Scouts interested in Conestoga pitcher Brendon Little
Rick O’Brien, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015, 1:08 AM
Brendon Little has been dreaming about playing professional baseball since he was a multi-position performer in the Berwyn-Paoli Little League.
“I think it was last summer, when I was playing in front of major-league scouts and getting feedback from them, when I realized it could become a reality,” the Conestoga senior said.
A 6-foot-2, 200-pound lefthander with a fastball that has been clocked at 95 m.p.h., Little was closely watched by 15 to 30 scouts at games this year. With a huge upside, he could be picked next week in the Major League Baseball first-year draft.
“He’s a lefthanded pitcher with good size and arm strength,” said a National League scout who wished to remain anonymous. “There were plenty of guys out there watching him. I’m sure there’s interest from some team.”
In addition to a sizzling fastball, Little, a University of North Carolina recruit, throws a curveball in the upper 70s, a circle change-up, and a cutter.
“He’s extremely athletic and has the mechanics, which should translate into him being a very successful college or professional pitcher,” said an American League scout, also requesting anonymity.
This season for Conestoga, which won its first outright Central League title since 2008, Little went 3-3 with a 1.34 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 38 innings. The Malvern resident struggled at times, especially early on, with command of his pitches.
“That was a bit frustrating,” he said. “I kind of shot myself in the foot. Some of it, I think, had to do with me trying to refine my mechanics, hoping that it will help me in the long run, over the winter.”
Little, who trains at All-Star Baseball Academy under Mike Manning, impressed scouts last summer in the East Coast Professional Showcase in Syracuse, N.Y., and at the Area Code Baseball Games in Long Beach, Calif.
Little has had predraft workouts with the Braves and Dodgers. The southpaw is scheduled to throw Saturday for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
“That’s going to be a thrill,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Other Southeastern Pennsylvania players who could be drafted are hard-hitting Devon Prep catcher Dominic Hardaway (committed to Boston College), Germantown Academy shortstop/designated hitter John Aiello (Wake Forest), and Spring-Ford righthander Bret Clarke (Stony Brook).
After suffering a tear to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last summer and then undergoing Tommy John surgery, Aiello was relegated to being a designated hitter this season.
“We saw him last summer before the injury, got a feel for what he can do,” said the National League scout. “He’s athletic, swings the bat well.”
From the college ranks, possible draftees from Southeastern Pennsylvania are West Chester infielder Dylan Tice (Pennridge graduate), William and Mary catcher Ryan Hissey (Unionville), and Wingate outfielder Tom Spitz (West Chester East).
In 42 games for the Golden Rams this season, Tice batted .433 with 16 doubles, 11 home runs, and 5 triples. He had an .827 slugging percentage and .548 on-base percentage.