There isn’t much that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t disrupted, and baseball is no exception. From a to-be-start Major League, the premature end of many high school careers, cancelled tournaments and an abbreviated draft, the current baseball landscape is far from what’s been come to expected. However, one thing hasn’t changed: BPA’s continue development and advancement of baseball players.
Although a June unlike any other, the month was full of BPA news, results and noteworthy accomplishments. Here’s a look at what transpired.
Halpin, Jones selected in MLB Draft
Independence Day came and went without a Major League baseball game yet to be played this season. With MLB hoping to start the 2020 July 23-24, the COVID-19 pandemic has turn baseball at its highest level on its head. A result of the four-month postponement, MLB franchises are experience a cash crunch, unable to take in typical revenue for gate receipts, concessions and television deals. Due to the financially precarious position, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association agree on a cost-saving effort in reducing the MLB Draft to five rounds, a dramatic decrease from the previous 40-round format to help clubs save on signing bonuses.
The shortest draft in history, it will be a draft that is remember for all of the right reasons for BPA.
Throughout the showcase circuit and during the abbreviated spring season, BPA’s class of 2020 saw right-handed pitcher Jared Jones and outfielder Petey Halpin establish themselves as top professional prospects. Entering the draft, Baseball America ranked Jones the No. 41 prospect, while Halpin checked in at No. 82. Projected as players to be selected in the first three rounds, it came to be, as Jones and Halpin heard their names called during the MLB Draft’s telecast on MLB Network on June 11.
Almost exactly where his pre-draft ranking penciled him, Jones was selected in the second round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 44th selection in the draft. With the National League Central franchise selecting him, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says Jones finds perfect fit with Pirates.
Halpin didn’t have to wait too long to hear his name called. In the third round, the Cleveland Indians selected Halpin, using the draft’s 95th pick to tab the Mira Costa outfielder. The Indians’ scouting brass praised for his ability to make contact with his left-handed swing and overall athleticism.
It wasn’t too long ago Halpin and Jones shared the field at Progressive Park in Cleveland as two rising prospect, playing in MLB’s High School All Star Game. Now the BPA alums will share the same dream of returning to a Midwestern big league field.
Grebeck, McHale, Wooldridge make college selection
June saw three BPA players announce where they will attend college and play baseball at the Division I level, a player from each class, 2020 to 2022.
Grebeck is Baylor-bound
BPA 2021 infielder Cody Grebeck decided to stay in the Lone Star State, as the rising junior from Midland Christian announced his committed to Baylor University on June 23. Led by Steve Rodriguez, Baylor was coming off of three straight NCAA regional appearances before the shortened 2020 season. When he arrives in Waco, Grebeck will be joining BPA product Joey Schott on the Bears roster.
McHale’s heading to UC Davis
Class of 2020 shortstop Shaun McHale will head up state this fall, as the Valencia High product committed to California-Davis. The Big West program welcomes the 6’1, 180-pound middle infielder as they seek their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008. On the Aggies staff is volunteer assistant Mike Hacker, the former head of BPA Sacramento.
Wooldridge picks the Aztecs
Glendora left-handed pitcher Braydon Wooldridge will be heading south on the 5, making a pledge to join the San Diego State program after he graduates in 2022. The southpaw made his commitment on June 12, set to join a program BPA visited in January on its winter college tour. Wooldridge will join Mike Martinez’ Mountain West program as the Aztecs look to find the form that led to five NCAA Tournament appearances over six years, 2014-2018.
BPA flexes depth in Texas with Five Tool
The first major tournament of the 2020 summer for BPA teams were held in Texas, as BPA fielded teams in two Five Tool Tournaments around greater Dallas.
BPA 2022 participated in Five Tool’s 16U Pudge Rodriguez World Classic, going 2-2. BPA opened the tournament with of wins on June 16, defeating PBF National 2022, 6-5, and NTX Longhorns 13-3. BPA fell to Canes SW 2022, 5-4, and were knocked out of the double-elimination tournament with a 4-2 loss to Academy Select Howard on June 18.
In the Five Tool Show 15U/16U Championships, BPA Black 2022 and BPA 2023 both had undefeated weeks.
For BPA Black 2022, a perfect four-game run saw them outscore their opponents 38-8. The club kicked off the tournament with a 18-6 win over AB National Team on June 18. A pair of victories were secured on June 19, with BPA knocking off ABA 2022, 8-0, before besting the Dallas Tigers, 5-0. The week ended with a 7-2 victory over the Texas Oilers.
BPA 2023 matched their upperclass peers, going 4-0 in Texas. The first game of the tournament, BPA edged USA Prime 16U, 10-9. The next day, BPA cruised to a 13-1 victory of A’s-Biggins. Two more one-run wins closed out the tournament, with a 4-3 victory over AB National Team on June 19, and a 9-8 win over DBat 16U.