EDINBURG — October is a bit early for Sam Street to start feeling nerves on the baseball field. What looked like an ordinary practice was anything but as MLB scouts gazed upon the players at Edinburg Baseball Stadium.
With 22 of the 30 MLB teams represented in Edinburg, Street admitted to some butterflies.
“I guess it makes it a little bit more intense,” Street said with a smile. “It’s our first intrasquad scrimmage this year so a lot of us are just trying to get back into the swing of things.”
Street and the rest of the Broncs hit the field for their first team scrimmage of the season, which also doubled as Scout Day. This was the fifth year UTPA has held a scout day in which MLB scouts from different teams get a chance to see if UTPA players have what it takes at the next level.
UTPA assistant coach Norberto Lopez said scout day has grown considerably for the Broncs since its inception.
“Our first year we had first scout,” Lopez said. “This is a great day of satisfaction for the coaching staff to see our guys get the chance, the opportunity to showcase their talents for Major League Baseball.”
It was a tough environment for the Broncs’ players to be successful — Lopez said UTPA has to cater the schedule for the scouts, so they had to make some concessions. The players said they were a little rusty after not playing in a game in months.
Senior infielder Albert Morales said it was difficult to feel comfortable but said everyone on the team gave their max effort.
“It’s always a little tough to step in the box and see live-pitching for the first time in awhile,” Morales said. “No excuses, you just need to come out here and get it done.”
Street said he is trying to build on last season’s success, where he went 10-3 with a 2.73 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings pitched. He’s primarily spending the fall working on his changeup.
“Last year I was pretty inconsistent with it and didn’t have much success with it,” Street said. “I’ve worked hard with (UTPA assistant coach Brandon Hennessey) to really try and dominate that pitch. If so, it’ll be a weapon.”
Lopez said he was excited about what the Broncs showed. Some of his pitchers were hitting between 90 and 95 mph on the radar guns and his position players were recording fast times to first base.
Street said even so, today wasn’t the day that decides draft status. He said as long as the Broncs take care of business if their first season in the WAC, the rest will take care of itself.
“It’s important, but I understand it’s not the be-all, end-all,” Street said. “Today doesn’t get you drafted, it doesn’t get you undrafted. It’ll help put you on the map but the biggest thing is to have a big year. If you do well there, they’ll find out who you are.”