The Central Florida Baseball League (CFBL) in recent years has provided the Central Florida area with a critical feeder league for local area high schools. The League is clearly able to help aspiring players prepare for high school and beyond by developing within a structured league setting. With the League going into it's 6th year, over 70 teams participate annually.
CFBL initially started as an “8th Grade League” but evolved into much more in part to excellent vision by its ownership and volunteer Board of Directors.
“My board are tremendous people who share the vision and help us make many of the key decisions,” says Jim Boghos, League Founder and President.
Last year the league platform helped pave the way for “CFBL Elite Prospects” by providing a critical edge to identifying players at a younger age. CFBL is able to move to “educate and promote” players much earlier than their rival area travel teams. Players are identified and chosen to create hand-selected teams to play summer and fall baseball in front of college recruiters and pro scouts. In essence, the league play has become one of the largest tryouts for aspiring high school travel baseball players in the country.
Boghos continued: "We are very proud of the way our league has grown. CFBL is now a staple of amateur baseball in Central Florida.”
How did they get the name CFBL Elite? Boghos says “We chose the name CFBL Elite because we knew if we were going to do something at this caliber, we needed to differentiate between the league play and kids we feel have measurable tools that college recruiters are looking for. We didn’t want to be just another team with pretty uniforms. It’s been done before, thousands of times.”
With many good travel programs in the greater Orlando area, CFBL brought in big-name baseball people to help coordinate and coach the teams. The headliner of these baseball people is Miami Marlins AA Manager Andy Barkett.
"I became involved with the CFBL Elite Prospects program because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the young players in Florida. The showcase era of amateur baseball has really affected the development aspect of young players in a negative fashion. I wanted to create a program that is different. One that is based on teaching and development first and winning secondary.
I wanted to educate parents and players on the ins and outs of recruiting and the value of having strong academics. I believe we are creating a program that stands apart in the industry. I am very proud of our CFBL Elite program. Especially our players and coaches. Our coaches share a common vision of player development. Having our team make it to the championship game in the final event last fall at Prospect Wire was one of the proudest moments I have ever had in baseball. We have a solid group of returning players and some really promising prospects that have made our teams for 2012. We will monitor their development closely all the way until they sign their letters of intent," said Barkett
There aren't many travel teams that can stake the claim that they have a current Minor League Manager involved in their program. But as if that wasn't enough the baseball leadership at CFBL have been highly successful in the game of life as well. While Barkett has succeeded and moved up the baseball ladder into a prestigious position, fellow staff member Jose Fernandez shares similar success on and off the field. Fernandez was a former University of Florida Catcher and a 14th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals, but he still found time to earn his Doctorate through dedication to academics.
“Our program stands alone in my mind because of the character and dedication to developing not just solid ballplayers but solid citizens. I am proud to be a part of the CFBL and I believe that only great things lie ahead for the young men in our program,” said Fernandez, who is the current Athletic Director at Father Lopez HS in Daytona, Florida.
Boghos added " I just don’t know many clubs out there with the caliber of coaching staff we have. I would not trade our guys for any staff. They are teachers on and off the field. Former and current pro players like Andy Barkett, Andy Lyon, Jose Santiago, Jose Fernandez and Ariel Mercedes, Former high level college players like Gold Glove winner, Micah Robinson and former D-1 players and coaches like Phil Enright and Chad Hall."
CFBL Elite Prospects inaugural season got off to a great start with now 14 players committing to schools in just their first year. Once colleges saw the caliber of what CFBL Elite was presenting, the floodgates opened for opportunities. Notre Dame, USC Upstate, Georgia State, UCF, Seminole State, Rollins, Bethune Cookman, and many others came knocking on CFBL's door. The first round of commitments were highlighted by PW Underclass All-American Scott Moss' verbal commitment to University of Florida. There are more to come. Barkett feels this year's teams should be able to add another dozen players to that list easily.
Boghos and his club are looking forward to the Inaugural Season of the World Scout League.
“The World Scout League opportunity is one of the best ideas to come along in a very long time. Its one we are very excited about as an organization. WSL is run by very highly organized people that know scouting. This gives us tremendous excitement in knowing our boys will have more focused attention from colleges because this is how we measure our wins and losses.”