In the Fall of 2014, a tall skinny 17-year-old right-hander strolled into The ARMory® (the former name of The Florida Baseball Ranch®). His name was Logan Gilbert. His father shared with me that Logan had been performing pretty well on the travel ball circuit and had garnered some interest from college recruiters.
But Logan and his closely knit family had a problem.
You see, what the recruiters didn’t know is that the reason his travel ball coaches had limited him to only two or three-inning outings, once per week, was that his barking elbow couldn’t tolerate any more than that.
Logan could run it up to touching 90 mph, but every time he pitched, he couldn’t throw again for a week.
For the Gilbert family, it was a matter of integrity.
How could they possibly accept a scholarship offer from a university knowing that he might not be able to handle the workload demanded by college pitching? And that if he tried, he’d likely end up burning up the school’s valuable scholarship money while sitting in the training room nursing a sore arm, or worse, recovering from surgery?
Logan’s dad, Keith shared his concerns and asked for our help.
We gladly accepted the challenge and started the evaluation process. After completing his physical assessment, I conducted a video analysis of his movement pattern. What I saw was a kid with a lot of potential, who was being held back a few mechanical disconnections that were contributing to medial elbow pain and poor recovery.
Regardless of the potential I saw in Logan, I would be lying if I said I could have predicted the kind of success he would have in college. Over 3 years at Stetson University, he posted a 23-3 record with a 2.48 ERA (69 earned runs in 250 2/3 innings pitched ) with 313 strikeouts and 77 walks in 52 games (33 starts). Logan was named the 2018 ASUN Pitcher of the Year. He was selected for several All-American teams … and on June 4th he was selected by the Seattle Mariners as the #14 overall pick, eventually signing a reported $3,883,800 contract.
On the way home from his signing in Seattle, Logan’s dad reached out to me and sent me one of the kindest emails I’ve ever received. With his permission, I’ll share it with you.
After spending an amazing weekend in Seattle, Logan is now a Seattle Mariner
and reporting to Everett, WA for the short-A season of minor ball. Our family is
on a plane returning to Florida, and I’m reflecting on Logan’s baseball journey
throughout the years. Recall I wrote to you after dropping Logan off at Stetson
University in the fall of 2015. I reflected on his journey from t-ball to beginning
college, and how instrumental the Armory/Ranch was for him getting the
opportunity to play college baseball. Well, I thought it would be appropriate to
continue the story through this weekend and most of all, to once again thank
you for your continued guidance throughout the years.
Logan had the phenomenal opportunity to play baseball at Stetson. He was
recruited as a two-way player, was relatively new to pitching (55 innings prior to
Stetson), and was excited to be at a small school with a rich baseball history and
known for developing players.
Pitching coach Dave Therneau came to Stetson the same year and brought his
professional experience and instruction to the program. He realized Logan’s
raw skillsand most of all, his potential. He told Logan to trust the process which was
something we also heard from you and the Ranch. The good part is that it was a
collaborative approach to development. Coach “T” worked with Logan on his mental game,
taught him how to throw various pitches, and how to sequence pitches to batters.
At the same time, he allowed Logan to continue his Ranch drills to keep his delivery
connected andarm healthy. It was a perfect combination!
What I saw happen over the next three years was remarkable. Logan’s innings
workload increased, his velocity remained strong, his strikeout rate increased,
and his walk rate decreased each year. He went from a bullpen mid-reliever as a
freshman to the weekend rotation as a sophomore and junior. He had
the opportunity to play summer ball in the Cal Ripken league as a rising
sophomore and in the Cape Cod league as a rising junior.
This spring he had the privilege to be part of a magical season at Stetson as they
won the A-Sun regular season and tournament, and hosted and won the first-ever
Deland NCAA regional! Logan received several individual recognitions along the way,
but most importantly he got to continue his dream and share these memories with
incredible coaches and teammates.
My intent isn’t to celebrate any individual or even team accomplishments, but I
wanted to document the experience and what I believe would not have been
possible had we not made our first visit to the Armory/Ranch in 2014. Recall we
came there with Logan touching 90mph but with some elbow strain after only 2 to
3 innings of work. We weren’t sure he could sustain the rigors of pitching in
college. Through your assessments and individualized drills to improve his
mechanics, not only did the strain disappear within 6 weeks, but he enjoyed a
wonderful college experience without ever missing a start that regularly included
going deep into games throwing 100+ pitches almost every weekend.
Although I am most familiar with Logan’s journey, I realize he is only one of many
Ranch success stories. However, as Logan begins the next chapter of his
baseball journey, I just wanted to make sure you realize how thankful and
grateful we are for all you and your team have done for Logan and our family.
We are very fortunate to have been referred to you several years ago, and we
really appreciate your continued support and guidance. Please let me know if I
can provide assistance or provide a reference to anyone that is contemplating
becoming a Ranch guy.
It was the best baseball decision we ever made.
I am touched beyond words. We cannot adequately express how happy we are for Logan, Keith, and the entire Gilbert family. It will continue to be our distinct honor to play a role in his development and his career.
Bosch, Frans, Anatomy of Agility: Analysis of Movement in Sport, 2010 Publishers, Roterdam, The Netherlands, 2019
Williams CD, Salcedo MK, Irving TC, Regnier M, Daniel TL. 2013 The length–tension curve in muscle depends on lattice spacing. Proc R Soc B 280: 20130697. https://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.0697