2013 MLB Draft Thoughts: Talking vs. Doing

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Late Saturday afternoon, the 2013 MLB Draft wrapped up, with a record 15 Cressey Sports Performance athletes having been taken over the three days.  It’s always a great time of year, as being drafted is a dream come true for just about anyone who has ever picked up a baseball.  While I’m proud of all 15 guys, there was one guy in particular whose story is particularly valuable for up-and-coming baseball players to read.  Kevin Brown was drafted in the 22nd round by the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, and you can learn a lot from him – but need to hear his story first.

This was the first time I ever saw Kevin play baseball.

No, Kevin wasn’t among those celebrating.  He was the unfortunate sophomore who struck out looking while down a run in the ninth inning with men on base to end the Massachusetts Division 1 State Championship game.  I was there to see a bunch of other guys I trained from the other team, including the pitcher, who was the Massachusetts State Player of the Year in 2007.  They celebrated right in front of him.

Two weeks later, Kevin started training at Cressey Sports Performance – right alongside most of the guys from the winning team.  It was somewhat of an awkward moment, to say the least (particularly when Kevin recognized the other team’s catcher in the middle of a set of push-ups).  Our entire staff quickly realized that this kid meant business, though.  Whether it was the way he was “wired” or just that he was extra motivated from the tough loss and the way that it ended, Kevin quickly became a “facility favorite” for his outstanding work ethic.  He was a kid who would always show up on time with a smile on his face, and then he’d flip a switch and get after it.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that even as a 16 year-old, Kevin would have run through a wall for me if I’d asked him to do so.

The next year, as a junior, he led the state in home runs.  Still, he didn’t get many looks on the college recruiting front.  Even some of the bigger name schools in New England alone said that they didn’t think he was good enough to play for them.  Fortunately, Bryant University – which had just made the move up to Division 1 from the D2 ranks – saw something in him and offered him a scholarship.  A few weeks after he accepted it, he went to play down South for the first time.  In a fall ball tournament, he went 8-14 against some of the best high school prospects in the country at the World Wood Bat event in Jupiter, FL.  Quite a few college coaches came out of the woodwork to ask, “Who is this kid?”  Uh, he was the kid you either ignored or overlooked.


At Bryant, Kevin went on to be named Northeast Conference Freshman of the year, and was one of only 15 freshman All-Americans in the country. He started all 56 games and hit .355.  He was one of the better hitters in the New England Collegiate Baseball League the following summer, and eventually went on to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League.  This year, Kevin hit .367 with a .498 on-base percentage.  In the process, he set a bunch of hitting records at Bryant, and this year, he reached base safely in 16-straight at-bats, falling just two short of the NCAA record. The team advanced to their first ever NCAA Regional and won a game in the process. In addition to being named Bryant’s Male Athlete of the Year, “Brownie” was awarded the Omar Shareef Spirit Award, which is voted on by student-athletes themselves. In short, Kevin was tremendously successful – and he did it the right way, earning the respect of coaches and teammates/peers.

I also should note that in a game this year against a college that refused to recruit him, Kevin went 3-3 with a 3B, HR, 2BB, 4RBI, a SB, and 2 runs scored. I guess they didn’t see what we did.

As an interesting aside, we had another player, Carl Anderson, commit to play baseball at Bryant two years after Kevin did.  When he left for school, I told Carl to just follow Brownie around and do everything he did.  They trained together at CSP and in the cages all winter. Carl went on to hit .341 with a .405 OBP and stole 20 bases this year. I guess he picked a good training partner.


If you walked in to Cressey Sports Performance, you’d never find a person who could say a bad thing about Kevin. They’d rave about his work ethic and unconditionally positive and polite demeanor.  And, they’d tell you that Kevin was a “do-er” and not a “talker.”

I see far too many kids that worry about what others think of them.  They’ll post on Twitter about how they’re in “beast mode.” And, they’ll make sure that all their baseball “eyewash” – flat brims, upside-down sunglasses, silly bracelets, necklaces, and arm sleeves – are all in place before they walk in to the gym…only to take them off to train.  And, they’ll check their cell phone for text messages between sets. Then, they’ll complain when people don’t recognize their “talent.”  It’s like they expect things to be handed to them on a silver platter. They’ll insist that they have to attend a big-name Division 1 school when they really ought to be picking a school where they can actually play and develop.  They’d rather “talk” than “do.”

Meanwhile, there is a very small minority of players out there who are busting their butts, appreciating that they need to work to earn what comes their way. They’re the Kevin Browns of the world who have experienced failures, been overlooked, and flown under the radar.  They don’t want to draw attention to themselves because they are too modest and, frankly, they don’t want any distractions.  It’s a lot easier to run through the wall if there isn’t anything in the way.  They absolutely love the game, so the hours of training feel a lot more like “fun” than “work,” as they enjoy the process as much as they covet the destination. In fact, just listen to what Kevin’s Dad had to say at the 5:23 mark of our Elite Baseball Development video.

They’re guys like Steve Cishek and Tim Collins, who’ve made it to the big leagues and played for Team USA when nobody even thought they could play D1 college baseball.


And, guys like this are why you can be sure that I just became a little more of a Chicago Cubs fan – and you probably ought to be a little more of one, too.  And, it’s why you should think long and hard about whether you’re more of a “talker” or a “doer.” You might just realize that you aren’t working quite as hard as you could be.

Congratulations, Kevin, and bust of luck…not that you need it.

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