Average day, we had a team workout at 10 AM. Typical stuff, sprints, abs, agility, some RC work and medball. We were probably worked a little harder than we should have been prior to a long practice, but it worked out in the end.
Pitchers met at 12:30 PM for practice. We did a bunch of pointless drills IMO, and we never even got to throw from a mound. Coach made us kneel, stop at the power position, and then throw to a partner 10 feet away. It’s clear he doesn’t understand that fluidity is important, and its possible his drills are disrupting rather than improving mechanics. Also, rather than seeing what each pitcher needs to work on, he assumes we need to work on everything, and I’m trying my best not to let it mess me up. Unfortunately, that’s what I think all his drills are doing to some people, who can’t consistently hit the strike zone from 30 feet away. Anyway, we eventually did some flat ground throwing on a slippery gym floor, and while the coach told us to throw 100% intensity I knew he had seen my stuff before and I tried to save my arm a little bit, throwing about 70%. My accuracy was not as good as from a mound, but more accurate than the rest of the guys on the team. I still have a ton of work to do though, to throw all my pitches for strikes 70% of the time consistently.
We then worked on hitting a little bit, and finished with some long toss in the gym. The coach had us do some tubing work, and I appreciate his intent, but he was telling the guys to do like 4 or 5 reps of each exercise with super light resistance tubing. I kind of wanted to say something but I decided to keep my mouth shut. If anyone asks my opinion I’ll give it but I don’t want to have any confrontations with the coach. Anyway, my arm felt about 90% so I was pretty happy. Not too much progress in terms of pitching or hitting, but I got to throw and had a good workout in the morning.
VERY busy day today, and possibly the biggest news I’ve had in quite a while. Be patient, I’ll get to it later in the post.
The day started off at 2pm with a 16U metro tryout. I was expecting a big step down from the showcase team, and it did not disappoint. The competition was abysmal (meaning I was one of the better hitters, which should never be the case, cuz I suck at hitting). The rest of the guys seemed half-asleep, and I burned them all in suicides to my dismay. The coaching did not seem to have much depth, although one of the coaches gave me some tips for my pickoff move which I’ll take into consideration. All in all, the team was far from great competition, but if I played on it I would get a ton of playing time. Poor coaching may prevent me from reaching my potential, but I have not completely rejected the team yet, I’m leaving my options open. Unfortunately, the coach had me throw a 30 pitch bullpen at high intensity. He didn’t really give me any input, although he noted that I would be a good addition to the team. My control was good, maybe 20-25 strikes out of the 30 pitches, and my change-up was accurate. My curveball still has bite but not good control. Anyway, I left practice with a tired arm. No pain, but some mild soreness. I normally would have called it a day at that point.
4 o’ clock 19U metro tryout: I wasn’t given that luxury, and had to rush over to a tryout for a 19U metro team at 4 pm. The catcher from my school team had recently made this team as a backup catcher, and he had gotten me a tryout. I found myself in a gorgeous facility with a bunch of 17-19 year olds most of whom had facial hair. This was supposed to be one of the top 19U teams in the state. I warmed up with a kid who was a junior, and who threw mid-high 80s. He said they only had 3 pitchers locked in, and that I had a good chance of making the team as a backup or relief pitcher. I told the coach my arm was tired but I would give it all I got. He wanted to see about 25 pitches. I stepped in, following a pitcher throwing low 80s, and a pitcher throwing mid 80s. Mechanics felt fairly smooth and explosive, though I was clearly opening up early. I couldn’t concentrate on that now, I need to show him my control. I took a couple from the windup and a few from the stretch, then he wanted to see my changeup and other offspeed. Change-up was very accurate, it seemed a lot slower. My curveball was wild the two times I threw it, but I think my fastball had some life to it, despite my tired arm. The coach sat down to have a meeting with me, to tell me what he thought about my chances with the team. First and foremost, while he didn’t outright tell me my velocity range from gunning me (Jugs), he did say my fastball was around 78 or 79 and my change-up was around 70 or 72. He said I needed to find a way to take a little bit more off of my change-up to make it a really devastating pitch.
He told me that he saw me primarily as a pitcher, and not as a contributing hitter to the team. I agreed, I had taken BP and was abysmal, fouling off everything, and only hitting two line drives. Granted, even if I did suddenly find my swing, i still wouldn’t be one of his top 9 hitters. He then said that every year his team took one 16 year old and tried to incorporate them some into games. He told me that he liked my potential as a pitcher, especially given that I had increased my velocity about 6 mph in about 5 months on my own, and my mechanics still left a whole lot of room for improvement. One of their locked in pitchers throws 78-81, so he didn’t think I was too far behind where I needed to be. He told me that he would look at me again next week, and if he still liked what he saw he would give me a shot on the team. I would be a relief pitcher, and I would likely get a couple innings in every few games. It would mainly be a learning experience, and give me the opportunity to play and practice with the older guys, and hopefully be one of the starting pitchers the next year. I thought it sounded like a great idea, and I would love to get the opportunity to play against such great competition as a sophomore. Hell, if I can fix my flying open I could gain 3-5 mph instantly which might even put me up in the starting rotation as the #4 or #5 guy. That would be sick. Otherwise, he’s thinking 1-3 innings every couple games when he gets an opportunity to put me in. Sounds good to me, what do you guys think?
The 16U showcase team I visited last week pretty much flat out rejected me, which I don’t quite understand because I told the coach I would only be throwing 70% intensity but I guess he didn’t know or care. He already had a starting rotation which made my job more difficult, but I thought I was as good as at least 2 or 3 of those guys. Whatever, that’s the way it goes. I emailed the coach on Monday and he still hasn’t gotten back to me yet so I’m giving up on that team. This 19U team is better anyway, and won’t be as hard on my parents in terms of convenience and economics. I really am lucky to be getting this opportunity, I’ll try to lock it in and make the most of it.
To sum up:
Bad 16U team w/ lots of playing time
Good 19U team w/ little playing time but lots of experience
-I sit in upper 70s and I know I can touch 80 but I don’t have official range yet. This is 2-3 mph better than I expected.
Thanks for reading, wow I ranted a LOT. And this entry probably made no sense because I’m so tired but reply with questions if you have any…