What began in the fall of 2016 as a grassroots initiative between New Balance Baseball and PROGRAM 15 to provide amateur 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 – has quickly emerged as the gold standard for player identification and development events in the amateur baseball world.
PROGRAM 15, the Official Global Grassroots Player Identification and Development Program for New Balance Baseball, has been responsible for executing all Future Stars Series events since its inception. Led by President and CEO Jeremy Booth and backed by P15’s staff with decades of Pro Baseball scouting experience, The Future Stars Series has earned a reputation as the most comprehensive amateur baseball player identification and development experience available.
That’s no surprise given the incredible milestones achieved by PROGRAM 15 over the past five years, such as:
- Implementing the PROGRAM 15 model of evaluation and role prediction.
- Developing International, amateur scouting, and player development departments.
- Growing The Future Stars Series footprint to cover 13 countries, impacting over 15,000 athletes throughout the world.
- Spotlighting over 70 MLB Draft Picks and International Signings along with hundreds of college committed players who have participated in Future Stars Series events.
- The creation and expansion of major Future Stars Series annual events including the Underclass Elite, Fresh 50, World and National Pro Combines as well as the FSS Main Event which has been hosted twice at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and most recently at Citifield, home of the New York Mets.
- Overseeing the execution of the first baseball game in an MLB park with fans during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
- Opening enrollment for P15 Scout School to develop the next wave of MLB professionals, including the opportunity to join the PROGRAM 15 scouting staff in areas around the country upon completion.
- Creating a Baseball Operations Internship pipeline with MLB to prepare candidates for non-player roles in professional baseball organizations, including Will Scott who recently joined the San Diego Padres as an Area Scout in the Four Corners.
- Rolling out P15 instructs – Premier live and virtual online player development and feedback program welcomed its inaugural class. Players participating in the program can earn invitations to Future Stars Series Signature Events all the way to the Main Event at Citi Field.
- Formation of The Future Stars Series Advisory Board, which includes 28 MLB personnel and their clubs standing with the initiative.
While Booth’s passion and dedication to the development and discovery of elite amateur players may fuel his vision for the next chapter of PROGRAM 15, he has no hesitation in crediting his highly skilled staff for bringing that vision to life. Continuing his unwavering commitment to change the game of baseball, Booth announced the following PROGRAM 15 Baseball Operations Staff Promotions, effective immediately.
Gordon Blakeley – VP of Player Personnel
Blakeley has been with PROGRAM 15 since 2019. Reporting directly to President and CEO Jeremy Booth, he is responsible for player selection and advancement within the Future Stars Series Scouting & Development framework. Blakeley is a 35 year MLB veteran in the executive and scouting departments with the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves. Blakeley has been involved in the scouting, signing, and development of many current and former MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Alfonso Soriano, El Duque Hernandez, Miguel Andujar, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, and Ron Acuna. Personally signing 13 players that appeared in MLB All-Star Games, Blakeley has earned five World Series rings and seven American League Championships.
Chris Capozzi – VP of Baseball Operations
Capozzi has been with PROGRAM 15 since 2019. Reporting directly to President and CEO Jeremy Booth, he will assist in the implementation and construction of both individual and team events. With a unique ability to bring lessons from the locker room to the board room, Capozzi is a highly respected consultant, speaker, strategic planner, and seasoned coach on and off the field.
Rick Oliver – VP of Scouting and Player Development
Oliver has been with PROGRAM 15 since 2018. He will oversee the P15 Scouting and Development department along with his role as the main instructor for P15 Scout School as well as lead in selecting the replacement for his previous position as P15 Director of Scouting. Oliver brings 28 years of experience with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau; 10 years as an area scout, 18 years as the Assistant Director with oversight of amateur scouting, cross-checking, and Scout School, as well as, 11 years as a collegiate coach at University of La Verne, Cal State Fullerton (CWS) and Chapman College. Oliver played four years in the California Angels organization, finishing in Triple-A (PCL Champions).
James Lofton Jr. – Director of Player Development
Lofton has been with PROGRAM 15 since 2019, appearing as a team manager in every FSS Signature Event. He leads the execution of player development for each event, driving the progressive flow and feedback for each player to reach their ceiling. The former Boston Red Sox shortstop spent 15 years in the pros, including the Boston, Baltimore, and Cincinnati minor league systems, as well as in several independent leagues.
Anthony Granato – Field Coordinator
Granato has been with PROGRAM 15 since 2017. Along with his duties as P15’s National Infield Coordinator, Granato works alongside James Lofton Jr. in event flow and combine execution. Granato’s professional baseball career includes 10 years with the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies organizations as well as Independent and International professional baseball leagues.
Jose Silva – International Pitching Coordinator
Silva has been with PROGRAM 15 since 2017. Appearing at all FSS Signature Events, he leads PROGRAM 15 pitching development internationally, contributing as a primary instructor domestically as well. Silva’s professional baseball career includes six seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cincinnati Reds. Silva has represented Mexico as a coach in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and 2020 Summer Olympics.
Jason Phillips – Special Assistant to Player Development, Pitching
Phillips has been with PROGRAM 15 since 2017. Heavily involved in P15 Instructs and player feedback, Phillips attends events domestically and internationally, working with Pitching Coordinators Jose Silva and Stephen Randolph in all major events. Phillips is a former Major League pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians.
Danny Sheaffer – Catching Coordinator
Sheaffer leads catching development through FSS Scouting and Development events and P15 instructs and is a Team Manager at all FSS Signature Events. Sheaffer is a Major League veteran, including seven seasons as a player with the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals, and 10 years as a manager and coach in the Minor Leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros organizations.
Booth said about the promotions, “We’re excited to formalize these positions with the people who have such a hand in the P15/FSS culture and execution of that culture to impact players and the game as a whole. I’m personally thankful for their work ethic and dedication to deliver in all aspects of our core values and, most importantly, to pass those on to the players who participate here. From the beginning of their tenure, this group of professionals has set an example, and I’m able to learn from all of them every day as we set course for the future together. “