STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Tucked away in a baseball facility off Veterans Memorial Parkway in Statesboro, Harold Coll quietly puts in the work in hopes of getting a call on draft night.
If and when the 2020 MLB Draft happens, the 18-year-old shortstop on the Georgia Premier Academy team has been projected by some to go in the early rounds.
“I’ve been working to this dream of mine since I was a little kid,” Coll said, taking a break from his workout at the academy’s indoor facility. “To have them notice me as a potential prospect is pretty good.”
The University of North Carolina commit moved down from Massachusetts in October of 2019 to hone his skills and hopefully catch the eyes of pro scouts. It seems to have paid off.
“When I got him in the fall it didn’t take but ten ground balls until we were like ‘ok this kids has got something’,” Coll’s coach Gene Reynolds said. “He’s got to have the best high school shortstop arm in the country.”
Coll’s game on defense comes with some flare to it. Spend 10 minutes watching him take ground balls and you are bound to see a deft flip to second base or a fancy exchange to quickly get the ball from his glove to his throwing hand.
“Yea I like being aggressive and I like to show off a bit like through the legs,” Coll said with a grin. “But when it’s game time I’m focused and do what I have to do.”
Reynolds, a self-proclaimed ‘old-school’ coach, has admitted he’s warmed up to Coll’s fancy glovework. “His hands — they are so strong and quick with the things he is able to do,” Reynolds explained. “It wasn’t something he did for show. It’s something he did naturally.”
You don’t have to look far to find the last Georgia Premier Academy player taken in the MLB Draft. Last year, Daniel Espino was selected 24th by the Cleveland Indians. Coll said it’s guys like Espino that helped him realize Statesboro was the place to train leading up to the draft.
“It’s a big responsibility to come here and work,” Coll added. “[Getting drafted] was always part of the plan and I knew at some point I would get seen and noticed.”