Firstly I should say, although my son was a “good” pitcher from the age of about 12 compared to his peers, he was not one of the kids who perennially made the “A” all star team. The youth ball coaches frequently over looked him because he did not seem to be all that athletic. As a youth he was gangly and had constant foot pain due to growth. He ended up being pretty big at 6’ 5"/200. However, he was not full grown until well into his sophomore year of college.
I frequented this site when he was in high school. At the time he was a tall string bean RHP topping out around 88 (as a senior) with a decent curve ball. He wasn’t being highly recruited and of course, this site was helpful in many ways regarding all things pitching. His best year in high school and the travel ball circuit was as a junior. A minor elbow impingement sidelined him the summer after his junior year. Bad timing if you want to play college ball.
Although he had a few offers to play div II he decided to go to UCF and try to walk on. Needless to say, as a college freshman he did not make the squad. However, he decided to play on the club team which kept him in shape. He never lost focus, worked out, put on muscle, and when he tried out as a sophomore he was throwing in the low 90’s and he was accepted on the squad. In addition, they kept him for the competitive spring season. In other words, he made the final cut.
Here’s where things get interesting…
The coach at the time seemed to loathe walk on’s. My son pitched one inning the entire season. Got a quick two outs, then walked three guys in a row. Understandably he was yanked. Unbelievably, he never got another chance to pitch.
He remained on the squad all through fall workouts and pre-season training. In February of that year (his academic junior season) he was cut. This was just a few days before the season. It was traumatic to say the least and we were pretty sure his baseball dream was over for good.
As the months went by he came to me and told me he was thinking about playing summer ball on the Florida Collegiate Summer League. Just for the fun of it. Of course his Mom and I were very happy to support this endeavor.
Meanwhile back at the ranch (UCF), there were some changes brewing. The new AD for the school apparently was not impressed with the current coach (you can easily find out who this joker is). Current coach “resigned” and a new head coach was brought in. This new coach kept some of the existing assistant coaches on board and one of them convinced the new pitching coach to go take a look at my son who was now playing summer ball.
As it turns out, my son was immediately put on the squad. No tryout required. They worked with him. Turned him into a confident player. His “stuff” improved tremendously. Fastball ended up low to mid 90’s as a starter and topped out at 97 out of the pen. He ended up the go to swingman for UCF. Threw 60.2 innings striking out 98 while walking just 15. Had he pitched to another couple of batters his 14 K/9 would have had him listed at number two in all of division I baseball for 2017. He was drafted in the 5th round in 2017. He just finished the first half of his first full professional season and was number two in strikeouts in the South Atlantic League. He’s just been promoted to A+ ball in the California league. He’s listed on the top 30 prospect list for his team on MILB.com.
It seems, if he stays healthy and continues to improve he stands a pretty decent chance of “making it”.
The reason for me putting this “out there” is not to brag about my son. It is so that Mom’s and Dad’s and baseball players of all ages will understand that you should NEVER ALLOW YOUR DESTINY TO BE CHOSEN FOR YOU BY SOMEONE ELSE! Not even a college coach who fancies himself a pitching expert.