He won a state championship on the mound, sported an 11-0 record and 1.20 earned run average, and his fastball has touched 95 mph.
Yet Broomfield’s Brandon Bailey wasn’t selected to play in the Colorado Rockies Futures Game. The junior, who gave a verbal commitment to Gonzaga last week, is miffed.
Did the Rockies essentially hold Bailey hostage? According to his father Brad, yes.
“That’s exactly what they did,” Brad Bailey said.
According to Brad Bailey, the Rockies first tried to entice Brandon to play on their fall scout team — a pay-to-play squad fielded by Wheat Ridge-based Diamond Club Baseball — with a personal call from former second baseman Terry Shumpert.
“Then (Rockies scout team coach) Wayne Doland called Brandon and basically told him that if he played for the Rockies scout team, he’d be guaranteed to play in the Futures Game,” Brad Bailey said.
The Baileys felt they were given an ultimatum and a deadline. Brandon Bailey decided against playing for the Rockies scout team, instead electing to remain loyal to the Davy Jones Cardinals (formerly Playball Sports) club team, to which he had committed in December.
He was subsequently left off the Futures roster for this Sunday’s game at Coors Field. Granted, at the time of the alleged ultimatum, Bailey wasn’t yet a state champion, but he held an 8-0 record with an ERA below 1.00 for what turned out to be the finest team in 4A.
Doland denied giving Bailey any ultimatum.
“No, no, no, that was never stated. That is false,” Doland said. “His dad asked me that if he was not a member of the Rockies scout team, would he still have an opportunity to participate. I said absolutely. The composition of that underclassmen team is not exclusively Rockies scout team kids.”
The Futures Game, sponsored by the Rockies and largely billed as the state’s prep baseball all-star game, has evolved over time. In the past, media helped select the top 40 or 50 seniors in the state to compete against each other on two separate teams. Nowadays, 20 of the state’s top seniors square off against 20 or so of the state’s top underclassmen, with rosters now selected solely by Rockies personnel.
Doland — also a coach for Diamond Club — maintained that the game is an accurate depiction of the state’s top seniors and underclassmen.
But what irks the Baileys is that many players selected to the underclassmen squad haven’t made their mark in varsity ball.
Chaparral sophomore Cody Huson scantly played this spring, yet his beast of a teammate Max Kuhns (nine home runs this season) was left off. Huson is the son of Jeff Huson, a Rockies analyst for Root Sports. Another selection, Columbine sophomore Blake Weiman, pitched just six innings this season.
Weiman and Huson are members of the Rockies scout team. Asked if that’s why they were on the Futures roster, Doland said: “I’m not going to answer that question.” He deferred to the Rockies scouting department.
A message left for Rockies community affairs manager Paul Parker, who has overseen the game for several years, was not returned.
The list goes on.
Heritage’s Nick Shumpert performed well this spring but is a freshman. He is the son of Terry Shumpert, the aforementioned former Rockies player. Arvada West shortstop Justin Mulvaney, a solid sophomore whose father and uncle coach for Diamond Club, was also included.
“There was a nominating committee and (Bailey’s) name did not come up,” Doland said. “There were other kids, too, who had very good numbers and unfortunately we can’t take everyone. And sometimes, too, it comes down to pitchers vs. position players to fill out rosters.”
But that explanation rings hollow for the Baileys when Brandon, who has been invited to a private tryout with the Kansas City Royals, was passed over for players who haven’t seen much playing time or put up numbers similar to his.
“I told Wayne that we’re staying with Davy Jones baseball because we made that commitment in December,” Brad Bailey said. “But I asked him straight-up: ‘Brandon still will get to play in the Futures Game, right?’ He says: ‘No, not necessarily.'”
While true that not every player selected to the Futures Game underclassmen team is a member of the Rockies fall team, nearly all of the exceptions play either for 5A champion Cherry Creek’s summer program (well-respected Bruins coach Marc Johnson also is a Rockies scout) or have a tie to the organization in some way.
Bailey wasn’t the lone possible snub from the Futures Game.
Included in that mix is Mountain Range’s Tyler Fox, one of the top pitchers in 5A this season, who was left off the seniors team. None of Bailey’s state champion Broomfield teammates, including University of Portland recruit Jackson Lockwood, were selected.
Brad Bailey said that he and Brandon had mulled over the situation on a visit to Wichita State and called Doland when they returned, with Doland asking for a decision prior to noon on Monday, May 14, because the rosters were being selected that day.
“I told him we wouldn’t be able to play for the Rockies scout team in the fall,” Brad Bailey said. “He said, ‘That’s fine. You probably made the best decision for your son.’ And he hung up on me.”
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