The scouting reports on 2024 outfielder Isaiah Shivers all point to his athleticism and ability to play the outfield, particularly his range that he creates with his above-average speed.
It is, of course, one thing for this to be on a report, and another entirely to see it unfold in front of you.
The big-league scouts and front office executives had exactly that happen this past summer in Lake Charles, Louisiana at the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series Underclass Combine, when Shivers made what is considered to be the best catch in the six-year history of FSS events, a diving grab on the warning track in which his momentum came to an abrupt halt and he tumbled head over heels while still maintaining possession of the baseball.
“Honestly, it was very cool, just putting my whole body on the line,” Shivers said. “Not a lot of people would do that, they’d just let that ball go. But, I’m an aggressive person and I always like to dive for the ball. It was cool. When I saw it in the air at first, I was kind of running just so it wouldn’t be a triple or double, but then I was like, ‘I can catch this ball.’ I just put my body on the line in a game situation, and obviously I made the catch. I think that was the best catch I’ve ever made in my entire life. But, with that hard turf out there in center field, my face was scraped up on my cheek and on my chin, but it was totally worth it though.”
The Brooklyn native is committed to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is looking forward to making more big plays in that region of the country.
“It’s great, I get to move away from New York and be away from home, and I’m looking forward to being in that Louisiana area,” he said. “I’m looking to change the game. I’m trying to get more people like me into HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Southern is a great atmosphere, a great place to be, a great program with great history. But I want to get more people who look like me to play on that team and get Southern rolling.”
Shivers is eager to try to embrace a role model type position in attracting more Black players into playing baseball, which is not a typical path where he’s from.
“I want them to know that they always have a Plan A,” he said. “Most kids in Brooklyn who look like me, they always want to play basketball and football, and that doesn’t work for everybody. Not everybody is gifted enough to do that, they should be open to try new things. People should try baseball. You never know. If you’re athletic enough, you just have to learn the game and you should be perfectly fine playing baseball…if you do well, you can go all the way to the top.”
That path to the top has always been through baseball for Shivers, who got hooked on the sport at an early age by his father, Pete.
“When I was three, he would toss little wiffle balls, and I would hit them, and he’d say I was making great contact, so he said to sign me up for tee-ball, and the rest was just history,” Shivers said.
Unfortunately, Shivers’ father passed away unexpectedly last year, leading to his very grounded and humble son to create a GoFundMe not for himself and his family, but instead for his travel ball team, with donations being made in his father’s memory going towards them.
The loss of a parent is a seemingly impossible moment for anyone to get through, but Shivers has been doing his best, using lessons learned from his father to continue to working hard and achieve his dreams.
“It definitely changed my mentality,” Shivers said. “My dad always told me to keep working hard, because there’s always somebody that’s working harder than you. He always made sure I was giving 1000 percent on and off the field, and he always pushed me to the max. There would be times that I hated it, but now I understand why he did it…he influenced me to work hard in everything I do. He sacrificed everything, his job, just to take me around and make sure that I was going to be one of the top prospects when I graduate. He always wanted to make sure he was giving me the right advice. I always want to make him proud, I’m always thinking about him. Every time I go out on the field, what I do is for him.”
Shivers has shown at Future Stars Series events that he has the potential to be the kind of impact player his father was hoping he would be, and he’s excited to continue to show what he can do as he rises through the ranks of the underclass.
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