By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
Travis Coleman played baseball at Auburn University and worked as an area scout and regional supervisor for the Houston Astros.
He is also co-owner of The Prospect Lab (TPL), one of the top baseball development programs across the Gulf Coast and is working closely this summer with Silver Glovez, an annual baseball showcase for high school students founded by Birmingham’s Brett Oates.
They will host the Silver Glovez baseball camp July 16 and 17 at Rickwood Field from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $80.
Oates said Coleman has an eye for talent and can pick out skilled players from all over the state as well as from Louisiana to Mississippi.
TPL was founded five years ago by Coleman and his partner, Matthew Paul from Biloxi, Mississippi. At the time, Paul was a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Coleman was an associate scout for the team and both had a vision of helping young players.
“To whom much is given, much is expected and we wanted to utilize our platform in baseball and give resources back to young men from our area in New Orleans,” said Coleman. “We wanted to give them first class development and exposure that otherwise did not exist and be able to develop the future stars of baseball through our program.”
Coleman said the connection with Silver Glovez is important because players are able to get the experience and exposure they might have never gotten before.
“It’s [Silver Glovez] a tremendous event and I think it gives so many young men who need the exposure to get to the next level and tutelage of how to succeed and get there that they otherwise wouldn’t get,” he said. “It’s really kind of like a beacon of light for young men in an urban area or just in baseball in general.”
TPL is based out of Birmingham and Biloxi, Mississippi. The program takes kids from around the Gulf Coast and offers development on and off the field which includes guidance on how to get to college. TPL also offers nutritional guidelines, skill testing, professional instructors, in depth evaluations and mental and physical enhancement tools.
“We expose them to the next level and that’s where the connection with Silver Glovez comes in because it’s such a natural fit to continue the development process as well as expose them to the colleges like Alabama State University and Jackson State University,” said Coleman. “It’s all for the benefit of the guys here, it’s the same vision, same focus of service and empowering young men to help change their lives through baseball.”
Students in the program are able to get scholarship offers from colleges and professional interest from scouts and major league baseball teams. Players can also participate in camps, clinics, or winter and summer combines to gain experience.
This year, TPL has about 100 players from the ages of 15 to 18. The program also has 15 coaches who have played college or professional baseball.
This will be Coleman’s fourth year with Silver Glovez as a scout. The program is celebrating its 10th year in Birmingham. Coleman said he is excited about the upcoming camp and its impact on the community.
“So many of our young men, especially in the African American community don’t have this information, they have the talent and the will, but they don’t have the tutelage on how to get to the next level,” said Coleman.
“So as much as it is a showcase, it’s also a camp and . . . and it’s a lot of information about their academics, the draft process, how to train your body, how to be a student athlete and all these things so it gives them a clear path on being able to accomplish their dreams and their goals that they otherwise wouldn’t have, so that’s the biggest value that I see.”
For more information visit www.thesilverglovez.com.
Corrected at 8:09 P.M. on 7/13/18 to include the cost of the camp, which is not free.