Baylor School has become accustomed to national recognition regarding its baseball program, and the Red Raiders will be back in the spotlight on the diamond this coming week.
Baylor seniors Danny Corona, Jay Dill, Cooper Kinney and Vytas Valincius will have the chance to be seen by Major League Baseball scouts at the East Coast Pro Showcase this Sunday through Wednesday at the Hoover Met Complex near Birmingham, Alabama.
East Coast Pro was formed in 1995 to evaluate and educate athletes who hope to play professional baseball, as well as their parents. According to the organization's website, since the showcase began in 1995, it has produced 80 to 110 players every year who are selected in MLB's first-year player draft.
"This is a huge honor for our program and school," Baylor baseball coach Greg Elie said. "For four of our players to have this opportunity is really special. I am happy for them. They have earned it and will represent us well."
Corona, Dill, Kinney and Valincius all attended a showcase tryout in Cincinnati last month, with all four selected for the Cincinnati Reds East Coast Pro team, which consists of 26 of the top players in the high school graduating class of 2021 from Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and the western portion of Pennsylvania.
MLB scouts from each organization are in charge of putting the teams together and coaching them. On the first day, the players will show abilities such as arm strength, fielding and speed, and they will also take batting practice in front of scouts. Monday through Wednesday, each team will play one nine-inning game per day to give scouts live looks at the players in game form.
Dill, who has committed to the University of Missouri, is scheduled to pitch three innings Wednesday.
"Jay can throw the ball really well and hard," Elie said of the 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander who helped the Red Raiders win a second straight TSSAA Division II-AA state championship in spring 2019 and "has been hitting 92-93 on the gun lately. He has a filthy changeup and has started to throw a slider last summer that is really nice, too."
Valincius, who transferred to Baylor this past school year, when baseball season was wiped out due to the pandemic, is a 6-4, 240-pound first baseman who is committed to South Carolina, as is Kinney.
"When Vytas hits, people laugh at how hard the ball comes off the bat," Elie said. "He's performed at two national events this year, and he has had the highest or tied for the fastest exit velocity in both events."
Corona, who is committed to Wake Forest, and Kinney will also try to gain attention in Alabama.
"Danny is a phenomenal all-around player, and Cooper swings it with the best of them," Elie added. "They are both going to be really fun to watch. I am proud of all of those guys for working so hard to get here. Nick Kurtz would have had a great chance to be here, too, but he is hurt.
"We are excited for what is to come next year at Baylor. We have five guys who will certainly be on the radar of major league scouts, and that's really amazing."