Till I Collapse -My Journey to D1 Baseball and Beyond


#841

Thanks so much to everyone for following my journey!

And the best part is I am just scratching the surface of my potential. consistently 93 last night for the most part (topped at 94). Not my best outing, but I located pretty well and gave up a hit on a quality pitch. The best part is I was only cruising at about 95%.

I really want to be throwing my breaking ball more in games but with my situation, fighting for playing time and in the post-season, with zero room for error, I’ve kind of put that on hold. It’s only going to be a pitch I trust when I start forcing myself to throw it more.

When I get two pitches that I can throw in any count, the result will be devastating. Also I fully expect to be sitting in the 95-96 mph range at this time next year (expect some outrageous training velo numbers with Kyle Boddy and Drivelinebaseball this offseason - goals are 98 off the mound and 105 from a crow hop). When I can fully relax and not hold anything back in the game, I will finish unlocking the last drops of velocity.

My bodyweight has dropped slightly this past month, as we have been almost exclusively on the road. I’m about 211 right now, still throwing my hardest. When I get back to a rock solid 220-225 by next spring, it is going to be disgusting. The sky is the limit, and I’m just thankful to be getting the opportunity to continue pursuing my dreams.

Also, on my last pitch a blister covering the entire bottom of my big toe ripped, making it somewhat painful to put weight on it. I’m going to wrap it and see how it feels today, but it’s probably unlikely I pitch tonight on back to back days and having a totally raw toe.


#842

[quote=“LankyLefty”]Thanks so much to everyone for following my journey!

And the best part is I am just scratching the surface of my potential. consistently 93 last night for the most part (topped at 94). Not my best outing, but I located pretty well and gave up a hit on a quality pitch. The best part is I was only cruising at about 95%.

I really want to be throwing my breaking ball more in games but with my situation, fighting for playing time and in the post-season, with zero room for error, I’ve kind of put that on hold. It’s only going to be a pitch I trust when I start forcing myself to throw it more.

When I get two pitches that I can throw in any count, the result will be devastating. Also I fully expect to be sitting in the 95-96 mph range at this time next year (expect some outrageous training velo numbers with Kyle Boddy and Drivelinebaseball this offseason - goals are 98 off the mound and 105 from a crow hop). When I can fully relax and not hold anything back in the game, I will finish unlocking the last drops of velocity.

My bodyweight has dropped slightly this past month, as we have been almost exclusively on the road. I’m about 211 right now, still throwing my hardest. When I get back to a rock solid 220-225 by next spring, it is going to be disgusting. The sky is the limit, and I’m just thankful to be getting the opportunity to continue pursuing my dreams.

Also, on my last pitch a blister covering the entire bottom of my big toe ripped, making it somewhat painful to put weight on it. I’m going to wrap it and see how it feels today, but it’s probably unlikely I pitch tonight on back to back days and having a totally raw toe.[/quote]
Great to hear that.


#843

Ben, Congratulations on being drafted by the White Sox! Good luck!


#844

This one’s worth coming out of retirement for.

Congratulations. And see you this off-season.


#845

Thanks all,

having been here in Glendale, Arizona for about 8 or 9 days now, I’ve started to get into a bit of a routine. I’ve thrown 3 innings so far, totally overmatching hitters up to this point.

3 innings pitched, 1hit (in and out of our SS glove, was scored a hit), 1 walk (catcher dropped a 2 strike slider over the middle of the plate), 5Ks, 0R.

Mostly 91-93 so far.

I’m the only pitcher who has really set myself apart from the pack in this first week.

There is some ridiculous talent down here though, but it’s very raw. Looking at these hitters BP there are just some outrageous bombs being hit, but in games it’s a totally different story. All these Dominicans will gun 94 mph and then struggle to throw strikes come game time. It’s an exciting talent pool to be playing in though, and I get to work on my spanish. :lol:

Henry Rodriguez is also on our team, having been released from the Nationals and Marlins within a year, now picked up by the Sox. He’s been having trouble locating the zone, sitting 99-100 mph and being very hit or miss. One outing he walked 3 and couldn’t get out of an inning, and the next he struck out the side with a walk. Exciting to get to see that type of stuff up close though.

Just trying to get hold of a decent living situation down here and get acclimated to a different style of lifting / preparing.

I see good things ahead.

Ben


#846

Got called into the managers office today. I’ll be moving on up to full season low A in Kanapolis North Carolina after just 2 outings. Excited to be moving up and getting recognized for what I was able to do in my 10 days of rookie ball.


#847

Wow 2 hours away from my school. Very Cool


#848

Nice job. I have been to a couple of Intimidators games before when I used to live in the area, but we moved to Indiana and are an hour out of Chicago. Can’t wait to go see you pitch there.


#849

Congrats on picking up the win tonight Ben!


#850

Finally getting somewhat settled in Kannapolis. Though not the youngest player here, I am one of only two guys from this years draft to be at this level already. While the facilities can’t really compare to the major league spring training facilities in Arizona, there is actually a decent fan base and it’s much more of a minor league atmosphere.

I got my first outing last night, on my third day here. I came in with 2 outs in the top of the 8th, up 3-2 with a runner on first. I worked ahead of the first hitter 0-2, but a catcher overthrow on a steal attempt and a misplayed ground ball in between the 1st and 2nd baseman allowed the runner to score. I struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.

Next inning I started off with a quick first out pop-up, then ran into a bit of trouble, elevating a fastball to the next batter for a single up the middle, and then didn’t mix in any offspeed to the next guy and he knocked a base hit to the outfield as well. No worries. I managed to get the next guy 0-2 before hitting him in the foot with a slider. I finally settled down, striking out the next lefty on a slider away and the final batter on a fastball up after locating a slider for a strike. Got out of the inning no damage done. Oh, and our team had a walk-off home run with 2 outs in the 9th, giving me the W. A pretty exciting way to end the night!

Line on the night: 1.1 IP, 0BB, 2h, 3K, 0R, 1 W

Line on the summer in total: 1 W, 5.1 IP, 2BB, 3h, 9K, 0R

The talent is not only better here, but guys are much more polished as you would expect. We have two guys in our pen who sit upper 90s, and most of our starters will sit in the low to mid 90s with good command of two pitches. What I’m realizing is that there is so much talent (and money invested) up top in the higher levels that it’s hard to get moved unless somebody goes down with an injury, or really starts struggling, or you perform so phenomenally well that they have no choice but to move you. It’s no wonder the whole process of making it to the big leagues takes years and years.

I’m sticking to my game plan, competing my ass off and trying to get better each day. In the end, that’s all I really can control.


#851

Keep it going Ben


#852

Ben,
When I first found “Let’s Talk Pitching” in the spring of this year (2014), I read your journal from start to finish. Since I’m about the same age as you were when you started your journal, it is great to see someone succeeding at the same thing you’re trying to achieve. It gives me motivation to keep working hard and trying to get better.
Thanks for keeping your journal and good luck and continued success in your journey!


#853

@Drake - thank you, I’m glad this log has helped to motivate you!

One month to go here in my first summer as a pro.

I’ve been hitting a groove lately, feeling like I am repeating my delivery very well. Over my last 3 outings, I have gone a combined 8.1 innings with 8ks, allowing 1 hit, 2 walks and no runs.

I’ve still been throwing about 95% fastballs. Each of these outings I threw a handful of sliders, almost always with 2 strikes. About 50% were for strikes, and I threw a few that the batters missed by about a foot. On these, the break was late and sharp. Others I got under and became wide sweeping pitches ending up way outside to lefties.

I am being careful not to throw too many each day, because at this time of the year I need to be extra careful to give my arm enough time to recover between outings.

My vision in the future is being able to cruise near my top-end velocity 93-94, spot up like I have been (not even on a dime, just throwing it over the plate and around the zone), and be able to replicate my best sliders (78-82 ish) about 75% of the time. Doing that consistently, outing to outing (90% of the time) would land me in the big leagues within a few years. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s also not a totally far-fetched childhood dream anymore. I see flashes of what I will be someday. Putting it all together is the key. Who knows how long that will take.

stats so far: http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=P&sid=t487&t=p_pbp&pid=657197


#854

Promoted to high-A Winston Salem


#855

Congrats Ben, keep up the good work.


#856

That is one pretty ballpark amigo :wink: I love Winston-Salem and I hope you are only there for a cup of coffee lad…then onward!!! 8)


#857

I gotta say Ben, just reading through your story and your journey gives me some major motivation for my own journey. I’m about the same age you were at when this was started, and there’s nothing better than seeing another lefty succeeded like you have. We have similar weight, height, and velocities that I have now when you started this log. (I’m hoping for similar results lol) good luck man I’ll be following your story closely


#858

@Dzylka98 - if you dedicate yourself and take the right mindset, there is no reason you can’t exceed everyone’s expectations. Stay humble through every success, and stay hungry with every failure. Trust me, there will be plenty of each along the way.

@JD - it really is a great spot, big step up from Kannapolis. I’m excited to be here and definitely not expecting to have another move made before the end of the season. I’m just going to compete my ass off and keep putting together solid outings. I can only control myself, not what anyone else around me does or says. A lot of college and pro guys would benefit from remembering this, IMO.

Had my debut with Winston last night, put together a decent outing.

Came in bases loaded 1 out and got both hitters I faced out (strikeout and a groundout). The umpire called a balk on me though (didn’t fully come set apparently), so one run scored from third.

Next inning I got a quick 2 outs on 2 strikeouts, then our shortstop overthrew a routine ground ball. Got ahead of the next batter 1-2, then missed my spot with a slider, and threw two straight fastballs that must have just missed. Next guy I jammed, but his broken bat bloop fell just over our second basemen’s head, allowing that first baserunner to score. Retired the next guy with a groundout.

1.2 IP, 0ER, 3Ks, 1h, 1bb

I threw a really good slider for one of the strikeouts. I’m good for about one of those per inning, and two crappy ones. Still, since I have been commanding my fastball well it’s not as big a deal when i miss, and I have more room to play around with the slider each time out. I’m getting very comfortable on the mound, and really learning how to stay in my locked in mental state.

It’s little things, like a slow jog to the mound instead of a quick run, and then transitioning into a slow walk once I hit the grass - you don’t want to be breathing heavy when you come into the game. Anything to help the game slow down is going to be helpful.

It’s looking calmly at my head coach and infielders when I’m handed the ball, calmly knowing that I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t belong and didn’t have what it takes to succeed.

It’s fixing the mound exactly how I like it, digging out any spots on the left side of the rubber to make sure I can get a firm and consistent foot position to drive from.

It’s taking a moment to look at the catcher and turn down the noise around me, get my bearings and take a deep breath to lock myself in.

When I come set I don’t look at the plate. I exhale as my hands come to a stop, and I am visualizing the tunnel through which I am about to hurl the pitch. Now that I am fully focused on the task, there’s only one thing left to do - execute. For me, a good pitch is not thrown carefully. It’s thrown with a sort of calm ferocity. Mentally I am totally relaxed leading up to the pitch, but even while that calmness is there, I still think in the back of my mind that I am going to throw this pitch right by the guy. Calm mind and calm body leads to babying and 85 mph fastballs. A calm and locked in mind and an aggressive body leads to 93mph bullets. An overly aggressive mind makes it hard to repeat my motion. It’s about learning yourself and finding the right balance.


#859

Nice lil clinic in a post Ben :wink:


#860

I just cut and pasted that to my son. He’s throwing in a college summer league and, at age 19, just truly learning to pitch. Like so many kids, he got by in high school by throwing. It doesn’t work like that in college; you have to pitch. Good stuff, Lanky.