A whole new ball game

When junior Avery Short played his first baseball game at six years of age, he never once imagined he would be in the position he finds himself in now.

“I’ve always believed in myself, but I didn’t really expect to get to this level that I’m at,” Short said. “It’s kind of crazy, I dreamed about it, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it.”

Short is currently the number one baseball prospect for his junior class in the state and has caught an incredible amount of attention from professional scouts and agents wanting to represent him. Short was able to draw this kind of attention to himself due to his pitching in national tournaments that he has appeared in with his travel ball team.

At only 17, Short has had to deal with people approaching him, such as professional agents wanting to be the ones helping him make his major decisions about baseball.

“The only people that really talk to (me) right now are agents, and they just try and get to know (me) and give (me) a presentation on what they do in their companies specifically,” Short said. “The scouts don’t really talk to you until after the draft.”

Short currently does not have anyone representing him, but he says that he tries to talk to all of the agents that approach him whether he is really interested in having them represent him or not. He does this to keep his options open in case something doesn’t work out with the agents that he is interested in.
When it comes to Short’s parents, they want him to be able to make the decision on who represents him, but they also want to be able to help take the stress off of him by having most of the conversations with the agents go through them first.

According to Short’s step father, Scott Bryan, people contact him every day about his step son.

“With the 2018 draft coming to a close…, we now have professional agencies that are contacting Avery, contacting me, contacting his mom,” Bryan said.

At Short’s age, the amount of attention he is receiving can be viewed as unusual, but Short’s stats and performances in games prove that he is worthy of those chasing after his attention.

According to MaxPreps, this season Short has pitched 38.2 innings against 142 batters, and has recorded 69 strikeouts as of May 14. On top of that, Short has been invited to several upcoming showcases to play in, one of the biggest being the Tournament of Stars. According to Short, over the summer he plans to go to Cary, N.C. for this tournament, which is a tournament where nationally, the top 80 players of the junior class are invited to the showcase to try out for the U.S. 18u National team.

The way the tournament is played, is that the 80 kids recruited nationally are each put on four separate teams for one week. After the week is over, they send 40 kids home, leaving the other 40 to continue on and compete for a spot in the top 20 chosen to be on the U.S. 18u National team that will play internationally.

Although Short has all of this noise surrounding him, he manages to stay humble and modest. Bryan says that Short has never really been someone who walks around and brags about his achievements and that he and his mother try to help keep him grounded.

“He is not an egomaniac,” Bryan said. “A lot of his friends don’t realize what he is going through or what he’s dealing with or what an opportunity he might have here in 13 months, so he is pretty modest in that regard. He doesn’t walk around with a big head…we keep him pretty grounded.”

Bryan also says that he and Short’s mother continuously remind him that there are people out there who he is competing against that are working just as hard as he is. They try to help Short realize he needs to continue working hard because he hasn’t really accomplished anything until he is drafted.

Short says he tries to keep himself as humble as possible, and he works hard constantly because he knows that there are people who are still better than him and he is not as good as he can be yet.

As his senior year approaches, Short has a stressful decision looming in the distance: will he continue his baseball career into college at Indiana University, or will he go to straight to the MLB draft? Short was offered a hefty scholarship to Indiana University in December of his sophomore year to play baseball, easing some of the pressure of this upcoming decision.

“It’s awesome and stressful at the same time because it’s what I’ve always dreamed of,” Short said. “But making the decision is stressful, but it’s a really good stress to have.”