New England Baseball Journal - April 2013 - (Page 24)
2013 PREP SCHOOL SEASON PREVIEw
A quartet of standout
prep pitchers — Bellinger,
and Smithers — is looking
down on the competition
NEw ENGLAND BASEBALL JOURNAL
asketball isn’t the only sport
where height is coveted.
Are tall pitchers really
better prospects than short
or average-height pitchers?
That’s a debate that’s been raging for
years. Proponents note the angle of
the ball as it crosses the plate and the
extra few inches added to a pitched
Fact or myth, there’s a quartet of senior prep hurlers this spring who are
attracting all kinds of notice, and not
just for their stature.
Salisbury School righty Ryley MacEachern stands 6-foot-3,
went 6-0 last year with a sub2.00 ERA, and has committed
to Stony Brook.
Belmont Hill lefty Keelan
Smithers stands 6-foot-4, led
the Independent School League
with a 1.77 ERA, and is headed to
St. Sebastian’s lefty Justin Bellinger
stands 6-foot-6, is headed to Vanderbilt and already is hearing his name
tossed around as a prime pick in the
2014 MLB Draft.
Avon Old Farms righty Neil
Kozikowski stands 6-foot-3, has gotten his fastball up to 92 mph during a
spike in his development, and is headed to Virginia Commonwealth.
Call them cornerstones to their respective team’s fortunes, and four
reasons many teams will be, literally,
looking up at them when they take the
hill this spring.
Kozikowski is one of four Division
1 pitchers that Avon is trotting out this
year as it tries to defend its Colonial
League title. He’s in his fourth year
with the program and his development has really accelerated over the
past 18 months, with a good showing
at the Northeast Top Prospect Showcase over the summer.
“He’s the guy that the scouts call
me on,” Avon coach Rob Dowling
Bellinger, who boasts a fastball
in the high 80s, went 4-1 with a 0.56
ERA as a sophomore for St. Seb’s. He
also stood out at first base, a big target
across the infield and a big bat that hit
Smithers’ big jump came between
his sophomore and junior years. As a
sophomore, he was used almost exclusively in non-league games. But by the
time his junior season started, coaches
believed they had a different pitcher.
“We were kind of watching in our
By Mike Zhe
Belmont Hill lefty Keelan Smithers,
who stands 6-foot-4 and is committed
to Princeton led the ISL with a 1.77 ERA.
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