These twins from the Twin Cities are
anything but identical.
Brent Stong is a 6-foot, 170-pound
left-handed pitcher, outfielder and first baseman with a rocket arm and
dependable bat. Nathan Stong is a 6-1, 175-pound right-hander, catcher and
third baseman who also has a serviceable arm and a reliable bat.
Physically, the fraternal twins from
Andover, Minn. - a suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul - aren't much alike. But
they share a passion for baseball and were in attendance at the 2010 Perfect
Game USA Midwest Underclass Showcase held Aug. 28-29 at two locations in Cedar
Rapids, Iowa. The Midwest Underclass Showcase was held in conjunction with the
Midwest Top Prospect Showcase.
It was the brothers' first
experience with a Perfect Game showcase event, and they were feeling the
benefits even after the first day.
"It seems like it's really well
run and it seems like we're getting quite a bit of exposure right now, and all
eyes are on you," Brent said.
The showcase games and skill
evaluations were held at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium - the
home of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Class A minor league affiliate of the
Los Angeles Angels - and at the beautiful facility at Kirkwood Community
"I think it's a fantastically
run program they've got going here," Nathan said. "These are awesome
fields and they're very in control of what they're doing here. I like the
experience with the games because previous showcases I've been to haven't had
games, they've just gone through the skills. I love having the games and having
the scouts see kids in game situations."
Brent and Nathan won't celebrate
their 17th birthdays until Nov. 22 but they're already playing with kids a
couple years their senior. The brothers started on the Andover High School
varsity team as sophomores last spring and played on the same Andover American
Legion team during the summer. They estimate they played between 30 and 35
games with the Legion team during the summer after a full high school season in
Brent and Nathan have participated
in showcase events in the Metrodome in Minneapolis put on by Acceleration
Minnesota, a group that provides sports training programs. They will also play
in a fall league through Acceleration Minnesota with three other players from
Minnesota who were on their Midwest Underclass Crimson team at the Perfect Game
showcase. Among those players was Nick Weeks, a third baseman/pitcher/second
baseman who is a classmate and teammate of the Stongs at Andover High.
Brent is probably the higher prospect
of the two at the moment, and came through with one real eye-popping
performance at the Midwest Underclass. In the first base arms skill test, the
left-hander unleashed a throw from first to third that was clocked at 88 mph.
The top throw in the Midwest Top Prospect first base arm skill test was 84 mph
by Jordan Stroschein from Marion, Iowa.
Brent also delivered a throw of 87
mph in the outfield arms skill test.
On his high school team, Brent was
used primarily as a pitcher while also playing the outfield and first base as a
sophomore on the varsity squad. Brent said he hopes to continue to pitch his
way into college.
"I project myself more as a
pitcher," he said, noting his fastball has been clocked at 85 mph. "I
don't know for sure what other people are thinking but I see myself more as a
pitcher. I love being out on the mound."
Nathan Stong hasn't settled in on a
position. He pitched and caught at the Midwest Underclass and took part in the
infield arms skill test where he threw 78 mph from short to first, about the
middle of the pack for the Underclass competitors. He also took part in
catching drills and recorded a "pop time" of 2.03 seconds and a
catcher arms speed of 72 mph.
"I haven't caught for awhile
and I'm just getting back into it because I have to do it for my fall
team," Nathan said. "I'm expecting to do it (next spring) because we
lost our senior catcher from our high school team, so I'm hoping to get back
"I haven't really decided what
I'm best at yet, I just haven't really thought about it yet. I'm trying to
focus on all of them and especially get my hitting down because that's one of
the big assets."
The Stongs are also hockey players
and are on the varsity team at Andover High. They previously played football
but gave it up so they could focus on fall baseball.
The brothers' goal, like the other
140 or so players who were at the two Perfect Game showcases, is to catch the
eye of a college coach and land a scholarship, or even get drafted right out of
high school. Expect to see Brent and Nathan Stong at many more Perfect Game
events as they pursue that goal.