HOUSTON - It is hard not to pay attention to the hype.
Every time they step up to the plate, a scout hits record on their camera. Every time they come set, the radar guns rise in unison. The attention is hard to ignore.
It is hard not to see where they are ranked in the MLB.com Top 100 Draft Prospects list heading into the spring or where they may fall in 2020 MLB Mock Drafts. It's a lot for a high school senior, who is still trying to figure out what tux they want to wear to prom. But for The Woodlands' Drew Romo, Episocpal's Tanner Witt and Kingwood's Masyn Winn, it's become a way of life.
"It's pretty hard not to look at it. It's definitely really exciting because it is something I've been working for my whole life," Romo, who is ranked No. 27 in the MLB. com Top 100 Draft Prospects list, said. "Right now, I'm not thinking about it too much."
Winn added: "I think it's pretty cool but I'm not trying to get too ahead of myself. I just sit back and appreciate it. I've been working on this since I was three years old."
Wow. It is 2020.
Let that sink in for a minute or two. We are at the beginning of a new decade, which made me think back to the great teams of the 2010s.
Softball teams from H-Town really dominated the last decade, bringing home 11 titles. Katy, Deer Park and Huffman all brought back two titles apiece, while Atascocita won Humble ISD's first ever title and Angleton won its first crown since 1994. The Woodlands and Santa Fe also won titles back in 2011, while Pearland won in 2010.
On the baseball diamond, Houston's last title came back in 2017 when Deer Park won it all. Before that, Cypress Ranch (2015 & 2012), The Woodlands (2013), Tomball (2013) and Brazoswood (2011) were the others to bring home the crowns.
So, it's a new decade.
Who starts the 2020s off with a title for Houston?
🚨 2020 VYPE Houston Baseball/Softball Preview presented by @ChampionEnergy Cover Reveal 🚨
It's time to play ball Houston!
Congrats to @MasynWinn / @2021Kennedy / @drewromo23 / @wittnesstwitty & @miaaascott for making the cover! #VYPECover pic.twitter.com/Eqyny1p62c
— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) February 18, 2020
Baseball has some prime candidates with state finalist Ridge Point, regional finalist Kingwood and semifinalist The Woodlands all bringing back solid pieces as well. Memorial, Cy-Fair, Lamar, Tompkins, Atascocita, Clear Springs and Cy Ranch will also be teams to keep an eye on.
On the softball side, Klein Collins played Katy – which will have to replace a lot of pieces - for the state title a year ago and are primed to make a run again, along with Huffman, Barbers Hill, Atascocita, The Woodlands and Deer Park.
The talent pool is amazing in Houston and it will be shown on the field this spring.
The 2020 VYPE Houston Baseball and Softball Preview presented by Champion Energy will give you a glimpse into how special the first season of the new decade could be.
Check out who the Contenders, Dark Horses and Sleepers are for public and private school softball and baseball. Be sure to read the 2020 cover story, which dives into the decision of going pro or going to college for potential MLB Draft picks. There are also Q&A's with State Title Game MVP Katy Janes of Huffman and triple-sport star Tauryn Cummings of Summer Creek.
This amazing 64-page magazine is full of everything the baseball-softball fan needs and it will be available at local Academy Sports & Outdoors, Freddy's Steakburgers and Frozen Custard, Timewise Gas Stations and select McDonald's across the city beginning next week.
Big thanks to Baseball USA for playing host to the annual photo shoot this year.
Let''s Play Ball!