The Major League baseball draft is scheduled to take place June 10th. There is some speculation as to whether the draft will be delayed, or even bypassed altogether, but if it is held there’s a good chance another member of Statesboro’s Georgia Premier Academy could go pretty high.
Last year pitcher Daniel Espino was selected by the Cleveland Indians with the 24th overall pick in the MLB draft, this year Georgia Premier shortstop Harold Coll is hoping to join him.
Coll came to Statesboro six months ago from Boston Massachusetts, where he played at Cathedral High School.
“My parents and I were looking for a place for me to train, and get ready for college,” Coll said. “A close friend of mine named Winston Guerrero spoke highly of Georgia Premier, and I moved down here in the fall.”
“I wasn’t really nervous about making the move down here,” Coll said. “I knew if I wanted to get where I’d like to get, I had to make a move.”
Coll wasn’t the only one happy with the move, as Georgia Premier coach Gene Reynolds was excited to get Coll on campus.
“We were actually looking for a shortstop before the season and one of my former players told me he had a player we really needed to look at,” Reynolds said. “I didn’t think about it much because a lot of former players have recommendations that don’t always pan out. I went to the website for Perfect Game, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Harold was the real deal.”
“I got his number and talked to his dad immediately,” Reynolds said. “Harold’s dad is from Puerto Rico, and his mom is Dominican. Daniel Espino and his parents, who are from Panama, made a call to Harold’s parents to tell them how much he enjoyed his time here. A few days later he was on his way here.”
Being at Georgia Premier has also given Coll the ability to spend a lot more time working on his game.
“Back home I was in school from seven till four each day,” Coll said. “I had to take the train back and forth to Sudbury, and it was a lot of time and hassle. Here I am able to train every day, rain or shine, and all the facilities are right here.”
Regardless of where Coll goes in the MLB draft, he has already signed with the University of North Carolina, and feels great about his decision.
“I had always wanted to go to the University of North Carolina,” Coll said. “I have family in the area, and it is a great school. They saw me at an event I was playing in, and I spoke to one of their coaches. They have been great with keeping up with me, and it’s somewhere I’ve wanted to go even as a kid.”
Reynolds feels Coll could definitely make the move straight to the big leagues, or spend a few years in college at North Carolina, but there’s no mistaking his talent.
“Shortstop is a premium position,” Reynolds said. Being a former shortstop myself, it takes a lot to impress me. One of the first days he was down here we hit him some ground balls and he did something amazing with his glove, that stopped me and one of our assistant coaches in our tracks.”
In the six months since Coll has been in Statesboro he has put on 15 pounds of muscle, and improved his arm strength, and bat speed.
“The more we have watched Harold the more impressive he becomes,” Reynolds said. “He has been clocked at up to 97 miles per hour on the gun across the diamond. He has a combination of the guys that have the Latin flair, and being fundamentally sound. He has put on some muscle, and really improved his bat speed, and the ball really jumps off his bat.”
The future is still up in the air with the current state of the nation. Reynolds feels whatever happens Coll will have plenty of positive options.
“The pro scouts have been very limited as to the time they have been able to see players,” Reynolds said. “Most of them will be going off of what they saw last summer at the big events."
Scouts currently aren’t allowed to go out, or even contact players. If the draft is postponed, or even done away with, Harold will be fine at North Carolina, he’s a great kid with a bright future