The world from 60'6"

My son is 15 years old, and about to start his first year of school ball. He’s been playing select ball since his 12U year, and has turned into a pretty good ballplayer.

This is my log of his experiences through my eyes.

Tryouts are in a couple of weeks, and No-No has been working out all winter to put on some weight, muscle, and speed.

Here’s his numbers. I’ll update them as necessary:

15 years young
5’11"
155lbs.
throws right, bats left.
Throws high 70’s, low 80’s - has hit 82 on the Jugs
Working on a nasty deuce and CU

He plays outfield when he’s not pitching (with the occasional stint at third) for his summer team. He’s working out with a speed and conditioning coach and also hitting twice a week, with a pitching coach once a week, and lifting in the HS weight room Mon. thru Thur.

His most recent outing was Feb. 10. His Line: 3 runs - 1 earned in 4 2/3 innings, 4 K’s, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 3 hits, 98 total pitches. Not a stellar outing, but not bad for 40 degrees and windy against a pretty good hitting team. I’ve discussed the amount of pitches in another topic, so won’t go into detail here. Afterwards he had developed a blood blister on his right index finger (pitching hand) and complained for a day or two about slight numbness in his finger tips which went away. If it comes back I’ll take him to his sports doc.

His pitching coach has been working on his timing and release point, and it has slowed him down a little on the FB, but he’s getting great down-movement now where before it came in flat and hard. I still think he is being too deliberate in his wind up, and not leading with the hips enough, but I’m not messing with him until we see how he does after working with this pitching coach for a while.

Hitting has become an asset for him the last couple of years, and I think there’s a synergy of his hitting and pitching instruction that makes him both a better hitter because of the pitching lessons, and a better pitcher because of the hitting lessons. He’s getting the idea of how to work a batter, get a ground out or a K when he needs it.

What is the most remarkable thing about Nolan’s development the past couple of years is the dedication and determination he has shown for baseball. He used to take it or leave it. That was tough on me, because I could see a dollop of talent in that right arm. Once I decided to stop pushing, he suddenly decided it was what he wanted to do after all :slight_smile:

He has hitting and conditioning tonight.

Nolan and I did some long toss and then he went to his strength and agility coach, then an hour of hitting. His arm is live and no shoulder or finger problems since the blood blister healed.

Took him to the doc and got a clean bill of health for school ball. One of his teammates wasn’t so lucky. They found a rare heart condition and won’t sign off on his playing any competitive sport.

thats to bad about his teammate having a heart condition like that

Had a talk with Nolan’s coaches last night. It appears that they’re not going to be giving him much infield work.Pitch, outfield and maybe a little 3rd. I understand because he’s got just about the best outfield arm I’ve ever seen (throws strikes from the warning track to cut, sells it out to home on the button) and he’s damn fast…oh, and he can catch a fly ball, too…so it makes sense. But I always saw him as a middle. I’m not disappointed, though. I’m just glad he’s able to get this quality of training and get his hacks, too.

We threw a little today, just fastballs and changeups.

Yeah, 15 and done. His parents are going to take him to the Mayo Clinic to see if there’s anything they can do to get him back on the field. Thing is, he’s an outstanding basketball player, too. Probably never get to play that sport again, regardless of what the doctors in Minnesota have to say.

Nolan threw a pen last night, and looked good. His fastball was absolutely jumping, seeming to “explode” 2/3 of the way to the plate and get faster (I love that trick of the eye).

He threw about 40 pitches in all, and worked on the curve quite a bit. He has the “slurve” that he throws around the plate, and a 12-6 hammer that he’s learning to control. There’s much less of the slow motion delivery that he’d been using while working on timing, and he’s back to a high kick (under his chin…how does he get that knee up there?) from a lower, less aggressive move.

His change is working, but he still needs to learn to control it. His coach has him cradling the ball in a circle change grip with no pressure on the ball at all. No wonder he can’t control it yet. However, he throws it about 15mph slower, so if its anywhere near the plate its effective.

He’s still perfecting the new release point/arm slot, and it usually takes him a few warm up pitches to get the ball in the zone, but then he is hitting spots and throwing smoke. Looking forward to school season.

Hose

First time I can remember, Nolan got shelled and chased in the 2nd inning. School ball, the kids weren’t great hitters. Okay, there are mitigating circumstances (the other team’s coach umped from behind the rubber, didn’t give Nolan the outside corner where he lives) but still, wow. 9 runs in 1 2/3 innings, don’t know how many hits, but they were hit hard. And he seemed to be throwing big red beach balls up there.

In his last outing in a February tournament, he took a no hitter into the 5th inning and ended up giving up 2 hits and no earned runs against a team far and away superior to the team he had his collapse against. I suppose it may have been playing down to the competition, or maybe nerves for the first time pitching for his school (although nerves have never been an issue in the past), but I think its his mechanics. His pitching coach slowed him down to the point where he gets zero momentum to the plate. His velo has dropped from a high of 81 last year to a (questionable gun) high of 73 just last week. Huh? How do yo lose that kind of velo, and not have any complaints of pain, soreness or tiredness? My answer: mechanical problems.

I don’t know. Shocked the hell out of me. I went in thinking I was going to see my son dominate. lol

Best laid plans, huh? The worst part is that he will no longer take advice from his poor old dad…who he’s been throwing harder than since he was 13 hehhehheh. Sigh.

Hose

Nolan went 2 hitless innings today with 2 k’s, no BB, and was throwing well. Two errors on routine grounders put a runner on in each inning, but no damage done. He worked faster, and didn’t pause at the top of his knee lift, so I guess he does listen to old pop once in a while. His velo was up from last week, and his curveball was outstanding, breaking hard, late, and for strikes.

Hose

Nolan threw 5 innings, 85 pitches, 6 runs, 3 earned, no K’s. There was a gun at the game, they marked him consistently at 79 mph. He threw 4 curves, one for a strike, one that hung and got hit hard, two in the dirt. He says his CU was pretty good with a little movement. He seems to be getting back into his groove after the slow-as-a-slug delivery period, speeding up his delivery and moving more explosively to the plate. He is still leaving velocity on the table, but its getting better.

As an aside, he hit his first homer, doubled, stole 2nd and 3d after a walk, and scored twice. Pretty good all around game. unfortunately, I didn’t see it.

Hose

Nolan didn’t pitch in this tournament. He went 85 pitches two days before and his coach kept him out. I appreciate that. It was a great experience for the guys, since many of the kids who won’t see much bump time this year got to pitch and did pretty well. Unfortunately for their tournament hopes, they weren’t hitting well.

Several of their best pitchers are also playing Junior HS ball, which goes on for nearly a month after the High School season ends. Hence the paucity of pitching for the tournament. On top of that, one of our best pitchers, a lefty gas-thrower, “popped” his elbow on a pitch the weekend before that in his first start for Nolan’s team. We still don’t know what the outcome of that will be since he has to wait until Thursday to get in to see his regular doc so that he can then get a referral to a specialist for an MRI. Ridiculous!

We had another kid get hurt, too. On his first at-bat of the season, he beat out a grounder to first, then on the overthrow turned for second and ripped his hip-flexor muscle away from the hip, taking some bone with it. It may be a long season without him. He is the spark on the team, the leader and leadoff hitter/short stop. We’re hoping he recovers fully, though he might be out for the season.

Nolan had two hits in four games, a couple of singles. He only hit one ball out of the infield (a flyout to center), ripped a liner into the 3-4 gap, and beat out a grounder for his singles. He drew 4 walks, stole a couple of bases. Not his usual offense, but toward the end he started getting his stroke back.

Although he didn’t pitch in the tournament, we worked a light BP on the Friday before. He was experimenting and found a CU grip he likes, and the ball moves like it has a mind of its own. About 5 feet from my glove the thing takes a right turn and sits down. I’m encouraging him to work on it so that he can throw it where he wants, it could be a devastating pitch for him. He doesn’t seem to be able to throw a cutter that cuts, so he needs something to throw that works off of his fastball. His velo continues to improve, I think its back to about where he was at the end of last season, but he’s leaving a lot of speed out there. He should be pitching tomorrow for his JHS. We’ll see how he does.

Hose

Nolan didn’t pitch for his JHS team this week. This past weekend we went to a wood bat tournament on the other side of the state. Nolan pitched 4 innings, and only gave up 1 hit…a 3 run homer.
[qt]http://www.geocities.com/hoseman18/nolanmlwood2008.mov[/qt]

His 15u team was playing a team of 16u All Stars and of course Nolan got the call. He faces the toughest teams and its good for him. It often means he has to battle, which makes him a better pitcher.

He was throwing well and hard, 82-85, with a good curve. He set the opponents down without an earned run the first three innings, but as he came out for the 4th, he was missing his warmups inside and high. Then he struck out the first two hitters. Then he hit the next 2 hitters. Ugh. Normally he has very good control, missing up occasionally, but rarely that far in. The other teams big bat came up and ripped a 3 run homer over the right field fence. If they had been using aluminum bats, that thing would still be traveling! lol as it is, the stewardess on that flight got home for dinner. As I said, sometimes Nolan misses high in the strike zone.

He came back to strike out the side on the next batter, but damage done. The kid he was facing on the bump was a High School all-star, and he no-hit my boy’s team. Nolan got no at bats that game as they DH for the pitcher.

The line: 3 earned on 1 hit, 2 hit batters, 1 walk, 6 K’s, in 4 innings. Two errors and one bad call on a play at first accounted for two other unearned runs.

Over all, not bad for a team’s first wood bat experience. They ended up 2 and 2, Nolan went 2 for 7 with a triple, infield single, 2 walks. He didn’t hit the ball hard the first day, but the second day he hit two shots to short and a line drive down the right field line that was caught on a very good play by the right fielder who had been cheating towards the line. The next at bat, Nolan picked up the runner on 2nd with a triple, and then scored on the next pitch single up the middle.

Good tournament, the summer is heating up.

Hose

Nolan went 1-2, double and a walk, scored two runs. He beat out an infield hit, but the ump called him out on a bad call.

He went 6 1/3, struck out 4, 2 walks, 6 hits, 6 runs - 3 earned. Not great, but getting better. His velocity is back up to low 80’s (Jug’s gun had him at 81 in the 6th inning) and his curve is over for strikes (umps in this league act like they’ve never seen a curveball and have trouble calling it for strikes).

80 pitches, and finished the game at shortstop. I know, not good for the arm, but his coach didn’t have anyone else to play there…and its the last game of the season for the school. Kinda typical I guess.

Hose
[qt]http://www.geocities.com/hoseman18/nolanpitchfromstretch.mov[/qt]

Nolan pitched a 1-0 one-hit victory last night. 3k’s, 3 BB, 68 pitches in 5 innings. All but one were fastballs. The only hit came off a hung curveball, and hit him in the foot. “Pitching to contact”, as they say :lol: :lol: He was pleased with his velocity, especially late-inning. Last year he tired after the 3rd inning. This year he’s able to go much deeper in the game and is maintaining his velocity into the later innings (He was clocked at 81 on a Jugs in the 6th inning of the game before this…he told me he thinks he was throwing harder in this last outing and he no doubt was).

Not a good night for him at the plate, 0-2 with a walk and score.

Nolan threw in the Championship game, 5 innings 4 hits 2runs 1 earned. He lost the game when the closer walked in the tying run and the reliever after that walked in the winning run. Tough loss, but he pitched well. The only thing thats missing from his game is a good change of speed pitch that he can throw for strikes.

“I pity the fool” that tries to hit against him if and when he develops a good change up

Nolan hasn’t been getting much help lately. It seems that every time he takes the mound, his teammates find a way to throw the game away. In the last two games he has allowed 3 earned runs and given up 10 hits…but lost both games BIG. Both games were championship games in local tournaments, and included atrocious shortstop play and numerous dropped fly balls in the outfield. Booted grounders, bad throws, letting balls drop in front of them…sigh…

Is it normal for a team to disappear when their best pitcher takes the mound? Why does this happen? I’m sure there’s a psychological issue in there somewhere.

Hose

Nolan pitched a 2 hitter in a tournament at Washington State University and received player of the game honors. He was throwing fastballs, and locating well. Interesting note, he told me after the game that he had gone into the first inning not feeling 100% and without his “good stuff” on the mound, then had arguably his best outing of the year.

Hose

[quote=“hoseman18”]
Is it normal for a team to disappear when their best pitcher takes the mound? Why does this happen? I’m sure there’s a psychological issue in there somewhere.[/quote]

Yeah, I’ve been on teams where this has happened. I think it’s just some of the guys may be thinking Nolan will carry the game on his shoulders, so they don’t mentally or physically prepare the way they should. Is there any way Nolan or the coach can bring it to the team’s attention and rally the guys to change their mindset? They may not know they’re even doing it.

The season is over, and it was a good one for Nolan’s team. The results for Nolan were mixed. He had some good games and some not-so-good ones. However, he never quit and gave it everything every day he pitched. He wasn’t as into the game as I wish he would be, making mental mistakes and making me wonder if he really has the desire to be playing at this level, but every time he pitched he came ready to play. I guess maybe a “pitcher only” designation may be in his future, though I hate to admit it.

The last game he pitched he threw 6 innings, 2k’s, 1 walk, 3 earned, 1 error on a easy grounder right back to him, and a 5-4 win. I’ve decided it would be in his best interest for me to reduce my involvement and just let him do his thing. Galling to spend that money just to see him play every 4th or 5th day, but what choice do I have? He is a bone-tide pitching prospect, so I guess I will carry on.

Hose