From his invitation to the USA team tryouts to the Cincinnati Reds Area Code team to his invitation to “play up” at a juniors prospect camp at Stanford, Incline sophomore Tommy Dolan is getting into baseball’s seldom seen and relatively unknown stratospheres.
Dolan recently was asked to accept a position on the Tampa Bay Rays “scout team.”
“It wasn’t even a tryout,” Dolan explained. “They just said that they wanted me on the team and that they would like me to join them at their new facility in Reno. It’s pretty cool because they don’t have fees like travel ball because the team is sponsored by the Rays.”
Dolan is the youngest player on the team, which is made up of mostly high school seniors and juniors from Northern California and Nevada. Some of the seniors will commit to schools such as LSU, Alabama and other “Top 25” colleges in the country.
The team’s manager, Pat Flury, is also the head pitching coach at the University of Nevada, Reno. Upon meeting Dolan, Flury said that he “knows every pitch Tom throws, how fast, and what happens to it on the way to the plate,” adding that he’d been given Dolan’s profile by a Tampa Bay Rays scout who had seen Dolan at the “Area Codes” in Las Vegas in June.
This past Sunday, the team went to play the Mariners scout team at St. Mary’s college in Moraga Calif. — the team plays a doubleheader each Sunday for the next eight weeks. They will also play the Giants scout team, the Dodgers scout team and a college team or two.
Dolan pitched two scoreless innings. In the first game, he was brought in to close an inning and forced a ground out in three pitches. The next inning he had two strikeouts and another throw-out at home.
Dolan worked with and was scouted by the Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, along with top universities in the West.
“We are going to treat this just like the minors, from warm-up to batting practice, all facets of the game,” said Bam Bam, the scout/coach for the Rays scout team.
“Playing against the top players in the nation and talking with and learning from professional scouts is a great experience,” Dolan said. “I am trying to learn as much as I can to help me in my future.”
At bat, Dolan was welcomed with a 95 mph fastball, a slider and curveball. His next at-bat as the designated hitter, he ripped one back at the pitcher, who sent him back to the pine for a second time.
“It is just exciting to actually stand in the box knowing that what I’m seeing is the closest thing to college and pro ball that there is,” Dolan said. “I’ve got to work hard on my game, but I do have three years before even being eligible.”
When asked about Tom’s age coach Flury said, “That’s what we like,” Flury said. “We get three years of Tommy on the team, when normally we only have a kid for one.”
The Rays scout team plays the Dodgers scout team at UNR’s Peccole Park on Sept. 16, with the first game at 11 a.m.