Perhaps no coach around New England has a more impressive recruiting resume than Hartford coach Justin Blood.
When Blood was the recruiting coordinator at UConn from 2006 to 2011, he landed 16 players who were eventually drafted — including two first-round picks in Matt Barnes (Bethel, Conn.) and George Springer (New Britain, Conn.).
Still, as the Swanzey, N.H., native reflects on his track record of recruiting, it’s not the MLB stars that occupy his headspace. It’s the ones that got away.
"Unfortunately, all coaches spend a good deal of time lamenting the guys we miss," Blood said. "We think about the guys we didn’t act on, guys we didn’t evaluate well."
Most college baseball coaches would agree that recruiting is the part of the job with the highest margin for error. The recruiting calendar seems to start earlier each year, with players now committing to schools as early as their freshman seasons. Qualities that might jump out in other sports — such as athleticism and foot speed — are marginalized in baseball where skills such as hand-eye coordination and bat speed are paramount.