Ocean State Bandits Baseball Scout Day At The Dome

Saturday night, I attended a Prep Baseball Report Scout Day event featuring the Ocean State Bandits Baseball Club. According to their website, Prep Baseball Report events “are designed to give players the maximum exposure needed to advance to the next level. Not only will you receive high-level exposure from college coaches, but all players at events will be videotaped, and the edited performance will be hosted on the website.” Coach David Roy, who runs the Bandits program and is the General Manager of the Rhode Island Baseball Institute in Warwick, invited me to attend the Scout Day. I was excited to observe some of the top baseball talent playing at various levels of the Bandits organization, so I gladly accepted. With mask on, I entered the Dome behind Wide World of Indoor Sports – North Smithfield just as players were in the hitting portion of the event.

As with previous visits to the Dome, I signed into the log sheet with my name and phone number. There was a sign in table as you walked in with the log sheet, social distancing instructions, mask instructions, hand sanitizer, and event sheets. I looked around the dome and every player, coach, and staff person was also wearing their face mask or face covering. I found Coach Roy and we chatted for a bit about the event. Coach Roy pointed out the staff at Prep Baseball Report (PBR) and the equipment they would be utilizing to collect important data about the players’ performances. Analytic tools such as Trackman and Blast Motion helped record the players as they hit and threw during the Scout Day event. PBR had 5 staff members recording video, writing down numbers, positioning the Trackman equipment, instructing players on the next sequence of events, recording velocities via a radar gun, and overall time management. The event was fast paced and the players moved in and out of sequences quickly to maximize time. From the hour or so I was at the event, I felt it was really well run.

After chatting with Coach Roy, I found a seat on the bleachers which were pushed up against the walls of the Dome. I watched as hitters would step into the batter area for their turn. Each player had a Scout Day number, and the PBR rep would ask them for their last name and number. A video recorder was positioned to capture the batter in motion and would then record their swings. Each player got about 10 to 12 swings on average. The batting practice pitcher was super accurate, which really helped move things along. After their hitting session, the player would then remove the blast motion device from the bottom of their bat and give it to the PBR rep, who would then install it on the next player in line. Players were moving in and out of this hitting sequence with a lot of pace. Speaking of pace, I observed some really impressive bat speeds and towering shots. I’m not sure what the material is that makes up that Dome, but it really took a beating from those baseballs and didn’t flinch. Balls would zoom out on a perfect line and hit the dome walls with a “Thuuuuump” hit after hit. Right handed batters hit first, then the lefties. Here are some of the hitters I observed.

From the hitting phase of Scout day, the players moved to the defensive portion of the event. First, the PBR staff moved equipment and positioned the players for the outfield showcase sequence. Outfielders were set up about mid-range left field with a catcher positioned at home plate. Coach Roy took up place around home plate and hit base hit type ground balls to the outfielders. The outfield player would charge the baseball, gather themselves, gear up and throw the ball to the catcher at home plate. A PBR rep was positioned around home plate with a velocity or radar gun to measure the speed of their throw to home plate. Each player got about 3 or 4 reps in this sequence. As with the hitting, I was impressed with the arm strength of these Bandit players, some of them just Freshman and Sophomores in High School. Here is what it looked like from my vantage point.

Next sequence involved the catchers throwing to second base. One of the Bandits coaches stood about 20 feet from the catcher, threw a strike, then the catcher would pop up, and fire the baseball down to a fielder hovering over second base. There was a PBR rep around 2nd base with the radar gun recording throwing velocity. One by one, the catchers in full catcher’s gear, would receive the baseball and showcase their arm strength. Here are a few shots of that sequence.

Again, the PBR staff moved the Scout Day along at a fast pace. Players hustled from sequence to sequence to help move the event along effectively. After the catcher’s section, the infielders lined up at 3rd base, Shortstop, Second Base, and First Base to take ground balls. Ground balls are not always hit directly at you in a game, so you better have the skills and instincts to field the baseball moving to your left, to your right, as well as straight at you. In this sequence, the PBR staff had Coach Roy hit baseballs to the glove side, throwing hand side, and hit slowly to mirror a random baseball defensive situation. The players were videotaped and evaluated on their throws, footwork, and glove work during this sequence. Many of the Bandits players moved around the infield to be evaluated at various positions. Here are some photos from the infield section of the Bandits Scout Day.

The final portion I observed at the Bandits Scout Day was the pitcher’s showcase. PBR quickly transformed the dome, moved equipment, set up screens, their information table, video equipment, and 2 portable pitching mounds. The PBR staff got out their tape measure for the required 60’6″ positioning of the pitcher’s rubber to home plate. One pitching mound was set up as a warmup or bullpen mound. The other mound was the showcase mound and had all the equipment pointed directly at the pitcher. PBR staff recorded the pitcher, the radar gun recorded velocity, and PBR staff took down notes. Here are some photos of the pitchers I observed.

It was an awesome showcase of baseball talent at the Prep Baseball Report Bandits Scout Day. It’s hard to believe sometimes that these ball players are just high school student athletes, some just entering their first year of High School. Since the Bandits program has players from all over the state of Rhode Island, many of these players will soon be competing against each other in Rhode Island Interscholastic League play. And then, at some point, will rejoin their Bandits teammates on weekend games and tournaments and showcase events here in Rhode Island, New England, and across the US this Spring, Summer and Fall. I was really impressed by the PBR staff and how they ran a really smooth and efficient event. Obviously, it wasn’t the first Scout Day for this PBR staff and it definitely showed by their professionalism.

Special thanks to Coach David Roy for inviting me to the Bandits Scout Day presented by Prep Baseball Report. For more information about Prep Baseball Report, head over to their New England section website at www.prepbaseballreport.com/new-england. For more information on the Ocean State Bandits Baseball Club, head over to their website at www.banditsbaseballri.com.

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