Major League Baseball held tryouts this week at the Eagles Praha Baseball Club in Krc, Czech Republic. Fifty-two athletes, ages 15-19, and selected by the Czech Republic national baseball federation, represented the top cadet and junior national team talent from the Czech Republic on Wednesday, May 4th. Sixty-two athletes, representing baseball clubs from Lithuania, Ukraine, Austria, France, Poland and Slovakia, attended the first session on Tuesday, May 3rd.
The sessions were run by MLB staff, including former Boston Red Sox pitching great Bruce Hurst, and scouts from the MLB Scouting Bureau. As in previous years, Major League Baseball is evaluating talent and offering players a chance to demonstrate their skills in front of professional evaluators. The staff evaluates running speed, arm strength, defensive ability, hitting and pitching. The strongest candidates will be considered for the MLB European Academy, the centerpiece of Major League Baseball’s player development programs in Europe.
The MLB European Academy will take place from August 3 – 27 at the CONI Olympic Training Center in Tirrenia, Italy. Since its inception in 2005, the MLB Academy has brought together 227 players from 27 nations to work with some of the best Major League coaches and instructors. Of these players, 45 have gone on to sign professional contracts with Major League clubs.
Last year, eight players, Ivan Aubrecht (Kotlářka), Matĕj Brabec (Technika Brno), Matĕj Menśík (Technika Brno), Marek Minařík (Louny), Jan Novak (Kotlářka), Viktor Šmidt (Eagles Praha), Daniel Vavruša and Tomáš Žondra (Hroši Brno), represented the Czech Republic at the MLB European Academy in Italy.
In 2010, Marek Minařík (Philadelphia Phillies) and Štěpán Havlícek (Tampa Bay Rays) signed professional contracts.
Photos: © Jan Benes