LOS ANGELES – The sun shining, the echo of fans cheering, and the familiar crack of a bat on a baseball. This is what Angels' minor league catcher Jack Kruger imagined when picturing his Spring season on a baseball diamond.
Instead, Kruger is spending his time within the four walls of his home.
“We were all getting ready and spring training was coming to an end and then now we find ourselves with a lot of time on our hands," Kruger said.
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But he has devoted that downtime to an important cause — the building of a website to help high school baseball and softball players through the recruiting process.
He calls it Baller Builder and he drew the information from his own journey.
“I’ve been through the recruiting process twice," he explained. "The first was in high school and we had no idea what we were getting into.”
After his second shot in junior college at OCC, playing under John Altobelli, Kruger and his family created and honed a recruiting strategy.
It led him to Mississippi State and eventually to being drafted by the Angels organization after his junior season.
“At that point I knew that we had something there, I just didn’t know what or how to share it," he said.
Flash forward to December of 2019, when he got the itch to put his strategy into action for the benefit of others.
“So, I started [Baller Builder] and I felt like I was going to spend maybe an hour or two on it each day and then season would come," he said "But with coronavirus, what started as my passion project, has kind of become my coronavirus job.”
And it's a much needed time for the service he is providing. With the cancellation of all spring sports at the high school level, and an extended dead period in college recruiting, thousands of players nationwide find themselves in limbo.
“There are lots of players who now more than ever need help because they kind of lost their last real opportunity," Kruger said. "The recruiting process is being changed every single day and it’s evolving because of coronavirus.”
It's why Kruger spends the bulk of his days putting together reading material on the process. He also sends out newsletters through an email-based subscription, giving tips and tricks on crafting emails to coaches, scouting college programs that might be a fit, and putting together recruiting highlight videos.
While players may not be able to play due to the shutdown, Kruger advises using this time wisely to position yourself in the best light once sports resume.
“I know from my own experience how difficult and frustrating this experience is," he said. "It’s not fun for anybody and that’s why a lot of the content I talk about is making the process easier.”
A minor league player, making a major impact for many others.