Benito Santiago might be a 39-year-old catcher, but that doesn't bother the Pirates. <br><br> …
High School Prospect Q&A: Brent Weiss
After helping to quarterback St. Joseph's football team to a sixth straight league championship in 2004, throwing for 1832 yards and 19 touchdowns over the Green Knights' 12 games, Weiss is preparing for his final year of high school baseball.
The talented shortstop – a defensive whiz, just like his cousin, former major leaguer Walt Weiss – has already been whispered by some professional and amateur scouts as part of what was possibly the top infield in North Jersey.
But Weiss' work has gone beyond the glove, faring as a factor with the bat as well. He hit .418 with eight homers and 39 RBI as a junior after batting .460 in his sophomore year.
With his eyes on a possible Division I baseball scholarship or the MLB Draft, Weiss sat down with Scout.com's Bryan Hoch to discuss his achievements on the fields of play, and to talk about what the future might hold for one of the Northeast's most promising talents.
It's hard to ignore your family history with shortstops, with your cousin Walt having been a star in the major leagues. What made playing shortstop appealing to you?
I guess it was my father got me interested in the position, and two of my three brothers played shortstop, so that was really the majority of the reason. Walt never really had too much of an influence on my baseball. He lives in Colorado now, so I've only seen him three or four times.
What was your development like as an infielder?
It just kind of came naturally. Everyone knew me as a shortstop, so I stuck with it. Some people thought I was pretty good, so I never had to move or anything, I was able to just stay there and stick with it.
The success you've had here in North Jersey is especially notable considering that you've split your time between baseball and football, and that the winters here aren't baseball friendly.
Yeah, a little. I think that's why, college-wise, I'd like to go down south so I can play all the time. Being a two-sport athlete has been tough too as far as baseball goes, because I've been focusing on football half the time.
Have you made up your mind that baseball, and not football, is what you'd like to pursue?
Most likely, I think I'll probably go that way just because of the whole height situation. I'll keep my doors open if someone wants me, but if you want to be a big-time quarterback at a big-time Division I school, you have to be 6'2" or 6'3". I'm only 5'11", six feet, so it's kind of a big drop off.
What colleges do you have in mind?
I went and saw UNC [University of North Carolina] play, and I went and saw North Carolina State play. They're my top choices, but I've had questionnaires from Notre Dame and Ole Miss. Seton Hall and St. John's are pretty interested too, and I'm going to visit them in January. I'm not really sure yet.
What are you looking for from a school?
I think location, one, [and] school prestige. I'd like a chance to play early, a chance to play before my sophomore year.
St. Joseph's lost two of their real power pitchers – Ryan Lobban and Bob Ferla – to Division I scholarships this past year. What was it like for you, as an infielder, knowing that your defense would be playing a larger role?
It was a lot more fun for me. It was kind of tough having Lobban and Ferla there and striking out everyone all the time (Weiss laughs). It made the game a little more enjoyable, being able to turn double plays and stuff. I thought it made things a whole lot more enjoyable.
Let's talk a little football. You quarterbacked St. Joseph's to the school's sixth straight championship this year. Looking back, what was your most memorable football moment?
It felt great that every year I was there, we won. All four years, we won a state championship, and to be able to leave it there so that the next group could come in and win a seventh, that meant a whole lot to us.
The best memory was probably when we beat Don Bosco this year. That could have been the best moment of my whole high school career, even better than winning the state championship in baseball. It was unbelievable.
That game (a 31-24 victory on Oct. 8 in which Weiss threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns) snapped a 27-game winning streak for Don Bosco. What made it so special for you?
I guess it was just bragging rights. We knew we were the better team going in, and even though the score didn't look like a blowout, we felt like we put it to them.
Back to baseball. We talked a little bit about your college choices, but what has the scouting interest been like from Major League Baseball teams?
I've been to a Cleveland Indians tryout, a Tampa Bay Devil Rays tryout and a Chicago White Sox tryout. I didn't do too good on the White Sox tryout because it was during football season and I had to leave early because we were having two-a-days [back at St. Joseph's]. The other two, I actually did pretty well, and the scouts at both camps had really great things to say. It made me feel pretty good.
If a MLB team came calling during the draft, do you think you would go? Have you given that any thought?
I think I'd probably go. I could always go to college later, so I'd probably want to give [pro baseball] a shot and see if I was any good. If someone came early, like in the third or fourth rounds or earlier, I'd probably be very interested.
Bryan Hoch is a regular contributor to Scout.com.
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