Playing for the future: Futures Association helps young players earn professional careers

Local Sports

JOPLIN, Mo. — When it comes to developing game, young baseball players have a lot of options, as there are countless camps in the United States there to help, and a new one has recently popped up in Joplin.

It’s a 25-player camp that’s been running out of Joe Becker stadium, and organizers feel the smaller size gives its players an advantage in developing their game and beyond.

Justin Byrd, Futures Association Owner/General Manager, says, “Each one of them has come up to me at some point, shaking my hand, and saying, ‘Thank you, this is what I needed to further my career. I was laying at a Motel 6 six months ago staring at a wall, wondering what I’m doing with my life, if i still need to be playing baseball.'”

That’s what it’s all about at the Futures Association camp: playing baseball.

25 young players attended this year’s inaugural camp, strengthening their game and learning skills to help them further their careers.

Byrd says, “Looking back on my career, I wanted to put together for some young players something I wish I had when i was coming out of college.”

What sets the Futures Association apart from other camps is that the focus is not just on physical game; it’s on mental game as well.

Kash Beauchamp, Director of Baseball Operations, says, “The problem is everyone in baseball focuses on the physical approach to the game. If someone were to have taught me the mental approach to the game that I learned over ten years of playing when I was 15, 16, and 17, and I had that, I do believe my career would’ve gotten further, faster, a lot faster, instead of taking 18 years to figure it out. It’s not rocket science, and if you could just give these kids some tips, they’re smart enough to really apply it.”

The camp has been, by all means, successful, as seven out of the 25 players have now signed with professional ballclubs,

Liam Scafariello, outfielder, says, “I signed a contract with the Winnipeg Golden Eyes, with Kash. I’ll be playing under Kash. I’m very excited for the opportunity to make the ballclub, and I’m just super grateful for this opportunity where I am right now.”

Sam Troyer, Shortstop, says, “I got the opportunity to sign with the Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League, it’s a great opportunity and I’m so excited this came out of this.”

As for the future of the camp, Byrd wants to keep it going to help the futures of young baseball players.

Byrd says, “That’s what we’re doing here. We’re building futures for these ballplayers. We’re gonna come back to Joplin. Joplin’s a great location, we have great relationships here now, it’s gonna be a staple in the fall.”

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