New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series President and CEO Jeremy Booth will never forget the first time he met Kevin Bootay.
Most people don’t, it seems.
“My first year scouting with Minnesota, KB had just left to crosscheck with Texas,” Booth said.
“It was an interesting year in Kentucky and Tennessee for a young area scout who had just left the playing field and grew up in LA. I’m at a prominent event right after the draft and I’m grinding it out as they say, and I remember feeling this set of eyes on me. I turn around and this guy I don’t know is staring at me smiling. It wasn’t a weird thing, I could tell just from that he had my best interests at heart. He’s watched my back without fail from that day forward no matter where we’ve been and he’s always there for those he watches over asking nothing in return. He’s had some people really betray him and it hasn’t been deserved. Well, the game appreciates him and the young scout he looked after owes him a debt for the concern he showed him whether or not it can ever be repaid.”
Stories like that seem relatively common about the current Colorado Rockies major-league scout.
Taken in the first round by the Texas Rangers back in the 1984 MLB Draft, Bootay would certainly know something about premium talent, but after a six-year playing career that topped out at Triple-A came to an end, it came time to see if he could evaluate it, not just, you know, be it.
Mission very much so accomplished.
The Los Angeles native has enjoyed a two-decade-plus run as a talented and extremely reliable scout across five different major-league organizations, starting back in 1999 when he joined the Minnesota Twins as an area scout for eight seasons. He then headed over to the Texas Rangers for five years as their West Coast Crosschecker, overseeing other scouts while providing a valuable second opinion on players that those scouts had identified.
Over the next decade, Bootay would work as a pro scout for the Chicago White Sox and major-league scout for the Miami Marlins before landing in his current role as a major-league scout with the Rockies.
Bootay has been cited nationally for his efforts in discovering hidden gems, including a mention in the New York Post when the White Sox added reliever Tommy Kahnle to the fold earlier in his career.
“Kevin identified him as the type of arm that our player development people had previously had success with, and with options remaining, we knew they’d have the chance to try to unlock the potential upside,” Hahn told the Post at the time.
The Rockies have been one of the more active organizations in picking up Future Stars Series alums; they used both of their first round picks in 2020 on Scorpions teammates Zac Veen and Drew Romo — both have since gone on to become the No. 1 and No. 3 prospects in the organization, respectively — traded for 2017 International Week standout Mateo Gil and also selected another 2017 IW player, Nic Kent, in the 11th round just last year.
Bootay has been an integral part of the growth of the Future Stars Series as well, providing leadership back before there even was an advisory board, as evidenced by his involvement in a 2019 initiative in which Program 15 Sports created a Baseball Operations Internship Program for Aspiring Baseball Scouts, Coaches, and Executives.
“Baseball is at a crossroads where the new generation of players, coaches and scouts should have a sense of the history of baseball as well as the feel and instincts to play the game,” Bootay said at the time. “It is incumbent on mentors to pass this along to this new generation. PROGRAM 15 is at the forefront of this mission of sharing that knowledge.”
The feeling is certainly mutual, as Booth, who shares a spot on the Buck O’Neil Professional Baseball Scouts & Coaches Association with Bootay, can certainly attest to.
“Kevin is a mentor and a leader in a player-driven industry who is extremely passionate about what he does,” Booth said.
“He’s well-known in the industry and well-respected, and is the model of resiliency. Kevin has an outstanding reputation, one that is both earned and well-deserved. He’s somebody that we’re blessed to know and have consulting as an advisory board member; he’s an original, he was on the advisory board before there even was an advisory board. We’re lucky to have him on board.”
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