Web Staff - For the second consecutive year, Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves laid out the welcome mat to Hawaii's boys of summer hosting an open tryout Saturday in Waipahu.
Atlanta's Area Scoting Supervisor Dan Cox, a 1991 Aiea graduate conducted the free of charge workout this morning at Hans L'Orange Field where pitchers and position players ages 16-30 tried to catch the attention of the National League East division club, which could lead to a signing, placement into independent ball, or advanced scouting for the youngsters.
"Last year we had 139 players at this event, it was a great event. We came across a couple of surprises, with Ashkhon Kuhaulua who was up to 95 mph, he ended up going to Menlo College. He didn't get drafted which was surprising, but we're going to have him throw in a little bit, so my job is to sign players out of this event" Cox told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
Cox added "This is a good event for high school players. 2017 players get an early look now during the fall. Kind of have an idea of what we're looking at next year and we also have some players who graduated this past year, like Kaimana Souza-Pa'aluhi who is going to go to Kansas. So I think a combination of the college guys coming out, passed over seniors that are guys we could typically sign if they're good enough and some of these follows. The high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors"
In regards to any players that may have heard about the tryout, but may have been intimidated about putting on the cleats and working out before the MLB team, Cox had a simple piece of advice.
"We have 15 year olds that come out. That's all I got to say. Kobie Russell from Waipahu came out last year as a 15 year old. Now he's a player that went to Area Code tryouts. He's getting college offers, and now scouts are talking to him. If you're 15 years old come out. Heck, if you're 30 years old come out. You got a good arm, come out, you never know" said Cox.
According to Cox, Kuhaulua is expected to be placed on an independent league team in California, where the Braves will definitley keep an eye on him. For a link to see dates of future Braves tryouts click here. Cox is confident that the team will return for third season in 2017.