By RENALDO DORSETT
Another young Bahamian player begins his path to professional baseball in earnest after his selection in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft.
Jervis “Champ” Stuart was selected by the New York Mets in the sixth round with the 176th pick.
Over the three-day draft, the Mets chose 18 high school players and 23 college players. They used 24 selections on pitchers and 17 on position players.
It was an historic election, not just for Stuart, but for his Brevard College Tornados baseball programme.
Tornados head coach Matt McCray lauded Stuart’s achievement in a statement issued on the programme’s website www.bctornados.com.
“This is a really great day for Champ and for our programme. I’m so proud to have gotten the chance to coach Champ since he came to Brevard from the Christ School,” McCray said. “He has worked so hard on and off the field to be successful and getting drafted by the Mets is a great conclusion to his great career here. They just gained a lot of Mets fans in Western North Carolina.”
Stuart was also the first Division II player selected in the 2013 MLB draft, and instantly became the highest-drafted player in school history.
A Bimini native, in his three-year collegiate career, Stuart was a two-time All-South Athletic Conference selection.
In 41 games, he hit .300 to lead the team and lead the SAC with 39 stolen bases. He is the son of Jervis and Cicely Stuart and prior to the draft, Baseball America rated him 199th on its list of top 500 prospects.
He was an All-SAC selection in 2012 as well and also led the Tornados in runs scored (47), home runs (5), on-base percentage (.444), slugging percentage (.479) and total bases (67). He has been named a preseason All-SAC First Team Outfielder.
He was named the 2012 Bahamas Baseball Federation College Player of Year and the 2012 BBF MVP in the Senior Challenge – Freeport vs New Providence.
In his freshman season with the Tornados, he appeared in 33 games and started 23 times. He finished with a .200 batting average with 18 hits in 90 at-bats, recorded three doubles and one home run. He also drove in 10 runs and scored 10 times.
Stuart finished with a .267 slugging percentage and a .277 on-base percentage. Early in his collegiate career he proved his value in the field with a .923 fielding percentage with 45 put-outs, three assists and four errors in 52 chances.
He recorded his best game of the season with three hits in five at-bats with two doubles, four RBIs and one run scored. As a high school student, Stuart left his native Bimini to attend Christ School, headed by nationally renowned coach Pat James.
With the Greenies he was selected to both All-Conference and All-State, as well as being named the team MVP. A three sport star, he was also a member of the football and basketball teams in high school.
Out of the YMCA Baseball Academy and Legacy Baseball, following his high school career he was selected to participate in the Under Armour Pre-Season All-American Tournament.
The ‘Top’ 300 invitees out of approximately 6,000 players were invited to the event where Stuart made his mark in July 2009, in the Team-One South Regional Showcase (Atlanta, GA), where his final evaluation was a very high D1 prospect.
This meant that he was rated top 10 in that Showcase, which led to this special invite as Stuart became the second Bahamian athlete to take part in this event from the Legacy programme.
His scouting report at the 2012 showcase was as follows:
“Jervis is a two-way player in the OF and on the mound with a lean, athletic looking body that shows projection as he continues to physically mature and fill out. Currently, he projects best in the OF with he shows off his athletic abilities. Foot speed is superior as indicated by his 6.64 60-time. Feet are active and aggressive as he utilises his quick, athletic feet well in taking proper routes and angles in tracking down balls in the OF. He works to get behind balls to play through with momentum to target, displaying well above average defensive abilities. Arm strength is superior as he shows life, carry, and accuracy on his throws.
“Hands and feet work well together through the throwing process in getting rid of the baseball quickly. At the plate, hitting abilities are above average with near above average power. Hands are quick and direct to the baseball, generating bat speed. Swing path is level and he keeps the barrel through the baseball at contact with baseball jumping off his bat. He has leverage as he hits missiles and is disciplined as he drew 4 BB at the event. Jervis has a tremendous upside in the OF and will get a ton of looks from the collegiate coaches and pro scouts.”