NORTHEAST KANSAS (KSNT) – In a K-Nation first, the weekly KU/K-State sports special featured a special guest from out west. San Fransisco Giants scout Yancy Ayres came in studio to talk baseball.
Ayres scouts five states for the Giants, including Kansas. He keeps a close eye on potential pro prospects at both K-State and KU.
Ayres provided a break down of what he looks for in a potential athlete. He also talks about the successful seasons from K-State’s Tyson Neighbors and KU’s Kodey Shojinaga.
While MLB scouts have to keep track of all the analytics of a player, Ayres says his scouting goes far beyond the numbers.
“I spend just as much time watching them in the dugout as I do out of the dugout,” Ayres said. “It’s not just them, it’s how other teammates react to them. How they lead on the field.”
Success is important, but scouts measure how well athletes bounce back from failure.
“Sometimes guys – especially high schoolers – they’ve never failed before. So we want to them get punched in the mouth and see how they react.”
Ayres says the scouting report goes well beyond an individual’s performance.
“We also look at parents, too,” Ayres said. “Is there a parent out there going crazy? That factors into it, too.”
K-State closer Tyson Neighbors has garnered attention for being a flamethrower – reaching speeds of 99 mph with his fastball. Ayres says there’s more than the heat to be impressed by.
“He has two different breaking balls, and they’re both strikeout pitches,” Ayres said. “He’s got some grit to him, too. He’s not afraid to show it on the mound.”
KU second baseman Kodey Shojinaga was recently named Big 12 co-freshman of the year after leading the team in on-base percentage and hits. Ayres says his performance has earned him some attention by scouts.
“He can definitely swing the bat,” Ayres said. “He’s a young one that can hit, and he’s already put himself on the radar.”
K-Nation airs every Sunday night on KSNT after 27 News at 10.