Cuero native, A&M-Kingsville coach looks for prospects at showcase
July 8, 2013 at 2:08 a.m.
Jason Gonzales does his best to follow the progress of high school baseball players around South Texas.
The Texas A&M-Kingsville coach gets phone calls and emails from coaches, and he tries to watch as many players as possible.
"Sophomore and junior year, we start putting names on our recruiting board," Gonzales said. "We just continue to follow their success. Now, we can't talk to them until they are about to enter their senior year, but it doesn't mean we can't talk to their high school coaches.
"That's how recruiting is today," he added. "If you're not getting a jump on them early, you're probably going to lose out. It's a year-round process, and it never ends."
Gonzales, a Cuero graduate, has done a good job of signing players during his five years at the school.
The Javelinas won the Lone Star Conference tournament championship in the recently completed season and hosted a regional tournament as the top seed for the first time in school history.
But Gonzales admits there are players he misses, and he continuously seeks out ways to find prospects.
As a result, Gonzales will return to his hometown Wednesday to host a high school showcase for players entering high school to those who have recently graduated at the Cuero baseball field.
"A showcase allows us to put some eyes on a potential player, and it gives us a chance to evaluate him against other players," he said. "There's no better way to recruit or evaluate than actually seeing that player perform.
"It's a great opportunity for young players just entering high school to get some recognition and to get noticed and to get on some colleges recruiting boards."
Gonzales will be joined by other college coaches and a professional scout or two.
They will be monitoring each player's individual skills.
"We'll be looking at their time in the 60-yard dash," Gonzales said. "We'll grade arms on a radar gun. We'll see how they field their position. We'll have a simulated, controlled intrasquad scrimmage where they hit against live pitching. It's one more opportunity to get seen by different coaches."
Gonzales has been able to find players in the showcase he holds in Kingsville and says he hopes to do the same in Cuero.
"That was one of my goals when I got the job five years ago was to continue to stay around the South Texas area," he said. "Growing up there, I know there are a lot of good ballplayers who come from that area from a lot of small schools that don't get the recognition. They are very good, hard-working kids that come from good families that a lot of schools miss."