Over the past seven weeks, USA Baseball conducted four Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) Winter Camps: three for male prospects in December in San Diego, Houston, and Vero Beach, Florida, and one in January for female prospects in Phoenix.
These three-day camps went in-depth on not just the fundamentals of both sides of the ball, but also the mental approach to the game as well as preventative care methods for pitchers and position players. This is the second year that the PDP Winter Camps have been held, but the PDP Premier concept of providing developmental opportunities to prospects goes back to 2017.
The topics that were covered in each camp included: base-running, base-stealing, bunting, position-specific defensive instruction, hitting development, arm care, the importance of stretching, and scrimmaging in a controlled environment to execute those specific skills. At the three camps in December, players attended a strength and conditioning seminar with Jim Malone, who spent more than 20 years as a strength coach in Major League Baseball with stints at six Clubs.
The instruction was provided by coaches who have a wealth of experience in the game and have some sort of connection to USA Baseball. Former MLB player and Olympic gold medalist Mike Kincade, three-time Women’s National Team manager and Coordinator of Player Development for the Oakland Athletics Veronica Alvarez, and two-time Collegiate National Team coach and author of Amazon Best Seller, “Catching-101: The Complete Guide for Baseball Catchers,” Xan Barksdale, are just a few of the many names that were present.
In addition to this high-level instruction that players received, they were given the opportunity to take part in a series of assessments which measure cognitive skills, speed of processing, athletic performance, and on-field talent. These assessments not only provide the players with an additional resource for data comparison as they work towards a future national team program, but the results are distributed to the 30 professional clubs in preparation for the MLB Draft and USA Baseball for future national team identification.
With the use of PDP assessment technologies, including equipment from developmental partner Rapsodo, below are some of the top assessment numbers recorded at the camps:
These PDP Winter Camps play an important role in the future of America’s pastime. They allow USA Baseball staff and coaches to remain in contact with top prospects during the offseason and continue the relationship-building process in preparation for the following summer. Needless to say, it is an experience that is unmatched for athletes who are looking to prepare for the next level of their careers.