Global athletic leader New Balance and Program 15, the premiere baseball player development and training system kicked off the first Future Stars Series Class of 2018 National Trials and Tournament held in Houston, TX June 24-28.
The weekend had a rainy start as hundreds of the nation's top amateur baseball players from the Class of 2018 descended upon the Premier Baseball of Texas Sports Complex just outside of Houston, TX June 24-28.
Twenty Four teams from as far west as California, east as Pennsylvania, north as Wisconsin, as well as southern strongholds of Louisiana and Texas, came to battle it out to see who would be crowned the inaugural New Balance Future Stars Series National Champions. After three rounds of hard-fought games, US Elite Baseball out of Pennsylvania emerged as the winners in a very close championship game.
But the chance to win a tournament isn’t what drew this caliber of players from across the country. Far from it.
Unlike so many of today’s amateur baseball ‘Showcase’ events, The Future Stars Series isn’t about winning trophies. It’s much bigger than that. In addition to tournament play, each player is put through PROGRAM 15’s Combine Athletic Testing System which includes a full scouting report, developmental feedback and plan to assist in their long-term growth from former MLB players, coaches and scouts.
Started just over a year ago as a grassroots effort by New Balance Baseball and PROGRAM 15 to reach as many undiscovered players as possible, the Future Stars Series has grabbed the attention of over 70 of the most respected organizations in amateur baseball who have come on board as Regional Directors and Partners.
This unique combination and opportunity has spurred a growing legion of parents, players, coaches, and scouts who consider the Future Stars Series to be the New Standard For Player Scouting and Development Events.
According to James Bills, Owner and Head Trainer for the University of Baseball as well as associate scout for the New York Mets, “It's a great event. As an associate scout, I've gotten to sit in the booth and you see a lot of talent here, probably some of the best talent that I've seen this year….. I've been an associate scout for the New York Mets for the last five years. I've been around baseball 22 years coaching, and my facility's been open almost two years now. I've been to a lot of different events. I run a lot of events and have been involved with some of the biggest events there ever were in the state of Texas, been across the country and I'm gonna tell you that this has probably been one of the coolest things.”
When asked about the technology used by the Future Stars Series Bills stated, “The cool thing about the analytic stuff is that when we are watching from the bleachers, we can see VELOs and exit velocities. You want to see that kind of stuff because, as a parent, you want to see where your player can get better or how they compare with other players.
I think a lot of times these kids feel like they're doing more than what they actually are and now they've got something to compare them with. Their buddy standing beside them has an exit VELO of 91.1 and then they have an exit VELO of 81.1, yet, they feel like they're doing a lot more than he is and they don't know why he's getting playing time over them…. it's pretty impressive to watch their faces when they say, ‘Well, I see what I need to work on.'”
Gabe Gamboa with ABD Academy from Southern California shared his thoughts on being part of PROGRAM 15 and the Future Stars Series, “Just a class act event. Top notch facility so far, and just excited to see what the future comes to all with this event.”
Gamboa went on to describe the opportunities for his team, saying, “We got out to the field and you got to take pregame, got some BP, I had scouts around evaluating players. In addition to that, we got some big league guys doing the times. Just running 60, 40 shuttles, the Blast Motion sensor. It was really intensive, in-depth, first day of the combine…. The advances in technology, I think they've got about four or five different companies out here. There's CrunchAnalytics, FlightScope, Blast Motion. Just all that technology, all the information just leading the pack. I haven't seen this at any event before”.
CEO and President of Baseball Operations for Program 15 and the New Balance Future Stars Series, Jeremy Booth agrees, stating, “The bar has definitely been raised, which is exactly what we set out to do from the beginning. Our mission is to change the game of baseball. Both on and off the field because I’ve watched too many players and their families pay a ton of money to have their hopes and expectations mismanaged. While it’s easy to put the blame on ‘Trophy Mills,' I think this occurs more often due to misinformation and evaluation errors than intentional deception. It’s generally good people giving bad advice.
But what’s more troubling to me, and to the future of baseball is the amount of raw talent that has gone unnoticed. Not just because of financial obstacles. I’ve seen players with tremendous potential neglected or completely ignored in the shadows of guys who happen to fit the current, and in my opinion, often flawed evaluation and prediction methods. Collectively, it’s a player evaluation and development failure, and I knew the whole process could be and should be better. That’s the foundation on which the Program 15 Combine Athletic Testing System was created and that’s what the Future Stars Series is all about.”
The Future Stars Series is the initiative between New Balance and Program 15 to elevate the game of baseball by providing amateur baseball players across all economic levels an opportunity to reach their full potential through the training, development, and guidance of former MLB players, scouts, and coaches.
For the latest Future Stars Series updates and announcements follow @ftrstarsseries on Twitter or visit https://futurestarsseries.com.
To learn more about Program 15, visit http://program15.com. And keep up-to-date with all of the latest Program 15 news and announcements on Twitter @Program15BB.
To learn more about New Balance baseball, visit http://www.newbalance.com/men/featured/baseball/, and follow @NB_Baseball on Twitter and @Nbbaseball on Instagram.
About Program 15:
Program 15, based in Houston, TX is built with the idea of quieting the noise and helping families to navigate the paths of proper instruction and development plans for all youth players with aspirations of playing baseball beyond high school and select ball levels through the execution of personalized development plans for each player.
About New Balance:
New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is the only major company to make or assemble more than 4 million pairs of athletic footwear per year in the USA, which represents a limited portion of our US sales. Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we label our shoes Made in the USA. New Balance owns five factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 5,000 associates around the globe, and in 2015 reported worldwide sales of $3.72 billion. To learn more about New Balance, please visit www.newbalance.com and for the latest press information please visit http://newbalance.newsmarket.com. Keep up-to-date with all of the latest New Balance news on Twitter @NewBalance and newbalance on Facebook.