WASHINGTON – Bobby Myrick still remembers where he was in mid-March around the time the Washington Nationals – and other teams – pulled their scouts off the road.
The veteran scout for the Nationals was watching an intrasquad game at a high school in Virginia just before college and prep teams around the country began to shut down due to the pandemic.
So the next few months were like nothing Myrick has experienced in his career as a scout, which began with the Angels in the late 1980s.
Fortunately, he did a lot of groundwork last fall and winter to prepare for the 2020 draft – which was limited to five rounds this past summer after lasting 40 rounds in 2019.
“We watched tape, we got an early start. I am really big on work ethic,” Myrick, a long-time resident of Colonial Heights, Virginia, told Federal Baseball.
“You are building history on these kids.”
“After the draft of 2019, I met with kids in the fall and winter. We had a really good bead on it. Just a few I didn’t get to see. Once we shut down … I am not used to being home in March, April, and May,” he said.
Myrick watched a lot of tape and players in his coverage area, which as an amateur scout includes Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
His work paid off as the Nationals signed two non-drafted free agents from his coverage after the 2020 draft: right-handed pitcher Zachary Brzykcy, who completed his junior year at Virginia Tech; and infielder Quade Tomlin, who was a senior last spring at Lynchburg Christian Academy in Virginia.
“We had a lot of history on him,” Myrick said of Tomlin.
After he signed, Brzykcy worked out at his home this past summer with Sam Narron, a pitching coach in player development in the Nationals’ system.
In the past, other players Myrick signed for the Nationals included Nick Raquet, a former pitcher at William & Mary; and Travis Ott, taken in the 25th round in 2013 out of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
Raquet, a third-round pick in 2017 by the Nationals, won 11 games in 2019 for high Single-A Potomac of the Carolina League but was released early in 2020.
Ott was part of a three-team trade in 2015 in which the Nationals acquired infielder Trea Turner and pitcher Joe Ross from the Padres.
Ott was sent to Tampa Bay in the deal, along with outfielder Stephen Souza, Jr.
Ott reached the Triple-A level in the Tampa Bay system in 2019.
Among the future major leaguers Myrick signed were pitcher Phil Leftwich (Radford University); catcher Todd Greene (Georgia Southern); lefty pitcher Ken Vining (Clemson); and pitcher Jim Stoops, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina.
Leftwich was taken by the Angels in the second round in 1990 out of Radford University in Virginia and made his MLB debut in 1993. The Lynchburg native made 34 starts in the majors in three seasons for the Angels.
Greene was a catcher, infielder, and outfielder for about 10 years through 2006 for the Angels and several other teams.
He played against the Nationals at home and on the road in his last season, while with the Giants.
Vining, drafted by the Giants in the fourth round in 1996, pitched in eight games with the White Sox in 2001. Stoops, who made his debut in 1995 in the minors while part of the Giants’ system, pitched in three games for Colorado in 1998.
Myrick went to Petersburg High in Virginia and got into scouting after coaching in college at Coastal Carolina. “When I was at Coastal Carolina (in the 1980s) we had good teams,” he said.
Among the players there at the time were catcher Kirt Manwaring and outfielder Mickey Brantley.
A native of New York, Manwaring played in the Valley Baseball League for Harrisonburg while in college and was drafted by the Giants in the second round in 1986 out of Coastal Carolina.
Brantley, also from New York, was selected in the second round by Seattle in 1983. He played parts of four seasons with the Mariners starting in 1986.
Myrick is no relation to the late Bob Myrick, a native of Mississippi who pitched in 82 games for the New York Mets in the 1970s. The former Mississippi State star died in 2012 at the age of 59.