the last game on the second to last day of the 2014 Perfect Game
National Showcase, a young, athletic lefthander took the mound late
in the evening, the second to last pitcher to throw in the game, and
rewarded the scouts that braved through the rain and lightning delays
pitcher was Patrick Sandoval, who came out firing strikes with an
easy, repeatable delivery and a polished three-pitch mix.
was expected to take the mound earlier in the showcase, and fully
intended on attending the event as one of the more than 300 top prospects from
around the country in the high school class of 2015.
was awesome,” Sandoval said of his experience at the National.
“Before I told [PG National Showcase Director Kirk Gardner] I would
be there and I would be a sure thing; I told them that a couple of
weeks in advance.
week before my math teacher tells our class that we have to take our
finals a week early because there were a bunch of seniors in my
class. So we had to take our final the whole week the National was
going on," Sandoval continued. "So I texted [Kirk] and told him it didn't look like I could
make it. He texted me back and told me [Perfect Game] really wanted
me to come out asking if I could come out later in the week. So I
finished my final a day early, got on a plane and got there and
pitched at midnight.”
the series of events leading up to the showcase didn't go as planned,
Sandoval, too, was rewarded for his performance and determination to
attend, flying across the country to Fort Myers, Fla. at the last minute, as we has selected as one of the 54 players to participate in
this year's Perfect Game All-American Classic.
totally honored to be selected to the team knowing that it's the top
50 players in America,” he said of the honor. “I'm really excited
to play in San Diego, close to home, where all of my family can
come to watch.
really wanted to be in this. It was one of my top goals for the
summer he was named one of the top prospects at the 2013 PG
Underclass All-American Games, an annual showcase held in conjunction
with the Classic to give players in upcoming graduating classes an
opportunity to compete with and against some of the best players in
event serves as somewhat of a preview to the Classic itself, with
notable All-Americans such as Bryce Harper, Lucas Giolito, Kris
Bryant and Alex Jackson having attended the event a year prior to
appearing in the nationally televised game.
has a knack for making a big impression in limited opportunities
pitching at Perfect Game events. In addition to being named one of
the top prospects from the PG Underclass All-American Games, he also
was named to the All-Tournament Team at the WWBA World Championship
traveled to Jupiter, Fla. with the Marlins Scout Team, and was given
a tough assignment, taking the mound against another promising 2015
pitcher from Southern California, Solomon Bates, and the powerful Midland
make that a big goal when I go out and play the [big events],”
Sandoval said of performing at a high level at national events.
“Especially the Jupiter tournament, I heard a bunch of things about
the talent there, and when I was told I was going to pitch against
the Midland Redskins, and I was told how good they were, and how good
[opposing pitch Solomon] Bates was, and I really just wanted to go
out there and beat that team. I really wanted to win that game.”
did indeed propel his team to a victory that day, working four
scoreless innings, striking out three batters and allowing only two
base hits. The Marlins Scout Team won the game 2-1 and that victory
allowed them to claim their pool to advance to the playoffs.
Jupiter, as he did in San Diego two months prior, Sandoval sat in the
upper-80s with his fastball, peaking at 90 mph, while showing the
ability to throw both a hard-breaking curveball and a changeup for
to this past June and Sandoval's stuff had ramped up a notch. His
fastball now sat closer to 90 mph more frequently, peaking at 91, but
it was the velocity of his curveball that drew the most attention.
thrown in the mid- to upper-70s, his curveball is now a true power
hammer in the low-80s.
wouldn't say I tweaked it,” Sandoval said of the progression of his
breaking ball. “I guess I let loose when I throw it now. Instead of
getting a feel for it to get it over the plate I just let it go now.
I have confidence in it now.”
makes his secondary offerings especially effective is the fact that
he works hard to maintain the same arm speed on his curveball and
changeup as he does on his fastball. Given how easily the ball comes
out of his hand, it's easy to envision a similar spike to his
fastball in the coming months.
worked on that pitch with my pitching coach (Brian Keller) more than
my other ones,” he said of the development of his changeup. “I'm
working on getting my arm out there and letting it go again. My arm
speed was way slower before we started working on it and I wasn't
really reaching out.
been working out, getting bigger and stronger, lifting more and I run
a lot now. Getting in the bullpen and working on my mechanics as much
as I can. That's one of the main things I work on, working on arm
speeds and keeping hitters off balance so I'm not tipping any batters
continues to play football for Mission Viejo High School, located southeast of Los Angeles and about 75 miles north of Petco Park.
Since he hasn't fully committed to baseball as many of his
All-Americans teammates have, he doesn't play travel ball as
extensively during the summer months, but he does workout, train and
plays with the BPA organization.
while Sandoval cherishes the fact that he'll be close to home when he
takes the mound at Petco Park for this year's PG All-American
Classic, staying close to home wasn't a priority when he opted to
commit to play for Vanderbilt in college.
addition to Vanderbilt's reputation for success, having won this past
year's College World Series, and state-of-the-art facilities,
Sandoval recognizes that the school has also sent fellow lefthanders
such as David Price, Mike Minor and Jeremy Sowers, as well as PG
All-American righthander Sonny Gray, to the big leagues in recent
was willing to go wherever I could to get better and get an
education,” Sandoval said. “I really had only been talking to
California schools until Arizona started talking to me. In June,
whenever they could start sending emails to juniors, [Vanderbilt]
sent me an email, so I looked into it, and saw they have a really
good school and a really good baseball program.
called up the pitching coach (Scott Brown) and he set up me up with a
visit there. I visited and I loved every little part of that school,
all the coaches were super nice. I just felt really welcome and I
felt like I was at home there.”
all of his baseball, and overall athletic talents, and excitement to
play at a big-league ballpark as part of a live, nationally televised
game on MLB Network, Sandoval is quick to recognize the philanthropic
aspect of the event; to raise money and awareness to fight pediatric
really looking forward to getting out to the hospital and visiting
all of the kids,” Sandoval said looking ahead to his visit to Rady
Children's Hospital in San Diego. “Just seeing what they're like,
giving them some words of encouragement if I can and just spending
time with them. I'm really excited for that.”