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'The sky is the limit' for Dream Series seniors

01/21/2020, 7:15am PST
By www.mlb.com

Tim Scarlett

Video coverage including an interview with Capo's Tim Scarlett can be found at:https://www.mlb.com/news/dream-series-seniors-grow-with-program

 

'The sky is the limit' for Dream Series seniors

 

By Jesse Sanchez  @JesseSanchezMLB

January 19, 2020

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The son of a former Major Leaguer, Marquis Grissom Jr. was born into baseball.

Grissom spent the first part of his life learning the game. He has spent the last 3 1/2 years fine-tuning those skills through MLB developmental programs like the Dream Series.

In a few months, Grissom will graduate from Georgia’s Counterpane School and then take the lessons he has learned to another level.

“Finally, it’s my senior year and I’m ready to take the next step in baseball,” the right-handed pitcher said. “But I’m very thankful for these experiences. I wouldn’t be here if not for that.”

Grissom is one of 10 high school seniors at this week’s Dream Series who have participated in every MLB developmental program dating back to their early teens. The Dream Series, a program run by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball, is designed to develop and diversify the talent pool in the sport that runs in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Other MLB developmental programs include the Hank Aaron Invitational and the Breakthrough Series. MLB also has youth academies in Chicago, Cincinnati, California (Compton), Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Texas (Arlington) and Washington, D.C.

“We’ve seen some of these seniors since they were 13, 12, and they’ve stuck with the program,” said Tony Reagins, MLB's executive vice president of baseball and softball development. “I remember seeing these young men when they were frail and skinny and you’re thinking, ‘He’s got a long way to go.’ Then you see him 3 1/2 years later, body is starting to fill out and they’re starting to understand how to play the game. The sky is going to be the limit for a lot of these kids.”

Joining Grissom on the special list of seniors participating in this year’s Dream Series are outfielders Chase Davis and Tervell Johnson, first baseman Michael Brown, right-handers Tim Scarlett, Tyler Roche and Ty Collins along with left-hander Isaiah Coupet. Shortstop T.J. McCants and first baseman/outfielder John Morgan have also participated in MLB developmental programs for almost four years.

So far, Grissom has committed to play collegiately at Georgia Tech, Davis to the University of Arizona, Brown to the University of Washington, Scarlett to San Diego State and Roche to St. John's. Additionally, Coupet committed to Ohio State, McCants to Ole Miss, Johnson to Georgia Tech and Morgan to LSU.

“It’s so rewarding to watch the young men grow into men,” said Del Matthews, MLB's senior director of baseball development. “It’s what we’re here for, it’s why we’re here for these young men, to be able to watch their process and watch them continue to put in the hard work, and then get a college scholarship or have the opportunity to get drafted, it’s the icing on the cake. At the end of the day, we’ll be even more happy when we see some of these young men graduating college and really pouring into the program. That cycle is what makes this program really successful.”

The Dream Series continued on Sunday with early infield work with a group of coaches that included Braves third-base coach Ron Washington. There were two sessions of on-field drills for the pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders split between the morning and afternoon. The day ended with a players’ roundtable session and another set of one-on-one meetings with the coaches. The event concludes on Monday with more early work on the infield and in the cages followed by a final session of drills.

“The things they tell you here, you take everywhere you go,” Roche said. “It’s not like you learn it here and go back and forget it. What they preach here, you go back home and try to execute the game plan we get here.”

 

Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

 

 

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