All of the high-level players on the high school baseball scene get to see scouts come to their games.
But most are college scouts looking to get players for the next level.
For Lexington senior Ethan Small though, the scouts coming to see him play this season have been Major League Baseball scouts. He signed with Mississippi State this past fall.
“The scouts started coming when I was playing for Dulins at 14 years old, but those were college scouts” Small said. “So I have been dealing with scouts at my game since I was young.”
The most were the over 30 that came to see him face McNairy Central in the first game of the season. But even his most recent outing on Saturday evening had scouts from three MLB teams, including the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.
“It has been surreal,” Small said. “I have always dreamed for playing professional baseball out of high school. I am just taking it day by day.”
But Small said that even the largest groups of scouts doesn’t rattle him on the mound.
“I have to have tunnel vision,” he said. “It is about me hitting the mitt and attacking strike zone.”
Small has impressed throughout the season facing tough teams and retiring sides in order. On Saturday, he struck out 17 batters in 6.2 innings.
Staying level-headed and focusing on helping his teammates succeed has been the catalyst for the Small this season.
“I don’t know if they hold me to a higher level or not,” he said. “We have some good younger guys, so it is a good experience for them to play in front of it.”
Small hasn’t talked to many scouts during the season. He said that scouts usually talk to players during the fall and coaching in the spring to let the players focus on the spring season.
The Major League Baseball draft will be held June 8-10, and many are expecting Small to be drafted high.
“For me, it is a win-win situation,” Small said. “I will either sign to go pro or get to play at Mississippi State. I try not worry about it right now.”
But before the draft gets here, Small has his focus on getting Lexington back to the Class AA state tournament.
The Tigers are the No. 1 seed heading into the District 14-AA tournament this week.
“We started the season slow and have dealt with injuries, but we are starting to get everybody back,” Small said. “They are healthy, and we are hitting the ball better and moving the runs around.”
Michael Odom, 425-9754