Arkansas is nicknamed ‘The Natural State’, and that name suits it well for the amount of natural baseball talent seen around the entire state. The Arkansas Prospects pull that talent in to create college-ready players starting from the youth level through high school and take an emphasis on providing quality coaching and teaching in their travel baseball tournament organization — not just winning games and accumulating stats. Since its creation in 2009, the Prospects have had 20+ draft picks, and they have moved on 300+ players to the next level since 2013.
What contributes to their prolonged success? Andy Menard — Co-owner of Arkansas Prospects and Director of High School Showcase — simply says, “We’re going to do it right and take no shortcuts along the way.” Andy emphasize how the Prospects aren’t laid back in their coaching, teaching, and gameplay during the summer. “Our coaches are required to have a college level background, either coaching or playing. But mainly these guys are all in it for one reason: to do it for the right reason and to help players reach their goals and dreams of playing at the next level. The competitive nature and the development pieces of our program is what makes us stand out. We are going to run coverages, talk about hitting approaches, and continue to teach to make sure these players are in the right mindset during the summer. There are a lot of good programs out there in the state, and I believe this is why kids from Arkansas are starting to excel and go to big places.”
Rawlings Platinum Club
A nationally-known organization and a Rawlings Platinum Program, the Arkansas Prospects have a reputation as being one of the top-tier amateur baseball programs in the country. “We’re a Rawlings Platinum Program, which is their highest honor. We’ve been part of the Rawlings program for 10 years now. They’ve helped us brand our program accordingly and help us continue to grow,” states Andy. “As far as why we continue to have success: we have a really good network of coaches and players. We have partnered with several organizations over the years to make sure we are helping get these guys names out there to colleges. The talent is extremely high in Arkansas, and there are a number of reasons for that. There’s a lot of travel baseball programs in the state that work with these guys at younger ages, so by the time they filter into high school, they have a really good background and foundation. A lot of that starts at the youth level and their commitment to the game.”
Related News: Top Teams & Players in 2020
Top Notch Program Extends into Youth & Training Facility
The Arkansas Prospects training facility is located in Sherwood, Arkansas. The 10,000 sq. ft. facility offers a plethora of opportunities for training and providing their players with the tools to succeed. “We offer hitting and pitching training, but we do a lot of different strength and agility as well. We also do arm care and velocity training. On the mental training side, we try to instill in these players that baseball is a game of failure and show them how to overcome the frustrations in order to be successful.” The Prospects also emphasize making the game fun and enjoyable for the youth. “The number one thing for youth is that you have to keep youth travel baseball fun. There’s a lot of burnout and force on them. We try to keep it fun for the kids and develop them to be a better teammate. By the time they go through our program, we want them to be molded into a college-ready athlete.”
Quality over Quantity
What really makes the Arkansas Prospects stick out is that they are a quality over quantity organization. “We will only carry max two teams per age group from the youth up to high school. That is by design; we are a quality over quantity program. We look for players who have aspirations to play baseball at the next level but most importantly get these guys ready for high school.” When asked what advice to give to players who aspire to play at the next level, Andy quoted, “Make sure you prepare on a daily basis. Working out is not optional. College and pro-level players do it year-round. If that’s who you want to be, then you have to do it now. Hard work is going to take you where you want you want to be, and that is what we teach our players every day.”
In 2021, the Arkansas Prospects will have 15+ teams ranging from 8u-18u and play in high-level scouted baseball tournaments. We are excited to cover the Arkansas Prospects organization this summer!