Future Stars Series Brings Together Top High School Talent
The third annual Future Stars Series kicks off this weekend in Boston, an event that brings together some of the top talent in the United States and around the world.
The 2019 edition of the event, which is put on by New Balance Baseball and Program 15, will take place at Fenway Park and pits 25 of the top high school players in the United State against 25 prep players from Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
“The idea was never to make it just domestic,” said Jeremy Booth, the CEO of the Future Star Series and Program 15. “Because it’s a global game . . . it’s such a big part of baseball.”
The Future Stars Series began by trying to help professional players with their development and evolved into an event that attempts to bridge the gap with amateur players to help them realize their full potential.
“We just want to help players develop and advance,” Booth said. “Whether that’s personally, whether that’s professionally, as far as on the field or off the field. We started out with player development with pro guys first, then went into it with amateurs and figuring out which data made sense to use and which didn’t. Figuring out what had correlations where, so we could quiet a lot of that noise that people were looking at and really help them focus on stuff that was going to advance them. All with the eye of building people into roles that have value.”
Like many events and organizations in the high school baseball industry in 2019, the emphasis at the Future Stars Series is being placed fully on player development. A three-day event that takes place from Friday, Sept. 20 to Sunday, Sept. 22, players will go through the typical routine that includes batting practice, defensive work and several games.
But players will also get access to more information about their own game and ways they can improve it moving forward, including traditional scouting reports that will be written on each player as well as data that comes from more progressive technologies.
“We do stuff like Motus testing,” Booth said. "And that’s not necessarily the sleeves, that’s the Motus One. That’s like your athletic understanding, and it’s all the player’s information. It’s all them. We’re not taking that and flipping it to anybody. Are you tight in your groin? How are your hamstrings working? Things that allow them to understand themselves as an athlete. And then there’s an action plan that comes from that.
“We do stuff with vision testing. Visual Edge is a part of this. That will be able to give them, not just the evaluation, which they’ve already had at some point this year, but more of a progress report as well as a development action plan to go forward as well to sharpen their eyes. Your eyes are tied to so much. And one of the best things about working with Visual Edge is being able to understand the profiles of what plays center field? What kind of vision is in center? What kind of vision is at second base? How does that translate? Because that helps build a role and helps get the most out of a player as well. So we’re able to give them that feedback.
“So these three days are about seeing where you stand. This is where you were six months ago or three months ago or a month ago. This is how far we can get you, and this is the next piece to do that.”
The Future Stars Series is also supported by an advisory board that includes 25 different members of major league clubs, including scouting directors, pro scouts, amateur scouts, international scouts and coaches at various levels who lend their expertise to the selection and development of the players.
Fourteen players from the inaugural Future Stars Series event in 2017 went on to be drafted the following year in 2018, including first-round picks Bo Naylor and Grayson Rodriguez. The field looks strong again this year and includes four top-20 players in the 2020 high school class, including righthander Mick Abel, outfielders Dylan Crews, Zac Veen and Petey Halpin.
Outfielder Braylon Bishop is also shaping up to be one of the top prospects in the 2021 class.
“I’m excited for the kids to walk away better than they got here,” Booth said. “And I’m excited for them to continue to blaze a trail for the ones who come behind them. I think there was a point in this game where we got away from what is best for the player.
“You can’t lose sight of the fact that they are kids and they are families and there are going to be far more things that these guys go do after their playing career than just being on the field. And we’ve all lived that. . . . We want to make sure we are leaving these guys better than they found it, and that’s what I’m most excited for.”
Below you can find the complete rosters for the National and World Teams.
- Nate Clow, SS
- Michael Brooks, IF
- Zac Veen, OF
- Tommy Troy, SS
- Kyle Russell, SS
- Koen Moreno, RHP
- Mac Guscette, C
- Nick Griffin, LHP
- Ricky Tiedemann, LHP
- Hayden Durke, RHP
- Mick Abel, RHP
- Petey Halpin, OF
- Jake DeLeo, OF
- Ian Moller, C/3B
- Wyatt Tucker, RHP
- Marco Raya, RHP
- Justin Lange, RHP/OF
- Markevian Hence, RHP
- Josh Pearson, 1B/3B
- Dylan Crews, OF
- Nate Wohlgemuth, RHP
- Jackson Nezuh, RHP
- Brandon Clarke, LHP
- Bryce Behmer, C
- Braylon Bishop, OF
- Jessiel Garcia, OF (Puerto Rico)
- Kristin Munroe, SS (Bahamas)
- Irvin Escobar, C (Puerto Rico)
- Fernando Zambrano, RHP (Mexico)
- Mario Gomez, C (Mexico)
- Ismael De Jesus, SS (Colombia)
- Yuta Tsuboi, RHP/OF (Japan)
- Sabin Ceballos, 3B (Puerto Rico)
- Joseph Gonzalez, RHP (Puerto Rico)
- Luis Hernandez, C (Puerto Rico)
- Jack Seward, RHP (Canada)
- Abnel Cera, OF (Dominican Republic)
- Cody Rodwell, OF/1B (Australia)
- Luis Valdez, LHP (Mexico)
- Daniel De La Cruz, RHP (Dominican Republic)
- David Calabrese, OF (Canada)
- Ricardo Estrada, LHP (Mexico)
- Alexander Ayala Jr., LHP (Panama)
- Jose Izarra, SS (Venezuela)
- Roque Salinas, OF/1B (Mexico)
- Cristian Pimentel, RHP (Dominican Republic)
- Shota Yamada, RHP (Japan)
- Angel Salas, OF (Dominican Republic)
- Megumi Fukuda, RHP (Japan)
- Peter Vazquez, SS (Puerto Rico)
New Balance Future Stars Series Is A Cure For The 'Yeah, Buts'
For U.S. Elite Baseball director Mark Helsel, perhaps the most valuable facet of the New Balance Future Stars Series is its solution for cases of what he called “the yeah, buts.”
“College coaches and pro scouts [say], ‘We like this guy, but…’” Helsel said.
U.S. Elite, like the rest of the Future Star Series field, is rife with talent. Among the club’s U-17 roster is 6-foot-3 class of 2020 left-handed pitcher Magdiel Cotto, a commit to national powerhouse the University of South Carolina.
Other NCAA recruits and future MLBers dot the lineups taking to Texas for the event. Part of Future Stars’ intrigue, however, is in the evaluations pinpointing areas for improvement in high-level prospects’ games.
“Some kids are really good at something but don’t realize the weakness in their game might keep them from getting where they want to go,” said Helsel. “We’ll take that number not as a negative, but [rather] this is golden information. We’re going to take this home and fix this number.”
“In our program, we’re all about honesty and accuracy,” Helsel added. “And the evaluations [at Future Stars] that are legit, not just telling people what they want to hear.”
Both the Future Stars Series and U.S. Elite have proven adept at preparing players for the next step, whether to college or the pros. Recent Future Stars alumni include 2018 MLB draftee Grayson Rodriguez, the No. 11 overall pick.
U.S. Elite products Brett Kinneman -- an NC State standout and current member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization -- and Niko Hulsizer, a Morehead State grad now with the Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, were both selected in that same 2018 draft. Such healthy representation on draft weekend across the two entities provides testament to the development process.
Development is an integral part in the overall goal of helping players move up, but talent and ability are vital pillars in their own right. To that end, the Future Stars Series is an opportunity for U.S. Elite and other clubs’ players to strut their stuff.
“There are guys who impact the game with their bat, there are guys who have absolute bazookas from the outfield. We’re going to make sure we let college coaches know,” Helsel said. “[Scouts] are all looking for certain types of players. We’re going to promote the tools the guys [have].”
Each facet of the Future Stars Series adds up to one number for Helsel: 10.
“It should be some great exposure for our players,” he said. “That’s how you create an event that’s a 10 on a scale of 10.”
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Catcher Kids SX (Future Stars Series)
Catcher's glove suitable for kids Under 12.
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The Future of Player Development and Exposure
‘Program 15’ has joined forces with the ‘Crossroads Baseball Series’ to launch a true grassroots player identification and development infrastructure across the U.S. for selection to the ‘New Balance Future Stars Series’ Evaluation & Development Combines, U.S. Regional Scout Series, and International Series.
The New Balance Future Stars Series (NBFSS) is the global initiative between New Balance and Program 15 to elevate the game of baseball by providing amateur baseball players the opportunity to reach their full potential through the training, development, and guidance of former MLB players, scouts, and coaches. Players are evaluated on their skill set, projected for future development, and in-depth reports are written and available for college and pro scouts across the country to view. These trusted reports from experienced scouts have attracted the attention of 100+ top travel organizations across North America that are currently involved in NBFSS National Team Events and Tournaments.
With the addition of the Crossroads Baseball Series (CBS), individual players from High School and Travel Programs across the U.S. have an opportunity to be identified at the state and local levels. CBS events promote 'Coach Recommended' High School baseball players to College Coaches to aid student athletes in their development and recruiting. College coaches scout, evaluate and/or instruct at all CBS events. 1000+ CBS players have moved on to play at over 200+ Colleges.
The Scouting Process:
Program 15 has assigned 15 Regional Scouting Directors across the U.S. to identify the best baseball players to attend the New Balance Future Stars Series Development Combines, U.S. Regional Scout Series, and International Series each year.
Players from local and state CBS Select Series exposure events, and players identified at the NBFSS Team Nationals, are selected to attend invite-only NBFSS Development Combines and the U.S. Regional Scout Series. These events feature a pro-style instructional format inclusive of game play as well as on field instruction break-out sessions with Program 15 coaches who have amassed over 10 World Series rings.
From these invite-only events, players are hand-selected for the highest honor of representing their country at the New Balance Future Stars International Series that features 50 Top Players Nationally and Internationally.
Equal Player Opportunity:
The NBFSS is heavily involved with evaluating and developing D1 and Pro Draft caliber players from top identified amateur travel organizations across the nation. In addition, CBS promotes 1000’s of college recommended amateur players ‘not’ on these nationally ranked teams to give equal opportunity for players to be ‘discovered’ and ‘developed’. The goal is to provide an outlet for all college or pro potential players to improve their skill set and gain exposure at the next level; whether that be NAIA, JUCO, D3, D2, D1, or Professionally.
CBS currently has 100’s of Area Scouts (High School and Travel Coaches) recommending players from across 50+ regions of the country. They project to double that to 100+ regions by 2019 to build what will be recognized by NBFSS as a high-level grassroots player identification infrastructure.
Bringing the NBFSS and CBS together creates the ultimate player development and identification series for ‘individual players’ and ‘teams’ across the country at both the college and professional level.
HS and Travel Coaches: Recommend a Player at www.CrossroadsBaseballSeries.com.
ABOUT PROGRAM 15: PROGRAM 15 boasts a faculty and staff that includes multiple Major League All-Stars and World Series veterans responsible for executing the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series, an initiative between the two organizations to elevate the game of baseball by providing amateur players across all economic levels an opportunity to reach their full potential through the training, development, and guidance of former MLB players, scouts, and coaches. For more information on Program15 and the Future Stars Series, visit www.futurestarsseries.com or @program15bb and @ftrstarsseries on twitter.
ABOUT CROSSROADS BASEBALL SERIES: Indianapolis-based Crossroads Baseball Series, founded in 2008, promotes 'Coach Recommended' high school baseball players to College Coaches and Pro Scouts to aid them in the process of playing at the next level. By utilizing top technology and partnering with innovative companies across the country, Crossroads gives players the opportunity to promote themselves before, during, and after each baseball exposure event. 1600+ College baseball programs can actively follow Crossroads players and 200+ College Coaches attend Crossroads events to instruct, evaluate, and scout throughout the year. For the latest Crossroads Baseball Series updates, follow @Crossroads_BB on Twitter or visit http://www.CrossroadsBaseballSeries.com.
ABOUT NEW BALANCE: New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is the only major company to make or assemble more than 4 million pairs of athletic footwear per year in the USA, which represents a limited portion of our US sales. Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we label our shoes Made in the USA. New Balance owns five factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 5,000 associates around the globe, and in 2015 reported worldwide sales of $3.72 billion. To learn more about New Balance, please visit www.newbalance.com and for the latest press information please visit http://newbalance.newsmarket.com. Keep up-to-date with all of the latest New Balance news on Twitter @NewBalance and newbalance on Facebook.
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