As a pitcher, James' opinion of the new low-seam ball might surprise most folks.
"Pitching-wise, I love it," said James. "I think it adds a little run to my two-seam fastball. My two-seam usually runs a lot anyway but it adds a little bit to that, and my four-seam runs almost as much as my two-seam. I think It has also added a lot to my changeup. It is really good now. I have gotten more groundball outs with the low-seam ball than I usually do (with the high-seam ball). I really haven't been hit hard with the low-seam ball at all."
The one negative affect that he has seen from the new ball is with his curveball.
"It does affect the 12-6 spin a little," said James. "I now throw that pitch more as an 0-2 or in the dirt type pitch because I'm afraid that I might hang one. I have to figure out how to add more spin to it."
James has also seen a little more velo with the new ball. And he's hoping to see even more next season as he continues to get bigger and stronger.
"I sat at 88-89 (miles per hour) with the low-seam ball (at the 17u WWBA tournament)," said James. "Hopefully, next year, I will be sitting at 91-92."
James was invited to the Perfect Game National Showcase in Ft. Myers in June. He is excited about his overall performance at the event.
"I thought it was awesome," he said. "On the mound, I had two strikeouts and a groundball out (in the first inning of work). The next inning, I wasn't being very smart. I was being a little selfish and trying to bump up the gun readings. I gave up one hit, a double. But other than that, it was good because I think I got two groundball outs and a flyball out after that double."
He felt the experience helped boost his confidence.
"It helped my confidence a little bit," said James. "It made me feel like I can run with the big boys. It kind of makes you feel like you are one of the big dawgs out there. It makes you feel really good about yourself when you are able to throw to the really elite guys, guys like (future Bulldog teammate) Austin (Riley), and produce outs.
"And that's what Mississippi State wants me to do because you will be facing the elite every day in the SEC."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.