RaeKwon Bennett is hoping to make a breakthrough this week.
Evans High School’s starting shortstop is in Houston participating in the Breakthrough Series, an invitation-only, all-expenses-paid venture between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball. The event focuses mainly on top minority high school players from across the country, providing them the opportunity to showcase their abilities.
Bennett was scheduled to work out with 60 other players at Houston’s Urban Youth Academy. On Thursday he will compete in a game at Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros. The game will be televised on MLB Network beginning at noon.
“Playing at Minute Maid Park is amazing, but I believe more exciting will be getting to see pro players and learning from them and getting experience,” Bennett said.
Players were chosen after being recommended by scouts from the MLB Scouting Bureau and MLB Urban Academies, among others. Their workouts will be observed by college recruiters and professional scouts.
“These kids have made it to this point on their own, so we’re just trying to give them a little nudge or support to help facilitate whatever dreams they may have,” said Ben Baroody, baseball development manager, Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner. “Whether it’s to play in college or play professionally, anything we can do.
“We’ve had four first-round draft picks. Last year in the 2013 draft, there were 22 players selected that have played in the event and even kids who played in the event last year were drafted in 2013.”
The experience plays into what Bennett, a rising junior who has been playing baseball almost his entire life, wants to do.
“My dream is to get drafted straight out of high school,” Bennett said. “If the right thing happens, then that would be great to go into the MLB right out of high school. Anything bad happens and I’ll go right straight to college and get my education.”