BRADENTON -- With a cool breeze and the sun hiding behind a cloudy backdrop, Kieran Powell, a native of the Caribbean island of Nevis, faced unfamiliar conditions.
Yet Powell dug into the left-handed batters box at IMG Academy on Wednesday, shifted his weight to his backside before uncoiling and ripping swing after swing.
He slapped balls opposite field and launched line drives up the middle and to his pull side.
Oh, and there were several scouts representing 14 Major League Baseball franchises watching Powell.
But this also wasn't a typical MLB workout. Rather, Powell is doing what is considered the unthinkable: the 25-year-old is making the switch from cricket to baseball.
"It's an opportunity, I'm giving it my best shot and I just want the team to give me an opportunity," Powell said. "Once they give me the opportunity, I'm pretty sure you'll see something that this becomes a thing where you see cricketers crossing over into baseball."
Growing up in the West Indies, Powell was exposed to baseball due to American sports being prevalent in the Caribbean.
But nobody from his native land is a professional
baseball player in the big leagues.
Nonetheless, Powell and his agent decided it was the right fit to try his hand, despite not having any prior experience.
He began the journey to pro baseball by heading to California for some training. There were some initial videos taken.
It wasn't pretty.
"I think he probably burned those videos," IMG Academy baseball director Dan Simonds said. "I don't think you'll ever see those videos. Yeah, it was very raw and it looked like he never played the game."
A month later, the athletic side to Powell, who starred as an international cricket player for the West Indies, emerged.
Simonds said he noticed the improvement. Then, Powell arrived in Bradenton where he has spent the last five weeks improving his baseball skills.
That's included swinging a bat on a more level plane than hitting a ball off a bounce like he's accustomed to in cricket.
"He's just going to have to get experience," Simonds said. "He's going to have to learn counts and hitting in counts, and handling off-speed, pitches away and pitches in."
Powell's raw talent sparked interest from several MLB teams, and he's received private workouts with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets already, as an example.
The Mets joined the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers as some of the teams that had scouts in attendance Wednesday.
"You could see it when he came in, he was a little bit nervous," Simonds said. "But I think once he settled in, he showed some things."
Powell's workout saw him stretch, run, warm-up his arm with short and long tosses, fielding drills with throws to home plate from right field and batting practice.
Hitting against former Reds player, fan favorite and current IMG baseball coach Chris Sabo, Powell didn't mash balls with power, but relied on a more line drive-oriented swing.
"He didn't display power (Wednesday) as much, but he has shown some power," Simonds said.
Meanwhile, Wednesday's cold weather created an extra challenge for Powell.
"It was a bit chilly, so it took me a bit longer than usual to get warm. But I think it ended well," he said.
A fan of Ken Griffey Jr. and Derek Jeter from when he was a kid, Powell is attempting to become a trailblazer as the first cricketer-turned-MLB player. But that's down the road as minor league baseball would come first. Powell, though, is gearing toward live pitching outside of batting practice and playing in games to continue his development at IMG.
The pressure of switching sports and become a potential trendsetter in the mold of the "Million Dollar Arm" movie's plotline of two Indians garnering pro baseball contracts isn't a concern from Powell.
"I'm free," Powell said of his demeanor.