About the Program


Countless hours of consultation with current and former professional baseball players and scouts from different Major League affiliations, in addition to input from numerous college coaches has culminated in a program that offers aspiring collegiate and professional prospects one of the greatest development and exposure experiences in the United States. Led by LA Angels of Anaheim Area Scout John J. Gracio, the Angels Amateur Baseball Program has reached more than 1,500 aspiring baseball players in the southwest.

Since it’s inception as the Chicago Cubs High School Scout Team in 1983, Mr. Gracio’s program has produced several current and former major league players. The season begins in September with the Fall Scout Team that is selected each year from talented high school juniors and seniors. These teams represents the LA Angels of Anaheim and the State of Arizona in games against junior colleges in the southwest and culminates with the Arizona Fall Classic each October. The purpose of these teams is to expose players to college level baseball and to provide an opportunity to be seen by college coaches and professional scouts. These are elite teams that have a rich tradition in putting together a highly talented group of top college and pro prospects in the state.

The program’s success speaks for itself! The program’s success rate since 1996 for placing students in college baseball programs is 92%. In addition, over 100 players have been selected in Major League Baseball’s amateur baseball draft.

In 2008, Gracio added the Angels Amateur Baseball Program to introduce the concept of organizational baseball to younger players, and create a pipeline of talent for the Scout Teams.  These teams play in the fall and summer. It is important to recognize the difference between the two programs.

Over the past 15 years, I have seen very talented high school baseball players get misguided and wind up not playing baseball at the college level. We want to be able to help the right kids find the right colleges, so they can earn a college degree while playing this great game at the next level. – John Gracio

Like the Fall Scout Program, the Angels Amateur Baseball Program also begins in the fall with one team in each graduating class but typically expands in the summer to offer additional opportunities to deserving student-athletes and provide our coaches with an opportunity to make proper evaluations on each player in an effort to select the elite players to the fall program. Our criteria is not always talent. We look for players that have ability, compete and takes their individual development seriously.

The coaching staff assembled is second to none. Please browse through our coaches bios and the remarkable baseball staff. Some of the coaches of note are former major league pitcher (Chicago Cubs) Rich Barker and veteran New York Yankees farmhand Kevin Henthorne. In addition, former professional pitchers Ryan McKinley and professional infielder Mike Wolff highlight the staff.

Our summer schedule consists of teams at each level of competitive sanctioned play and made up of players from each graduating year. The summer concludes with the state qualifiers, if teams decide to qualify.

In 2009, our Amateur Angels 17U team led by Coach Kevin Henthorne was crowned National Champions in Albuquerque, NM at the Don Mattingly (Wood Bat) World Series. In the summer of 2011, Rich Barker and Ryan McKinley took their 2012 (17U) team to the Perfect Game World Wood Bat Championships in Marietta, Georgia to play in the East Cobb area against the best in the country. Their showing capped off the season and led to a National Ranking of #17 in the 17U elite division by both Perfect Game and Baseball America.

In the fall, Mr. Gracio forms his Scout Teams, Red and White (seniors and juniors), to compete against the local junior college programs in Arizona at the Tempe Diablo complex and younger Angels Amateur teams to compete against other teams from around the state. The highlight of the fall season is the Arizona Fall Classic (senior, junior, and sophomore showcases) in Peoria, AZ. These are the biggest showcase events in the country and the Angels Scout team has Arizona spots secured each year in the tournament. This event is attended by more than 300 college coaches from around the country and has representation from every Major League team. Players are insured of maximum exposure at this event.

If you would like more information on the LA Angels Scout Team or the Angels Amateur Baseball Program, please contact John J. Gracio at jjg1780@cox.net or Ryan McKinley at ryanmckinley2001@yahoo.com with your contact information and a short statement of your qualifications.

College coaches that are interested in playing the scout teams, would like to inquire about a player or would like to learn more about our program should contact John J. Gracio at jjg1780@cox.net or Ryan McKinley at ryanmckinley2001@yahoo.com.