A Developmental Baseball Club in Oviedo, FL


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Great Advice From Rays’ Evan Longoria

This a short video with excellent advice for players, coaches and parents.  This young man is one of the best players in the game of baseball today and he gives us some quick tips on his mindset, routine & daily approach.  Hope you enjoy.

 

AB

 

 

 


Staying Healthy on Mound Not Just About Pitch Counts

16th February

By Mike Cather, former MLB Pitcher
Much has been made about safe pitch counts for young pitchers but it is only a part of the equation.  Factors that help one stay injury free include:  Having a consistent shoulder exercise program; Resting enough between outings; and paying close attention to pitches thrown per inning.  A good shoulder program is essential not only for building strength in the rotator cuff, but also the maintenance of the cuff over the course of a season.  These exercises should be done 2-3X per week with day 1 being immediately following work in a game or bullpen.  Make sure recovery time is allowed between these exercises as well.
The next major factor in maintaining arm health is rest.  Rest is just as important as pitch counts but is usually the most dangerous breakdown for the throwing athlete.  Most … Read More »



Stay Square and Trust Your Hands

There were two events that occurred in 1998 that seriously affected my attempt to rise to the big leagues in the Texas Ranger organization.   I had signed with them in 1995 as a non-drafted free agent and by 1998, I was the starting 1st baseman in AAA, Oklahoma City. I hit .314 that year, Will Clark (the big league first baseman) was moving on, and things were looking pretty good for me, so I thought.  But in June of that year, the Rangers drafted a hot shot 1st baseman, Carlos Pena, and that winter; they signed All-Star first baseman Rafael Palmero, to a 5-year, 45 million dollar contract.  Not good news for the AAA first baseman.  The news got worse.  The next Spring Training, the minor league staff asked me to mentor the young Pena, who was fresh … Read More »


A Magical Season

30th January

I remember it like it was yesterday, sitting in Chris Russo’s house during a pre-season, player’s only barbecue.  It was 1990, and the Miami Herald was saying that the Killian Cougars were the team to beat in Dade County. All of us had grown up in the area, either playing together or against each other in the Khory Leagues of Miami.  Now was our time to shine in the High School Ranks and we used this barbecue as a way to bond and discuss any issues we had before the season started. After we ate, we all convened in the living room, where each player stood up, one by one, and said something.  It was a very powerful afternoon, where a bunch of young men came together and formed a TEAM.
We had some talent on this club, no doubt.  Our … Read More »



The Science of Hitting – Practice, Practice, Practice

27th January

It has been a while since I dug back into “The Science of Hitting” by Ted Williams.  I first read this book in my 3rd or 4th year in professional baseball.  It was very helpful in understanding how the Baseball Swing works and how to make a proper move to the ball.  “The Science of Hitting” and all of the teachings from the best hitter that ever walked the earth, Ted Williams, has become a basis for the way I teach and develop hitters.  Please read the quote below from pages 18 & 19 & notice how applicable it is for today’s ballplayer.  Enjoy.

 

AB

 

“Get in the game, know what is going on, know the reason when that pitcher takes bread out of your mouth.  That makes sense to me.  And then to practice, practice, practice.  I said I hit until … Read More »



Every Pitch Is Your Last

9th January

We commenced our Advance Hitting School last night in Oviedo, FL and my side kick instructor, Houston Astros Minor League Hitting Coach, Joel Chimelis, showed me the clip below.  Shin-Soo Choo, new Texas Rangers Outfielder had a monster season last year.  He has always been a gifted hitter and put up solid numbers in the Big Leagues.  As hitting instructors, we are always looking for an edge or something to pass along to our students that can help them improve their game to be more consistent and productive.  Chimey loved Choo’s answer to the question regarding his hitting approach.  The difference maker for the year he had was that he took each at bat PITCH BY PITCH.  Putting himself in a mind set that each pitch that was coming was the last one he would ever see.  To me, that … Read More »



Does It Matter What Travel Team I Play For?

Tryouts for some of the heavy hitting travel ball teams have commenced for the 2014 Summer Season.  As a matter of fact, I believe that some of our players from the Fall will be trying out for different organizations.  People ask me all the time if that bothers me, losing players to other organizations.  The honest answer is NO.  Our program is based on Development – getting our players better – through trainings, practices, and professional instruction.  There is nothing more gratifying for me than taking a kid, working with him over time & seeing him get an opportunity to achieve his goals.  As a minor league manager, that is what we do everyday from Feb. to September.  I want players and families that buy into that mindset at the travel ball level.  Most travel organizations are “show up & … Read More »


Online Hitting School – Coming Soon

Starting in January, Baseball Pros Academy will offer an Online Hitting School.  Players & Coaches will be able to log in and view teachings in a step by step process to building a Major League Swing.  The lessons will be very similar to what is taught in our Hitting School with some of the best young players in the Central Florida Area.  Stay tuned for more information.  Below is a brief clip from a recent Hitting School session.
Coach Barkett


Player Development – Give it a Shot

3rd December

Baseball Pros Academy was established to make a difference in the lives of baseball players and their families in the Central Florida area by bringing a different philosophy to travel ball, a different voice.  Over time, our message has resonated with many & we have seen tremendous results with the players & parents that have bought in to our philosophy.  It is my pleasure to read the emails of thanks from different families that have experienced the process of “development first, winning second,” and have seen the results.  However, I am reminded from time to time, that the human element of wanting to be the “best” gets the better of some, and it can be easy to take our eyes off the goal.  Allow me to explain.

 

As a Dad of a 10 year old baseball player & a 12 … Read More »



AdvoCare Performance Elite Info

“Off Season” is here for baseball players of all ages and preparations are under way for the upcoming season.  Players should be working on their core strength, agility, speed & explosiveness.  Most high level athletes use nutritional supplements of some sort to complement their training.  Below are a couple of videos describing AdvoCare’s Performance Elite Products which are used by some of the top Athletes in the world.

 

 


Coach Nick Saban With Some Truth

12th November

Roll Tide….Coach Nick Saban gives one heck of a speech to some young players at a camp in Alabama.
 Pay Attention!!!

 

 

 



What to Do Next? – College Recruting

 Too many of young players with college baseball aspirations are wasting too much time waiting for the College Coach to come knocking on your door.  That does happen to some, and when it does, it usually means that he has a scholarship offer in his briefcase.  However, college baseball recruiting is very competitive for both players and coaches, so the more proactive you can be, the better your chances are to play at the next level.  I read this on Twitter the other day from the Associate Head Baseball Coach at the University of Memphis:

 

Russ McNickle @RussMcNickle

Only 11% of HS baseball players get an opportunity to play in college. Not an entitlement but a privilege. It should matter to them everyday.

 

So, if I get that math right, 1-2 players on each High School Baseball team, on a National Avg.  The good … Read More »


WHY CHARACTER MATTERS IN RECRUITING

3rd November

Posted By Kerry Brown, in Beyond Athletics

 

Most coaches will tell you that they recruit athletes based on three major factors.

 

1. Athletic Ability.
2. Academic Success.
3. Character.

 

For this particular article I want to focus on number 3, character, and why it matters in your recruiting. I have heard countless athletes say “if I’m good enough, none of the other stuff will matter”. In today’s recruiting world that is just not true anymore.

Character is more important than ever, and easier for coaches to gauge and research. In the world of social profiles and digital communications coaches can find out who you are as a person in a matter of seconds. However it doesn’t just take a digital profile to turn coaches off, be aware of how you act at all times. I will never forget when I was going through the recruiting process a coach from … Read More »



Junior College and Division II Baseball Programs

I wanted to provide some information to all of our parents and players interested in Junior College or Division II Baseball Programs.  I encourage all of our players interested in playing at the next level to do some research regarding where they want to go to school.  Get proactive in the process.  You cannot sit around and wait for recruiters to come knocking at your door.  Make a list of ten colleges you are interested in, and contact them.  Email them.  Ask for their recruiting questionnaire.  Fill it out.  Copy me or one of our BPA staff members on any emails and reference us so that we can help give recommendations.  Follow the process and it will stimulate activity. Stimulating activity will get you on the radar screen of a college baseball program.  The rest is up to how you … Read More »


BPA SENIOR DIVISION INFO

BPA 16U BLACK, BPA 16U WHITE, BPA 18U ORANGE (ORLANDO)
 
- PAYMENTS ARE DUE ON YOUR ACCOUNTS – IF YOU HAVE NOT MADE A PAYMENT, PLEASE TAKE CARE OF THEM AT THE LINK BELOW @ THURSDAY NIGHT’S TRAINING ON THIS WEEKEND AT THE LATEST.  PAY BPA DUES.  THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT OF OUR PROGRAM.  
 
- THE 16U BLACK & 18U ORANGE ARE HEADED TO VERO THIS WEEKEND.  YOUR SCHEDULE IS BELOW.  PLEASE CLICK THE LINK IF YOU NEED HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS.  

Fall Classic Schedule
 
- OR CALL DODGERTOWN AND ASK FOR GAYLE.  COACH MARTZ WILL BE STAYING ON CAMPUS.  
 
GOOGLE MAP OF DODGERTOWN

16U WHITE & 16U ORANGE PLUS 18U BLACK WILL BE PLAYING IN ST. PETERSBURG
 

16U - IBC SHOWCASE SCHEDULE

 
18U – IBC SHOWCASE SCHEDULE

MAP TO FIELDS

HOTEL ACCOMIDATIONS

- ORLANDO BOYS – WE … Read More »


16U Black Takes 2nd Place in Fall Nationals

Very Proud of Coach Martz and the BPA 16U Black who Finished 2nd in the Triple Crown Sports Fall National Championships this past weekend.  Great job fellas.  Way to go!  Making BPA proud!  #playerdevelopment

 


Hardball Classic In Vero Beach

9th October

Attention 16U BLACK – 18U ORANGE -

http://florida.ps-baseball.com/ - Prospect Select Website…..

Both of you will be playing in Vero Beach next weekend at the Hardball Classic.  This in an excellent tournament where there will be a college coach presence.  Please make sure that you are doing your work and preparing for the event.  Below is the hotel information for the event.  This is just an option, you can choose to stay elsewhere.  I think staying on campus would be a good experience for the boys.  I can work on hotel information if you are not interested in this option.  We were allowed another team in this tournament and wanted our 18U boys to get a shot.  Make sure you prepare!!!

 

Coach Barkett

 

The rates for next week’s tournament are:
Double/Double $79…2 Double beds, no fridge
Queen/Queen $99 …2 Queen beds, with fridge
Suite $ 129 … Read More »



Locations for BPA Teams This Weekend

18U Team will be playing at

 

The 16U Black Will be playing at

View Larger Map

16U White Playing at

View Larger Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BPA PICS OF THE DAY

25th September

Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins and former Jacksonville Suns Outfielder – Notice his head position and extension through the ball.  In order to maintain swing plane & get to extension, than a hitter must keep this head position.  Christian has tremendous hand eye coordination & a beautiful baseball swing.  Both can be developed in young hitters.


Maracay, Venezuela – Practice begins for the Tigres de Aragua.  I was a member of a Championship team there in the Winter of 2004.  The team’s first workout was today and the players are preparing for the Winter League which begins the middle of Oct.  That ballpark packs in over 20 thousand of the loudest, drunkest, most energetic baseball fans you have ever heard.  Tigres Campeon!



NCAA Eligibility

There is not a lot of time left in high school to get yourselves in the right position for college.  BPA will do all it can to help you prepare on the field but sometimes an athlete might overlook something off the field they need to do.  Here is a recent article about a potentially hidden pitfall that could impact eligibility.

 

http://www.ncsasports.org/blog/2013/08/15/ncaa-eligibility-blunders/?elq=8f8bfd6a571e43e1a590d6fb40b5256e&elqCampaignId=990

 

Here is a very Helpful Worksheet that goes over eligibility requirements for Division 1 and Division 2 Athletes. Important Info!!!

 

http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/eligibility_center/Quick_Reference_Sheet.pdf

 

Coach Martz


Stealing Signs

10th September

  Interesting incident last night in the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees game.
Showalter, Girardi have words in series opener
Accusations of sign stealing at center of on-field argument between skippers
Interestingly enough, a very similar issue happened in our last game of the season vs. the Mississippi Braves.  In the 3rd inning, with the bases loaded, our 4 hole hitter, Mark Canha hit a bases loaded 2b on a fastball right down the middle to put us ahead.  See below…
.
The next time Canha was up, the same runner, Austin Barnes, was on 2B as he was on Canha’s 2B earlier in the game.  With the count 2-1, the M-Braves manager went out to the mound, presumably to talk to his pitcher.  When he got there, he started yelling something at our base runner, Barnes, to the effect of we … Read More »



Giving Up the PED Guessing Game

by Gabe Kapler
Most of our writers didn’t enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we’ll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers, and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you’d like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Gabe Kapler spent parts of 12 years in the major leagues from 1998-2010, playing for the Tigers (1998-99), Rangers (2000-02), Rockies (2002-03), Red Sox (2003-06 – with a brief interlude in Japan), Brewers (2008) and Rays (2009-10). He also spent a year managing the Red Sox’ Single-A affiliate in Greenville. Follow … Read More »


6 Jacksonville Suns To the Big Leagues, So Far…..






Two Amazing Talents

21st August

I have been around the game of baseball a long time.  Very fortunate along the way to play with & against & manage/coach some great players.  This season, I had the privilege of managing Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick; both are
currently in the major leagues with The Miami Marlins.  Two young players with a lot of talent & athleticism
They were both raised well.  Good work ethic & aptitude.  They both make adjustments quickly for their age.  It was a pleasure to have them on our team and be their manager, and it will be a lot of fun to root for them both as we will all be watching them in the Big Leagues for a long time to come.  The picture you see is in the tunnel in Kodak, TN, right outside the dugout.  I had just taken … Read More »



Excellent Pitching Drills

One of the parts of the game that coaches need to really do a better job of teaching and developing, is pitching.  So many tournaments, so many innings, so many pitchers with horrible mechanics and arm action.  And, way too many arm injuries in young kids these days.  Why?  Overuse to win a piece of plastic and say you were the best that weekend (until the next).  Is epidemic of over use in young pitchers going to end or can we at least teach them the right way so to protect their arms.  The following video shows some simple, yet very effective drills to use for young pitchers.  We expect a lot of our young players in weekend tournaments, at least we can show them the right way.

 


Control Your Approach

15th August

All we can do is control our approach to the ball, is where we left off last time.  To me, one of the best examples of this I have ever seen, is David Ortiz.  I have known and been watching David Ortiz play, for a long time
In 1998, while playing for the Gigantes of Nordeste in the Dominican Winter League, I stayed at the Ambassador Hotel in Santo Domingo.  Therewas a not a hotel suitable for American players in San Francisco de Macoris, so we stayed two hours from our home stadium.  Home games were long days.  However, there were two teams in Santo Domingo, Licey, and Escogido.  So, for road games, the days were much better.  Anyway, that year the Escogido players were staying at my hotel and David and I were on the same floor and became friends.  … Read More »



A Message From Coach Barkett

BPA Perfect Game from baseballpros on Vimeo.


Bus Tour & Combine @ Baseball Grounds Update

We are about 3 weeks away from the Baseball Pros Academy Bus Tour & a month away from the Combine at the Baseball Grounds.  It has been a lot of fun being in touch with all of the college coaches in anticipation of both of our upcoming events.  The Bus Tour, June 13th-18th and the Combine, June 19th-20th, will give our current Baseball Pros Academy players as well as players from other programs to be seen and get intimate looks from college coaches.  The Bus Tour will stop for workouts at Georgia Southern, Elon, High Point & Mercer.  It will also visit schools like Duke, North Carolina State, South Carolina and many, many more.  We have about 25 spots remaining on the bus but they will go fast!
We will have a solid group of college coaches coming to … Read More »


The Natural

18th May

In 20 plus years of college and professional baseball, I have not seen a young hitter before like Christian Yelich.  At 21 years old, he is mature beyond his years in the batter’s box.  He is ready on time.  His mechanics are simple.  His hand-eye coordination is impeccable.  Below is a quick video of some of his early work in Spring Training.  Pay close attention to his rhythm and timing.  Notice how he is short to the ball but then creates length through the ball.  He is balanced and under control & his head stays still and quiet.

Coach Barkett

 

C:UsersABarkettDesktopMOV147 from baseballpros on Vimeo.



First Episode of the Andy Barkett Show


Back on the Road….

11th April

First trip of the year takes us to Huntsville, Alabama, Home of the Huntsville Stars, the Double-A Affiliate of the Milwaulkee Brewers.  We are here for the next 5 days and head to Pensacola for 5 more.  Road trips in the Southern League are long.  Last night’s trip was 9 hours.  Welcome to the Minor Leagues.  The Suns are off to a good start, we won 3 out of 5 from Jackson to open up the season.  Our pitching had been solid for the most part and we have swung the bats ok.  It will be interesting how the club responds away from home in a tough place to play.  The mental toughness of a player can really be seen when he is taken out of his comfort zone and expected to produce.  Some guys can’t do it.  Some guys … Read More »



Very Good Article for High School Players

http://prospectwire.com/pw/article.php?id=405&fb_action_ids=10151530803579640&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210151530803579640%22%3A163251277166168%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210151530803579640%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

Parents,

Please have your son read this article.  Baseball is fun, and fun is an important part of their development as they continue to play the game.  For the serious player who is really focused on playing at the next level (beyond high school), this article may save them some heartache.  Great points and good examples are made in the article.

What gets put out on social media never goes away and much like email can be misconstrued, many times tweets, Instagram, as well as Facebook posts can easily be misunderstood.  Any player who thinks only his friends are looking at his tweets, Instagram and Facebook is terribly mistaken.

This is definitely a time when better safe than sorry applies.

Thanks,
Ken


10 Ways to Show Sportsmanship

2nd April

Nobody likes to lose. It’s painful and sometimes heartbreaking. It is also every bit as important as winning. A strong character does not come from never experiencing sorrow. Character is built in life’s tough moments. How we handle ourselves during those times says a great deal about what kind of person we are. Proper sportsmanship teaches good behavior and builds strong character. Here are some ways to instill sportsmanship in your child.

Do Not Be That Parent
We all know that parent. Some of us are that parent. The one who screams at the refs from the bleachers. The parent who curses out the coach in front of his child because his kid didn’t get played. The one who ridicules the players who aren’t as gifted as others. That parent is an embarrassment and disgrace. Set the example for your child. Unless you … Read More »



Busy Week

14th March

It has been a very busy last ten days in Marlins’ camp.  My experience ended in Major League camp the night we played the Venezuelan World Baseball Classic team.  What a lineup they had.  It was pretty neat to watch them play from the dugout.  1-9 proven major league players.  Impressive to watch them perform.  I was also a bit surprised that Venezuela didn’t get out of the first round of the WBC.  But, that goes to show us all that pitching is key, plain and simple.  You can have the most explosive lineup in the world (which they kinda did) but if you don’t pitch well, it just doesn’t matter.  Miguel Cabrera put on a show vs. the Marlins.  He hit 3 rockets – one that hasn’t landed yet.  He is on a whole different level than the rest.
The … Read More »



Jimmy V

One of my heroes growing up is former N.C. State Basketball Coach, Jim Valvano.  As a young man, he inspired me with his words to follow my dreams.  I had heard him speak, read his books and followed his career.  Even though I only met him briefly, he had a large impact on my life.  I remember watching the video below with tears in my eyes as one of my heroes gave me one last inspirational speech that I not only have never forgotten, but still watch multiple times a year.  God Bless you Jimmy V.


Spring Training Update

Very cool day today in Jupiter.  Normally, in big league camp, I am a working bee.  My tools for the day are a fungo, glove to play catch before I throw batting practice, stopwatch and that is it.  When I got to the ballpark today, I was informed of my duties for the day.  Go and manage the “B” game on the back fields vs. the Cardinals.  Leave the fungo in your locker and grab a lineup card.  Both major league managers were in attendance, Marlins’ skipper Mike Redmond & Cardinals’ manager, Mike Matheny.  It was pretty cool running the game and coaching 3rd base with both major league staffs and front office in attendance.  It was a “B” game and the only big name that anyone would recognize was Rafael Furcal, who had a few at bats as the … Read More »


Spring Training Update

Full squad workouts are in full force as the Miami Marlins prepare for the 2013 season.  We open up this Saturday vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.  We have a young club, a new manager and a new plan as an organization.  It was a tough year in 2012 but all of us are moving forward and focusing on building a championship team in 2013 and the years to come.  Our players are working very hard with our staff members and there are good things to come for the Marlins in the future.  We have a lot of talented young players that our organization has developed and that have come over in the well documented trades we have made in the off season.  We will continue to work hard to build the basic fundamentals and build good habits in our … Read More »


Roger Dean Stadium

This is where I go to work everyday until April 1st.  And yes, everyday.  Spring Training, there are no days off, unless it rains.  And, yes, we do pray for rain sometimes.  Spring is here.  Optomism in the air.  Pitchers and Catchers are two days in, position players arrive tomorrow and full squad begins on Friday.  Fun Spring so far.  A lot of good looking young players in the Marlins organization.  Hopefully, we can grab a few of them before we head to Jacksonville.  A long way to go until we head north.  A lot of work to do and a lot of decisions to make and players to get better.  By the way,  In the picture below.  The left side is for the Miami Marlins and the right side is for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Makes it really nice … Read More »


Tee Drills and Hitting to Win

13th February

Probably the best drill for maintenance on your swing is working off the tee.  But like any drill, it needs to be done correctly to have optimal results.  To start off, put the tee in the middle of the plate, simulating a strike down the middle.  If in a batting cage, strive for hitting line drives that hit the back of the cage without first hitting the sides, top or bottom of the cage.
Focus on keeping the front side (front shoulder, front hip, front foot) square to the baseball.  Try to make contact with the inside part of the ball.  This will force your hands inside the ball and keep your body square.  Play a game with yourself and see how many line drives you can hit to the back screen out of 20 swings.  Try to always improve your … Read More »



For the Love of the Game

13th February

High school games around the state crank up very soon and another championship season is upon us.  Excitement is in the air as players and coaches set their sights on district and state titles.  There is a sense of pride everyday as you put your school’s colors on.  But there is an unseen element in the air that is more powerful than a Roger Clemens fastball or a Barry Bonds line drive.  Pressure.
The Showcase Era of high school baseball is breeding some exceptional athletes.  But it is also tearing some of these kids up.  With college coaches and pro scouts back on the prowl, on deck hitters on focusing more on who is at the game than timing the pitcher he is getting ready to hit against.  Pitchers are busy counting radar guns instead of focusing on the execution of … Read More »



A Challenge To Get Stronger

Many of our Baseball Pros Academy Players were in action this weekend.  As well, many of our new players in the older divisions (16U-18U) will be kicking off their high school seasons very soon.  I hope that everyone has a healthy and successful 2013 Spring Season!
A quick tip and challenge to all of our players 9U all the way up – Let’s get stronger… more atheltic …  more powerful … more balanced!  Lets make it Baseball Pros Academy’s mission in 2013 to get our players stronger.  I believe all of our players from 9U-18U need to work on this!  The older you are, the less time you have, so get going!  Watch the videos below of Major League Players and what they do to get their bodies in shape to play the game at the highest levels.  Most of these … Read More »


The First Ballplayer I Ever Met

It was probably 1982 or so when I first met Nick Belmonte.  I remember being a young 9 year old boy who loved baseball, and having my Dad come home and tell me that he had hired a former professional baseball player to work for him at Savin Copiers of Miami.  I remember feeling star struck the first time I met him.  He was a ballplayer, what I dreamed to be.  Nick became a family friend.   I remember throwing the football with him at company picnics and listening to his stories about playing in college at the University of Florida and professionally for the Brewers and Expos.  Nick’s copy machine sales career ended after a couple of years and he decided to get back into baseball.  The following bio (from Nick’s website) is what happened next….
“Nick Belmonte has been … Read More »


Some Joys Of Moving

3rd February


One of the few things positive above having to move is getting to go through some of your old stuff and relive some cool memories.  I ran across a bag in that attic with some baseball memoribila that I hadn’t seen or thought about in a while.  I didn’t really keep or collect much during my playing career however there were some things that would I stash that had special meaning to me.
Andy Barkett

 

2000 All Star Game – Santiago, Republica Dominicana

 

 



Spring Baseball Around the Corner…

30th January

I can’t believe it is almost February!  Spring Training around the corner.  This should be an interesting year for the Marlins organization and the Jacksonville Suns.  There were many trades made over the winter time and in exchange for some big name Marlins (Reyes, Buck, Johnson, etc), we received some exciting young talent, many of which will be wearing a Suns uniform in 2013.  As well, the Suns will be inheriting a group of players that played in the Florida State League Finals in 2012 and fell one game short of the title to my former team, the Lakeland Flying Tigers.  So, with a combination of championship caliber players moving up and talented prospects coming over in trades, 2013 will be an exciting year for developing players and striving for the Southern League Championship.  I am looking forward … Read More »



Seattle Mariners’ Prospect – Nick Franklin

22nd January

In 2006, I met Nick Franklin.  His dad contacted me and asked for a hitting lesson.  I had no idea what kind of player he was.  It didn’t take long to find out!  Nick is the first kid I have ever give hitting lessons to as a youngster and had the chance to manage against in professional baseball.  He was a student of mine for many years, and still from time to time, we meet up for a tune up.  He has a pretty good feel for what he is doing these days!  Nick has always been a gifted athlete who could make adjustments on the fly.  He loves the game and plays it the right way.  I am looking forward to watching him play in the major leagues for a long time.  Very proud of him.
AB

 

 



Get Ready Early & Slow

17th January

There is so much taught to young hitters regarding mechanics of the swing.  Most of it is valid and important but we all have realize that hitting a baseball is as much timing as it is swing mechanics or swing path.  If a hitter has great talent and a great swing but has no timing, he isn’t going to hit.  One of the most common flaws in young hitters is that they are not ready to hit on time.  They are reacting to the ball instead of hunting.  During our training this week with the 14U Team, we explained the importance of developing a good base, good swing path, but most important, a good approach to the ball.  In order the execute a good approach, you need to be ready on time!  In the video below, a very successful major … Read More »



Willie Horton – Be Ready to Hit

9th January

Former Major Leaguer and 1968 World Series Hero Willie Horton talks about being ready to hit on time.

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BPA Goings On….


Great night of Pitcher/Catcher camp tonight.  Pitchers learned from Yankees’ prospect Nick Goody on how to properly create angle and repeat their delivery.  Live bullpens next week.  Catchers worked hard on recieving with catching coach, Ariel Mercedes.  The drills both sets of players did are very simple but very effective.
Hitting School resumes on Wednesday night.  Last week, our hitters worked on “balance beam” position.  Or “keeping your knees inside your feet” all the way through the swing.  They learned about loading or “stride separation.”  This weeks course will fast forward to approach to ball all the way through extension.  And of course, the boys will get a lot of swings.
BPA had two great camps over the weekend at the Central Florida Indoor Sports Center.  Our coaching staff did a great job and the players … Read More »


Preparing for the Dream – Part 2

One of the biggest issues young players and their parents have in the recruiting process is a lack of knowledge and understanding of how baseball scholarships work.  In order to have a better understanding of the process, we need to have an idea of just how many opportunities are available in the State Of Florida to play College Baseball.

839 High Schools in the State - 91 colleges

Only 58 of the 91 Colleges have Baseball Programs

13 D-1′s – 12 D-2′s – 0 D-3′s – 9 NAIA’s – 24 NJCAA

Total Roster Spots in the State: 1865

Total Scholarships in the State: 944.1 (51% of Roster Spots)

152.1 Scholarships for 455 Roster Spots in Division 1

108 Scholarships for 420 Roster Spots in Division 2

108 Scholarships for 108 Roster Spots in NAIA

576 Scholarships for 720 Roster Spots in NJCAA

What do all these numbers mean?  There is good news and … Read More »


Game Not Known for Ferocity Claims a Casualty Who Was

While his peers and fans praised Ryan Freel’s headfirst approach throughout an eight-year career in the major leagues, the person closest to him became tormented by it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/sports/baseball/game-not-known-for-ferocity-claims-a-casualty-who-was.html?smid=pl-share


Preparing for the Dream – Part 1

30th December

This is a very important time of year for future high school baseball players all over our state.  A very confusing one as well.  See if you can follow this…
In the next two – to – three weeks, high school players will attend one if not all of the following:  Showcase Camps … High School Tryouts … Travel Ball Showcase Tryout camps…..confusing huh?  What to do?  How important are these Showcase events?  Do I have to be at these tryouts to make these Travel Ball teams?  Can I make my High School team?  What does all this cost?  Am I ready?
Well, for me, the last question is most important.  Because if you are not ready, than get ready.  Get off the couch.  Put the I-Phone down for 20 minutes and take a jog somewhere.  Play catch everyday, yes everyday!  … Read More »



BPA 12U ICE OPEN TRYOUTS

KING STREET FIELDS
Oviedo Little League
  Jan 12, 2013, 3 pm to 5 pm

We are building another 12U BPA team!!
 If you’re interested in trying out with the BPA Baseball Program, please email your players name to rickbradley5@gmail.com
$5 tryout fee to offset field costs

 

Enrollment in Baseball Pros Academy will be required with team participation. The Academy currently meets on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 pm at the Oviedo Sports Complex. For further details concerning the academy, please contact Rick Bradley at rickbradley5@gmail.com.

 

www.Baseballpros.net


Do As I Say, Not as I do….

I found myself in a couple arguements with umpires today in our 9U Young Guns championship game.  Then I reminded myself to always have good sportsmanship and be respectful to umpires at all times…..:-)


What a Weekend!

Very proud of our BPA Teams this weekend.  The 12U BPA Heat with a 2nd Place Finish.  The 10U Roosters were Runner’s Up as well.  Our 11U Lightning played up at 12U and held their own making it to the final game of the consolation bracket.  Our 9U Young Guns ran the table and won 1st Place in the Feed the Best tourney and captured the Super 9 Series Championship.  Congratulations to all of our Players, Coaches and Parents on a wonderful BPA weekend!


A Couple of Fallen Teammates

25th November

I was going through some of my son’s baseball cards the other day (the one’s he inherited from his Dad) and I ran across two cards of former teammates. Two guys that unfortunately are no longer with us. Steve Reich and John Marzano. Two amazing teammates. Both Big Leaguers – One made it there and had a long career (Marz) and the other would have if he didn’t have a more important job. Steve Reich was an Army Helicopter pilot who lost his life during his 4th tour in Afghanistan in 2008. A left handed pitcher with plus stuff had his big league dream cut short when the Army came calling after two starts in pro ball. A great guy. Smile always on his face. Respectful off the field and a warrior on the mound. We were teammates on the … Read More »



Preparation is Key

31st October

Great BPA workout last night…taught the kids how to play “pepper” and then we played “pickle.” Old School Style.  They should be playing both all the time if they want to be a good players.  Or at the least…throwing a tennis ball against a wall and taking ground balls..using good footwork….working on swinging short to the ball….hand eye coordination drills…if your son not doing any of that….you are waisting your money on travel ball, hotels, gas, coachs fees, fast food and or eating out every night.  If your young player isn’t preparing himself to play on the weekend, if he is 7 or 17.  It doesn’t matter.  Baseball, like any game is hard to play if you are not prepared.  I don’t care how old you are.  Same goes for professional players.  Ask any of mine how much … Read More »



One Pitch at a Time

15th August

Former Major Leaguer and Owner of Walbeck Baseball Academy, Matt Walbeck gives us some great advice on how to approach the game.

 

Baseball is a hard game to play, after all that’s why it’s called hardball.  I mean come on, if a hitter fails 2 out of 3 times at the major league level he’s an all star.  What?!
That’s right, he’s making right turns instead of left turns more than half of the time and he’s a huge success.  Even if he hits a line shot as solid as he’s ever hit one, the ball might end up in the glove of the center fielder.
As a pitcher you have to throw a ball into an indistinct zone that’s about as big as two shoe boxes 60 feet 6 inches away from a big guy holding a stick in his hands ready … Read More »



BPA Instructor Duffy Has a Big Night

Duffy steals show in Howard’s rehab
Veteran singles twice, plates three; Phils prospect walks off
www.milb.com

Trailing, 6-4, with the bases loaded and one out, rehabbing Major League veteran Ryan Howard had some special advice for Phillies prospect Chris Duffy.”I was on deck and he went up to bat,” Duffy said. “He goes, “‘Duff, be ready to win this game.’ I said, ‘Yes, sir.’”

Howard hit a sacrifice fly to draw within one and then Duffy came through with a two-RBI walk-off single to give the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws a 7-6 win over the West Virginia Power.

Duffy finished the game 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs. Howard, who tore his left Achilles tendon in the final game of last year’s National League Division Series against the Cardinals, also went 2-for-4 and knocked in three as the team’s designated … Read More »


Q&A with Jacksonville Suns manager Andy Barkett

By           Jeff Elliott jacksonville.com

April  3, 2012 – 09:22pm

Q&A with Jacksonville Suns  manager Andy Barkett

Andy Barkett begins his second season as manager of the Jacksonville Suns,  after spending three seasons as manager of Class-A Lakeland with the Detroit  Tigers organization. Barkett guided the Suns to a 70-70 record in 2011, but the  Suns failed to make the playoffs after winning the Southern League pennant the  two previous seasons. Jeff Elliott met with Barkett on Tuesday for his thoughts  about the coming season, his progression as a manager, what type of team the  Suns will field this year and more.

What did you learn about the Southern League last year in your first  season at this level?

I had heard if you’re an exceptional player in the Southern League, you can  play in the big leagues, and I saw that. It’s not … Read More »


Spring Training Update – Opening Night at Marlins Park

7th March

Day 1 of Minor League camp began today and I was sent out of Major League Camp to join our Minor League Staff in the development and preparation of our young players for the 2012 season.  It was a great experience to be a part of the 2012 Miami Marlins for a short time.  Our ownership has done a wonderful job putting together a heck of a ballclub and staff to begin the new era of baseball in Miami.  Yesterday, we opened up Marlins Park against the University of Miami in an exhibition game and I was fortunate enough to be a part of the staff for the evening.  Below are some pictures and a quick video of the new stadium and some pregame festivites.  To be standing on the field in same grounds that I grew up running around … Read More »



Spring Training – Full Squad Day 5 – New BPA Hats Are In

BPA Members…Short day today in Spring Training.  Right before we were to start our day, heavy showers moved into the Jupiter area and the rains came.  All of the Marlins’ position players then hit in the cages followed by pitchers bullpen sessions.  Probably, a well needed day of rest for the players (staff as well).  There is a lot of buzz around camp.  Lots of cameras and reporters.  Games start next week.  The days get longer but we all get to see the new look Miami Marlins on the field.  Camp has been great.  Never a dull moment.  Constant action.  Both on and off the field.  I have been fortunate enough to be on the “main field” for infield instruction.  Everyday so far has started off with knees and wide base drills.  Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, Jose Reyes and Gaby … Read More »


Why Fundamentals Matter at All Levels

By Cal Ripken, Jr.

Every time an athlete steps up to a higher level – whether it’s going from a recreational team to a travel team or from 60- or 70-foot bases to a regulation-sized diamond – he or she must leave behind some skills and replace them with new ones in order to compete successfully. Kids who play baseball year-round might play in 70 or more games during a calendar year. When young athletes play one sport that much, they naturally learn what it takes to be successful at their particular level of play. Because of this, they may develop shortcuts or methods that will not be effective when they move up to the next level, and these habits may become so ingrained that they are hard to break. Let’s look at the backhand as an example. Young players who … Read More »


What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent — And What Makes A Great One

Written by: Steve Henson

Hundreds of college athletes were asked to think back: “What is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?”

Their overwhelming response: “The ride home from games with my parents.”

The informal survey lasted three decades, initiated by two former longtime coaches who over time became staunch advocates for the player, for the adolescent, for the child. Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC are devoted to helping adults avoid becoming a nightmare sports parent, speaking at colleges, high schools and youth leagues to more than a million athletes, coaches and parents in the last 12 years.

Those same college athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame.

Their overwhelming response: “I love to watch you play.”

There it … Read More »


Daddy Ball

13th February

What exactly is “Daddy Ball?”  A question I have often asked myself.  After watching a few games at the Swing Into Spring tournament this weekend and listening to parents post game reactions (normally after a loss) I heard the following quote numerous times, “We lost that game because of Daddy Ball.”  Maybe I am a little slow at times to figure things out, but either way, the light bulb in my head finally turned on and I realized what “Daddy Ball” is all about.   Ah ha!  We blame losses on coach’s kids.  One of the coach’s kids makes an a couple errors and the manager stays with him or the manager’s son is pitching and can’t throw a strike and he leaves him in there and he walks the park.  Manager’s son plays short stop the whole game and can’t … Read More »



A Couple of Highlights….

First Major League At Bat, May, 2001.  PNC Park Pittsburgh, PA.  Chuck Smith on the mound for the Marlins.  1st pitch faseball 2B RCF.  Welcome to the Big Leagues!!!

Big League 1st AB from baseballpros on Vimeo.

In the playoff hunt in 1999.  Must win game late in the season vs. Las Vegas.  Remember the at bat like it was yesterday.   John Sac was the closer for Vegas and he threw hard.  We were down a run in the 9th and I was just trying to get ready on time so that I could get on base and start a game winning rally.  I remember in my mind when I stride-separated, that I felt that I was so early and the ball took so long to get there.  But as you will see on the video.  … Read More »


Mental Preparation

By Justin Turner, Minor League Hitting Coach, New York Yankees 

I get the opportunity to work with a lot of kids and one of the things that we will focus on, is how do I mentally prepare myself for a game? Kids nowadays are playing so much more baseball than when I was growing up, which was not very long ago. With all of the travelling leagues and AAU, youth level baseball is extremely popular.  A growing trend that I see with a good majority of the kids participating, is a lack of mental preparation.

“A Full head is an Empty Bat”. This is so true. If we approach the plate without already having a plan as to what we are trying to accomplish then we are doomed from the start. I cannot be at the plate thinking about what … Read More »


The Process of Hitting

By Rick Down, Former MLB Hitting Coach
Hitting, without a doubt, is the most difficult baseball skill to learn. It has even been stated that hitting a baseball is the most difficult skill to master in all of sports. The combination of trying to hit a round ball with a round bat, squarely, is a very difficult task.  Add two competing human beings into the equation, the hitter and pitcher, and the problem intensifies. The pitcher trying to disrupt the timing of the hitter, and the hitter trying to find his timing and rhythm. This makes hitting a baseball a skill that demands exceptional abilities and tremendous desire. So what should the primary goal of all good hitters be? To make solid contact with the ball? Not really. Sure, we would all like to hit the ball hard every time we … Read More »


Miguel Tejada and the Dominican Dream

By Dave Hudgens, MLB Hitting Coach, NY Mets
Driving from the airport in Santo Domingo to the outskirts of the Oakland A’s complex in La Victoria requires a tremendous amount of faith.The road is dangerous and full of potholes. Natives would rather use their car horns then their common sense to operate their vehicles.  Danger aside, the scene outside is enough to make even the toughest skinned individual melt. Mud shacks, sewer lined streets, poor half clothed children begging for money or food – all a part of the everyday life in the Dominican Republic barrios. This is a far cry from the beautiful Caribbean beach scenes we so often view on TV. This is survival.
Unlike the land of opportunity that we live in, there is only one hope, one dream, to take someone out … Read More »


Key Cues for Hitting Success

by Dave Hudgens, MLB Hitting Coach, New York Mets
The fireworks blasted from centerfield.  No, it was not the fourth of July – the leadoff hitter had just hit a rocket first pitch of the game for a homerun.  Second batter, first pitch, another homerun, another brilliant fireworks display.  Third batter, two pitches later, homerun, off go the fireworks. The pitching coach takes a long, slow walk to the mound, looking like he has some words of wisdom to give his shell-shocked pitcher.  The pitcher, irate and cursing at his coach, lets him know that he isn’t going to tell him something he doesn’t already know.  The coach replies, “I don’t intend to tell you anything, I just wanted to give the guy shooting off the fireworks more time so he can reload.”  The pitcher smiles, relaxes, and retires … Read More »


Baseball and Concentration

by Karlene Sugarman, M.A, Sport Psychology Consultant
Distractions are a big part of baseball, so players must learn how to handle them so performance isn’t diminished. A loss of focus will usually result in lost opportunities, more errors, and opponents taking advantage of your lack of focus. If you’re not focusing 100%, you are not performing at your highest potential.If your concentration is broken, or you have trouble regaining focus, there are a few ways to deal with this:
Rituals – Rituals help to calm you down and focus on the task at hand. They provide consistency to your approach, which intensifies your focus and increases confidence. You can have pre-game rituals as well as rituals for during a game. They give you a sense of control and stability in an unstable environment. Get pre-performance ritual/routine down before the season starts so … Read More »


A Scout’s Advice

Elizabeth Kirby, FLHS Baseball Report,

Juan Alvarez played professional baseball for 10 seasons. He was never drafted, but signed as a free agent from St. Thomas University for $500. His pro career includes stints with the Angels, Rangers and Marlins. Today he is a scout for the Texas Rangers.

“I’ve always wanted to scout because I knew it would keep me home,” Alvarez said. “I’ve got two young kids so it’s good to be home.”

There are many perks that Alvarez enjoys in being a professional scout. He likes being in a different ball park everyday. He loves to meet new players and educate them on what they will experience if they make it to the big leagues.

“Playing professionally has greatly helped me to scout,” said Alvarez. “I can tell guys about real life experiences.”

Some of his real life experiences include … Read More »


Crucial Power Sequence

by Dave Hudgens, Minor League Field Coordinator, Cleveland Indians
I recently bought a car for my daughter that is a 5-speed stick shift. Teaching a teenage girl how to drive a stick has been interesting. There is a sequence to the process. When driving a stick, you have to: Push the clutch in, Turn the key, Combine the clutch with the gas pedal, Ease into first gear….
It sounds easy but takes a while to get to work smoothly. That process only puts you in first gear. You now start another sequence to get into the next gear and so on. Just as there are sequences to driving a 5 speed, so it goes also with the swing. The proper sequence is essential to having consistent success at the plate.
SEQUENCE

When your stride foot comes down, your weight needs to be balanced to … Read More »


How much do you bench? Upper Body Training for the Youth Athlete

By:  Javair Gillett, CSCS Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Detroit Tigers
Before deciding on what exercises to prescribe, you must first understand Power. In physics, Power is equal to work divided by time (P=w/t). This isn’t a physics class so don’t worry about the equation!
All that you really need to understand is that power is a product of two components, strength (Force) and speed (Velocity).   You can swing a light bat really fast, but due to lesser forces, power will decrease. At the same time, you can swing a heavy bat really slow, but due to slower speeds, power will decrease. So, in developing a youth athlete, it is important that you take a patient approach and train both components.
If you want to improve power in a youth athlete, use exercises that will simultaneously train and strengthen various muscle groups and … Read More »


Travel Ball and Player Development

9th January

Youth baseball has really changed huh? It seems like baseball and life itself used to be so much simpler twenty or so years ago. Youth sports were about teaching fundamentals and playing in games. It sure doesn’t seem like that is what is going on these days. There is one thing I think all parents of little leaguers or babe ruthers or travel ballers would agree on – we all want the best for our kids. We want them to become the best that they can be while at the same time be successful on the field and help their respective teams win championships. I am starting to realize however, that travel teams over rec ball teams are becoming more and more popular and rightfully so. Your rec ball team consists of one or two really good players, … Read More »



The “A” Swing

8th January

“If I knew now what I knew then?”  Is a question I always ask myself.  As a high school, college and professional player, I spent countless hours in batting cages all over this great land and even world wide!  Wasted!!!  No, I don’t mean that.Even though I was able to play in the major leagues, I wasted a lot of swings, working on trying to hit the ball harder or farther, or this mechanic or that mechanic, etc., etc., etc.  Looking for the missing link that will make me a major league hitter.  Most career Triple-A players fall into this category.  Good work ethic, good ballplayers, but something is missing for them not to be in the big leagues.  Most of the time, all of them have the same problem:  consistency.
All baseball players who compete in a 12 year old … Read More »





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