If you were a ballplayer...

Coachster

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 3, 2009
9,060
New Hampshire
Early in my junior year in high school I got brought up to varsity, as our starting center fielder broke his leg. For reasons I can't explain, after years of being mediocre, I was suddenly able to hit. Pop flies fell in, ground balls had eyes. I could always run fast and had a good arm, so I was comfortable in center. I had a really good year. That season I was 9th in LA City in hitting, stole a bunch of bases and honestly thought baseball would be my thing. My senior year my hitting returned to what it had been my whole life; crappy. I had no scholarship offers (and was a dumbshit) so I headed off to community college where it turns out my American Legion coach was the head coach. I was on the team for two years. I rarely played. We experimented with me switch-hitting (this is when Matty Alou was winning batting championships with the Giants, so my coach's idea was for me use a 40 ounce bat and try to take every pitch the other way and run real fast.)

If I had worked harder, or figured out how to hit, I could have been a bad D-I player. As it is, I was a juco Billy Hamilton.
 

Humphrey

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2010
3,246
My glove won 6 or 7 games my senior year in high school.

We had a kid pitcher who had a terrible glove (his family didn't have much money and what they did have went towards a real nice catcher's mitt, where he was supposed to play when not pitching), so he used mine.

I was the statistician, prior to that, fringe JV player my sophomore year.
 

Prodigal Sox

New Member
Jul 15, 2005
262
between the buttons
This is a great question and brought back a lot of memories I hadn’t thought about in years.

I'm trying to avoid the incessant negativity of reality so I'm inviting y'all to engage in some fantasy.

If you were the most athletic version of yourself, what is the highest level of baseball you could reach, and what would be your strengths and weaknesses?

I think I could have been a decent college second baseman. Good hands, mediocre range, adequate arm, good baseball smarts. Maybe drafted in a very late round back when they had very late rounds, and I'd flame out before getting to high A. At the plate, I'd be a halfway decent contact guy, decent eye, and virtually no power. There's just no version of me that has the eyesight required to be a decent hitter.
Only difference was good range and inaccurate arm (I started as a shortstop but after a couple years went to second because of the arm). Has a hitter; had a good eye, lots of walks, crowded the plate took a lot of HBPs, gap power, my spray chart would have been mostly up the middle, Could take one out if I turned on a mediocre fastball and hit it right down the left field line. Before moving to the east coast I played LL and AL ball for four years in California, which was a pretty far advanced for the time in the play and facilities. That was probably the biggest reason I was able to play at a high level in high school; just had more reps/play compared to the colder climes.

Started at second and hit second as a junior in high school on a team that went undefeated and really only had one close game. We just steamrolled people; came out of the gate fast and never took the pedal off. As the season went on we just wanted to humiliate people. Everyone that started could hit and were good to excellent fielders. Really only had two power hitters but one was elite. Had three outstanding pitchers, Two of the seniors ended up getting drafted but I don’t think either made it past high A ball. We just got on base and ran at every opportunity.

This was way before analytics but had a coach that was intuitively prescient. He preached OBP, stolen bases, and taking extra bases on aggressive base running. His thinking was that on most high school teams several of the outfielders and catchers had weaker inaccurate arms so put pressure on them and force them to make throws they probably couldn’t. We would spend the first two weeks of spring practice on base running and taking leads, He scouted teams in advance and would try and pick up on pitchers tipping pitches and their throws to first and give us scouting reports before games.

At that age you just don’t realize what a unique, unusual experience that is. I wish I hadn’t taken it for granted at the time.

I tried to walk on at college at a mediocre D1 school. It took a couple days at fall practice to realize that I was completely out of my league. If I had gotten 15-20 percent more out of my ability I’m guessing I would of maxed out as a decent D1 second baseman.

This was before one sport athletes, travel teams, and personal hitting/pitching coaches. I don’t think I could make a decent high school team it I was growing up now. These kids are so much more advanced from when I was playing.
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 18, 2010
1,447
Connecticut
My athletically smallish size, around 5’10”, 180 lbs definitely would limit my options beyond high school. Back in the day I was an alright pitcher with good control and a decent breaking ball, but nothing special in the velocity department. I could also field well enough with a good arm, but I never could hit enough to be noticed. Maybe I could have been an end of the bench guy for a D3 school, but I was also a chemistry major in college and with all those afternoons in the lab baseball was never in the conversation.