It was one of the most horrific injuries I had ever seen.
Both bones in his forearm were snapped in half. Doctors reset the bones and held them together with two metal plates and twelve screws.
After collecting his medical history and reviewing his x-rays, I performed his initial physical therapy assessment. It was a relatively straightforward evaluation, but Cam and his parents, Mike and Carli, were worried about the possibility that he might never be able to throw a baseball again.
According to Mike and Carli, Cam was not a standout player – far from it – but he loved playing baseball and would be devastated if he weren’t able to continue pursuing his dreams of playing in high school and college.
It was clear to me that Cam’s injury would not be “career ending.” But in my opinion, this young righty had a problem that reached beyond his current rehab plan.
You see, according to the family’s report, Cam’s was primarily a pitcher, and his top velocity to that point had been 68 mph, far below that of his peers.
The Minacci’s were rightfully concerned that Cam’s injury might widen that gap even further – a consequence that would be the death of Cam’s fledgling baseball career. However, the problem was not the injury itself. The primary threat to Cam’s career was his lack of velocity and lack of a clear plan to overcome this obstacle.
He was slated to enroll the following year at Jesuit High School. Jesuit Baseball is a perineal juggernaut here in Tampa. They have a rich history of churning out MLB and Collegiate caliber talent, including Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, Jr. If he was going to have any hope of sniffing a spot, even on the JV team, Cam needed to gain some velocity.
I asked Cam and his family to trust our process and pledged that we would to do everything in our power to help him make the changes he needed to become a high school pitcher. I explained that with the right training, anyone can improve and if he was disciplined in executing his plan, college baseball was not out of the question.
We worked for six weeks in our Physical Therapy clinic to restore the range of motion and motor control his elbow, wrist, and hand, and after a return visit to the orthopedist, Cam was cleared to throw.
Things started slowly, but the good news was that he reported no significant pain as he progressed through his customized return to throwing protocol, all the while engaging in an aggressive SAVAGE Strength and Conditioning program. As the training continued, Cam’s arm action and lower half efficiency improved steadily.
After six weeks of throwing and conditioning in our nightly on-going training classes, Cam was ready for his first velo push day. He was elated to see that his hard work was paying off. In less than two months, he had gained nearly six mph. Most importantly, he was pain-free.
Inspired by his initial results, he kept working… and working… and working. He was at The Ranch® so much that people began to view him as part of the landscape, like a piece of furniture.
On any given afternoon, you could see a shirtless Cam locked in and vigorously working his plan. He got stronger, his overall athleticism sky-rocketed, and his velocity followed. More importantly, he remained pain-free, and found more connection and synergy in his delivery.
It wasn’t long before Cam eclipsed the 85 mph threshold. In the 9th grade, he tried out for and made the Jesuit High School JV team. Cam was happy to be on the team, but he wanted more. So, he did what he always does — he worked. Cam made the Varsity team as a sophomore and was able to compete well with his fastball rising to the upper 80s.
He continued working, tweaking his training plan, and honing his skill until it was time to go out on the summer travel ball circuit. When he touched 90 at a tournament with over 30 college programs in attendance, his recruiting experience changed rapidly. After visiting several schools, Cam accepted a scholarship offer and verbally committed to attend Wake Forest University.
Cam’s Minacci’s rise from overlooked, underdeveloped, and injured 8th grader to becoming a legit “dude” has been one the most inspirational stories in Florida Baseball Ranch® history.
His peak velocity has improved from 68 to 92 mph in just over three years, and he has developed plus command, a wicked slider, and a sinking/running changeup that combine to make him one of the most dominating pitchers in his age group.