaxed and enjoy the moment.

GMs: You played professional sports for years and now you’re expanding in to a new sport, it’s the perfect attitude. That’s what people need. Whether it’s the business world or the sports world, you have to be on an even keel and keep things in perspective.

KP: I hope the fans get behind me and see the effort that I’m putting in to this. I’m not just pushing to make it and be average. I don’t want to be average I want to be very very good.

For more information on Powell or to keep up to date on his MLB tryouts, please feel follow him on Twitterfacebook and Instagram

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 
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