Recruiting: Tate Casey's Baseball Summer

IT caught up with <B>Tate Casey</B>, TE from Longview, and he was on his way to Dallas to catch a flight to Marietta, Georgia Wednesday morning. After overcoming an itchy bout with a little poison ivy, Casey is set to rejoin his teammates as he continues his summer league baseball circuit.

"We might go ahead and check out Miami while we're in Georgia," Casey said. "Not sure though."

IT had the Longview TE down to Texas and Miami a few weeks ago, but Casey said Tuesday that "you can still include LSU and Texas Tech because I'm still looking at them too."

Back to baseball and how Casey's performing this summer...

"I'm doin' pretty good," Casey said. "Having fun."

The right-hander has four wins (in as many starts) and no losses. In five relief appearances he's earned three saves as he currently boasts an ERA of under 2.00. With almost two strikeouts per inning and under one half walk per inning, Casey's been pretty dominant as he locates his pitches especially well.

"The first couple of innings I simply rely on my fastball and curve...I don't want to show too much of my stuff," said Casey, explaining his strategy as a starter. "Once they catch up, then I use my other two pitches I can throw for strikes -- my change and split."

Kid's already got four pitches he can throw for strikes, including a pretty salty fastball.

"Two-three weeks ago," Casey said, "I hit 94 mph on the radar when we were in Nebraska with a consistent 91-92 fastball throughout the game. And a couple of weeks ago in Houston, I hit 93 mph, but was mostly around 91-92."

That's definitely bringing it and sets up the rest of his arsenal rather well, but he's been workin' on his curve a little more, changing the grip to get more of a high/low break.

"It's lookin' better than it did before," Casey revealed. "My old curve looked more like a slider, so my coach changed a few things. Now, it looks like a regular curve ball. And I can locate it better too."

While mastering his newly found 72-73 mph curve, Casey said his best off-speed pitch is his splitter.

"It's my 'out' pitch," Casey said. "I'm up on the hitter 0-2 or 1-2, I get a lot of strikeouts with that pitch."

"My split-fingered pitch shakes pretty good," Casey added. "The rotation is very similar to a knuckle-curve. And it floats to the outside (of a right-handed batter) before the bottom drops out".

Combine all of that with his 80/81 mph change-up and his superb location and it's easy to see why this kid will have a lot to think about come next year's MLB Draft and will inevitably have to make a tough decision as he has a lot of different baseball/football options to consider.

We'll examine those in this week's Inside Scoop.


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