Connecticut's Brightest Arm Working His Way to Top

When you think about the states that produce the top high school baseball players the names Virginia, California, Texas and Florida come to mind. The last place you would look to find a future prospect would be in the northeast, however one player could change that this season.

Josh Zeid, a 6'4 – 215 pound senior from Hamden, Connecticut will have scouts driving up to the northeast to take one final look at him before the June 2005 Major League Baseball Draft.

The right hand pitcher has traveled many miles to get noticed the past three years. Zeid has appeared in numerous showcases around the United States, and was also a member of the 2003 USA Youth National Team.

"Baseball is popular here in Connecticut, but the players don't have the chance to play all year round, so it is different than someone playing baseball in the south" said Zeid, the number one prospect in the state of Connecticut.

Zeid recently finished up his travels during the WWBA Showcase in Florida, where he faced some of the best talent in the country. Zeid appeared in one game during the four day tournament pitching four innings, and continued to impress scouts with his fastball, which tops out at 93 mph, and with his off-speed pitches that leave hitters leaving the plate baffled.

Zeid features a unique pitch called a fosh-ball in his repertoire that he learned couple years ago from a former Redsox pitcher. The fosh-ball, a less exaggerated splitter, has a downhill action caused by moving your fingers closer, and throwing it in a screwball-like action. The pitch has made Zeid's pitching even more effective, as he now has an out pitch against right-hand batters, as well as using his splitter for his out pitch against the left-hand batters.

"There are probably 10 major leaguers who throw that pitch, and they all passed through the Redsox organization, so I guess it is something they teach in their organization" said Zeid. "It is a cool pitch and I have just been practicing it since I was shown it."

"Josh is a very savvy baseball player who knows the game extremely well. He is a dominating physical presence on the mound, and his sense of humor keeps the guys loose in the clubhouse" say's Zeid's high school coach Joe Fontana.

Zeid was a key member of the 2003 Youth National Team that won a gold medal in Taiwan. He pitched five innings in a game against the Czech Republic while allowing no earned runs, and striking out seven in the first three innings, on his way to his eight strikeout performance. Zeid's contribution did not end on the mound as he helped the National Team to victory with his four RBI performance.

"It was an incredible experience for me" said Zeid about his twenty-one day experience. "Playing for your country is one of the greatest honors you could have."

Josh had a successful 2004 season as a junior. He struck out 91 batters in 53 innings pitched giving up just 19 hits and 9 runs. Josh is no stranger with the bat as he has multiple roles on the team playing first base on days when he is not on the mound. He posted a .447 batting average while driving in 26 runs and scoring 20 runs, while striking out just one time in 67 at bats, as he led his team to the Class D New England Championship. Zeid delivered in the clutch as well, striking out 17 batters, while allowing only one hit in the tournament earning his second consecutive MVP title.

Zeid has committed to Vanderbilt University for next fall, and has set a solid future ahead for him. As with many high school seniors, Zeid will be anxiously awaiting the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft in June, however he understands whatever happens it will be positive.

"As with any young baseball player, your goal is to play professional baseball so the draft process will be very exciting for me, however if things do not work out in June, Vanderbilt is a great college, with a great baseball program, and I know it will be a positive and rewarding experience for me" said Zeid.

Zeid will spend his senior year having fun and trying to lead his team to a championship. Zeid has finished up traveling the country as all the major showcases for high school players have finished. Zeid will spend the winter working with his personal trainer, and will not pick up a baseball until January to be fully fresh for March when he will finish up his high school baseball career.

"He has been pitching for us since the eight grade having one big moment after another, and has basically done it all for us" said Fontana. "He has such adaptability to himself that I would not put anything by him."

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