Brandon Nimmo's future might not have been the only one changed after the first day of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft.

While the state of Wyoming certainly isn't ignored when it comes to scouting baseball talent, the extra attention paid to Nimmo during the lead up to this year's draft might just open a few more doors for the state's American Legion Baseball players.

"It doesn't hurt," Hall of Fame baseball writer and Cheyenne native Tracy Ringolsby said, "especially for a state like Wyoming that doesn't have a natural draw."

That natural draw would be sanctioned high school baseball; only Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota don't sanction the sport at the high school level. But the buzz surrounding the Cheyenne East and Post 6 Legion Baseball product has put more of a spotlight on the Legion baseball scene here in Wyoming.

"There [were] scouts emailing me asking me, ‘What day are you going to be in Cheyenne? We're going to be down there watching Brandon,'" Casper Legion Baseball coach Bobby Schoonover said. "It's great for all the kids and it's great for the state.

"Because now scouts may look at us and say, ‘Hey, there might be a kid up there.'"

Gillette American Legion Baseball coach Nate Perleberg, for one, thinks the baseball situation in the state of Wyoming gets "misinterpreted" on the national level.

"Programs like Cheyenne, and us in Gillette, we play 70, 80 games," Perleberg said. "It's just not referred to as high school baseball."

Nimmo's journey - which began on Monday when the New York Mets made the 13th overall selection Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft - has already opened doors for some of his teammates.

Cheyenne Post 6 players Tanner Renner and Cody Farrell could be drafted today or Wednesday. Both are signed with the College of Southern Nevada - which is where last year's top overall pick Bryce Harper spent his one year of college - but have benefited as much from the attention as their more-heralded teammate.

"With Brandon this year, it opened up the gates," said Farrell, who's older brother Patrick was a late round draft pick out of Regis University last year. "It's just been unreal."

Renner, too, felt that there was perceived lack of respect for Legion Baseball in Wyoming, but that mentality is starting to change.

"A lot of us Wyoming kids, we're just trying to get out there," Renner said. "Having Nimmo in the state really exploits us now, in a good way.

"The floodgates are open. Hopefully some other kids, they get seen and take it from there."

Schoonover told his players that while the scouts may be there to watch Nimmo, nothing says they can't make an effort to impress. Ringolsby, who is a TV analyst for the Colorado Rockies, said the extra looks will provide more chances for kids to play collegiately, as well.

"That's kind of what I always tell our guys: if you're good enough, they'll find you," Perleberg said.

Nimmo doesn't necessarily view himself as a pioneer - he's acutely aware that he was discovered because scouts were watching other top prospects at the national showcase events where he broke out. But he hopes the attention paid to him will continue to chip away at skepticism surrounding players who don't play sanctioned high school ball.

"Ninety other scouts were coming to look at the other guys that were hitting [batting practice] at the Tournament of Stars," Nimmo said. "Then I would just come in and hit little line drives everywhere and I hit one ball out.

"But somehow I got noticed."

It wasn't luck or chance though, that made Nimmo the highest drafted high school player in state history. And he doesn't expect to the last top prospect, either.

"We've got good baseball," Nimmo said. "Baseball is coming up. It's gotten a lot better in the last 10 years or so and it's going to keep getting better.

"I expect that I'm not going to be the last [top prospect]. I hope this just now starts a chain of one right after the other, then eventually plenty of them all getting looks."

But for all the young baseball players in the state, they'll certainly have a new role model to aspire to.

"It's seems like a really far shot to get drafted or what not," Perleberg said, "but Brandon's kind of proven that if you have some skill and really work hard - I mean the kid has just outworked everybody - anything is possible."

 

Contact sports reporter Clint Robus at clint.robus@trib.com or (307) 266-0615. Follow him on Twitter @ClintRobus

 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.