MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Warm-weather tournaments offer good looks

Warm-weather tournaments offer good looks

While the weather on the East Coast hasn't been pretty as the Draft season has gotten underway, conditions out west have been just fine. Early in the college season, there are often mini-tournaments that provide scouts the ability to see multiple teams in one, warm setting. And while seeing, say, Arizona State, in Tempe, is always nice, it's even better when a cold-weather school gets to come out to a better climate.

While it's been raining and chilly in the Pacific Northwest, for instance, Oregon State spent last weekend in Tempe to play in the Husker Classic. The Beavers are back in Arizona again this weekend to participate in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. That will give scouts looks at Top 50 talent like Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis under ideal conditions two weeks in a row.

The University of Washington joins OSU from the Pac-12 this weekend, while Nebraska and Indiana will represent the Big Ten. There will be many eyes on Hoosiers catcher Kyle Schwarber, perhaps the best college backstop in this year's class.

It can often be a scramble to get enough good looks at a potential first-round pick who plays home games in a region where it might not warm up for quite some time. There's typically a rush to places like Indiana late in the spring to make sure players such as Schwarber are evaluated fully. Seeing him in Surprise, Ariz., this weekend allows many teams to be ahead of the game early in the season.

"When you have players you have up there pretty high, from the cold weather states, you want to see them as early as you can," one scouting director said. "This is a good chance to see Schwarber and the Oregon State guys. It helps with the depth of your Draft list and gives you a chance to look at the cold-weather guys quickly."

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.