The Crossroads Baseball Series has added a new dimension to the scouting process for baseball players hoping to land a slot in college.
Eric Blakeley, who runs the series that will play its Indiana stop on Tuesday at U.S. Steel Yard, is giving pro scouts a chance to check out the talent in the state and rate the best of the best.
Scouts from the Cincinnati Reds will analyze all of the athletes at the showcase, giving each a rating on a scale from 20-80. A 55 is usually a player who will be drafted.
No such 50s have appeared yet in Crossroads Series showcases in Illinois and Ohio, but more than 200 players from across the state will have a chance to break the number today.
"I've talked to a lot of college coaches and they tell me that the Indiana event is cream of the crop of all the events that we run," Blakeley said. "Indiana is the No. 1 event that they do all of their recruiting at. Basically, you're taking only Indiana kids and bringing all of the top players together."
Though missing from this year's list is two players from Andrean who were invited and two from Noblesville, both teams that are playing in the state finals this weekend. IHSAA rules prohibit players from playing their in-season sport for another team while the season is on-going.
Also added to the makeup of the showcase this year is a question and answer period with a panel of coaches from Division I to NAIA after batting practice. Previously, the Q&A session was held at a dinner prior to the series.
"We switched that up a little bit because it's easier on players and their parents," Blakeley said. "The Q&A gives players and parents a chance to look at college coaches, ask them questions and find out if they can give scholarships athletically or academically, because different schools have different structures. They can tell what they're looking for in a player and it gives parents an idea about the recruiting process."
The Northwest team plays against the Central team at 5:45 p.m.