Before any baseball player makes it to the big leagues, he starts as a kid with a dream. The T-Rex Baseball Club in Phoenix prides itself on helping kids take their game to the next level.
Rex Gonzalez runs T-Rex Baseball. He has 12 teams, ranging in age from 9 years old to 18.
"Going into this year, we had 15 kids get scholarships again. So over the past couple of years we've had 30 kids get scholarships," explains Gonzalez. "We had two kids get drafted last year."
One of those players to enter right into the Major League Baseball draft after high school is Jacob Gonzalez, son of retired Arizona Diamondback Luis Gonzalez, and Rex's nephew.
"Jacob, my nephew, named the team T-Rex and that's how it all got started,” explains Rex, who came to the Phoenix area and started his club baseball team nearly 10 years ago.
"I would consider ourselves one of the top programs in the country. In the last two years we have been ranked No. 1 in the nation; and last year we were ranked No. 9 in the nation.”
Rex has strong philosophies about coaching players at each age level. For the younger kids, before they reach high school, he believes in teaching his players solid fundamentals. However, his teams only play one tournament a month.
Rex does not want players to burn out early. He wants the kids to enjoy the game, as well as family time.
He says intensity in his program starts to ramp up for the players aged 14 and older. That’s when Rex says players serious about wanting to advance beyond high school baseball need to start incorporating weight training and agility work specific to their sport.
He also helps his players learn and know every aspect of the game.
“The more positions you can play, the better off you will be,” says Rex. “Last year, ASU took four of our short stops. We had four short stops on our 17u team. They were all successful in their own right, but obviously there's only one guy who can play short stop. So now some are playing left field. Some are playing third base.”
Rex says as his players mature and are ready, he makes sure they are in a position for scouts to see them.
“That's what we do here at T-Rex. We put you in the proper tournaments, and put you in front of the right eyes in order for the colleges to come out and watch you.”
Rex also coaches a scout team for the Arizona Diamondbacks. So he knows and understands the process when players want to go from high school directly into the draft, as his nephew, Jacob, did.
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