When an MLB pitcher throws 100 mph, it’s typically followed by gasps and applause from the crowd. Few guys can do this consistently, except for Aroldis Chapman, who currently holds the world record of 105.1 mph.
So when a high school pitcher hits three digits on the radar gun, it’s sure to garner some attention.
During the Premier Baseball Pro Day Showcase, Riley Pint, a senior at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kansas, hurled a fastball 102 mph. And he’s only 18 years old.
Pint is regarded as one of the top MLB prospects in the nation—PerfectGame.org ranks him number one. He is committed to LSU and is a likely top-five pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Some scouts believe he will go first overall.
Pint has been working with elite strength coach Joseph Potts, owner and head of sports performance training at TopSpeed Strength and Conditioning (Lenexa, Kansas), since he was a freshman in high school. When he first came to Potts, he showed a lot of promise with a fastball in the upper 80s.
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Over the last four years, Potts has helped Pint develop a strength base with exercises like Squats, Deadlifts, Rows, Dumbbell Presses and Pull-Ups. “Strength is the basis of everything we build on. He’s gotten a lot stronger over the years,” Potts says.
But strength alone isn’t enough. To pitch 100+ mph, Pint must produce force as quickly as possible. So he works on power production with Hurdle Drills, Box Jumps and variations of Skater Jumps—an important exercise for pitchers because it mimics the movement of driving off the mound.
Potts describes the 6-foot-5, 225-pound pitcher as an explosive, rhythmic and coordinated athlete. In fact, Pint was also an All-State basketball player during his junior year—once scoring 32 points in a game. He has a 60-inch Box Jump (shown in the video player above) and he can touch 11 feet, 3.5 inches on a Vertical Jump, which is slightly better than NBA stars Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard.
Most important, Pint has been durable. He has avoided arm soreness despite throwing with such blazing velocity.
“He was playing basketball anyway, but his dad wouldn’t let him attend winter [baseball] showcases, which kept a lot of wear and tear off his arm,” Potts says. “Connective tissue heals at a third of the rate of muscle, so taking the winter off from baseball allowed his tissues to regenerate.”
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Potts believes the sky’s the limit in terms of where Pint might eventually end up. “Here’s the scary thing: he’s only a high school kid. He’s not physically mature yet and is just scratching the surface with his strength,” Potts says. “As he gets stronger, he will raise his ceiling for power production. You have a kid already throwing 102 and he’s not at his peak yet from a physical standpoint.”
With continued development and maturity, one day Pint might hold the record for fastest pitch. Watch out, Mr. Chapman.