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Vettleson’s versatility leads to ascension

PORT CHARLOTTE — Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said during spring training that Drew Vettleson’s path to the majors would follow his bat.

When he was selected with the 42nd pick in the 2010 MLB draft, front office personnel were equally impressed by his strong arm from the outfield.

But it was with both arms back home in Bremerton, Wash., that a teenage Vettleson initially started to make a name for himself.

Vettleson was part of a rare breed, able to throw a baseball fast with either arm. That led to coaches, teammates and scouts watching him pitch wherever he went. Read More…

Wherever the road takes him: The life of a major league area scout

From the July 5 issue of the Charlotte Sun

You can view PDFs of the following story here:

Front: 2013-07-05 ENC SP 01  After the jump: 2013-07-05 ENC SP 06

By GREG ZECK
Sports Writer

About once every minute, baseball scout Thomas Peters can see the odometer on his 2013 Honda go up by one. In an almost maniacal way, the steady ascension is less of a way to measure distance and more of a way to track time.

In a given 12-month span, Peters estimates that car will put on about 30,000 miles as he travels across Florida. Read More…

FGCU ace Knapp eager to meet Mets

From the June 8, 2013 edition of the Charlotte Sun

Ricky Knapp, in Arizona to visit his dad, Rick, spent most of the Friday huddled around the computer.

Name after name — 235 in all — were recited as players selected in the MLB first-year player draft.

Finally in the eighth round, it was his turn, the last of three Florida Gulf Coast University players drafted on the day.

“The Mets select Knapp, Ricky, right-handed pitcher and the son of former Detroit Tigers pitching coach and current Dodgers minor league pitching coordinator,” the omniscient voice said.

At that moment, Ricky Knapp became a member of the New York Mets. Read More…

FGCU Eagles keep a watchful eye on draft

From the June 6, 2013 edition of the Charlotte Sun

All it takes is for one team to like you.

More than 1,200 of the country’s top high school and college baseball players will keep repeating that to themselves, hoping that one of 30 teams in this week’s MLB draft will show them some love.

The players drafted tonight will see their lives change in a heartbeat, potentially become millionaires and gain a world’s weight of expectations. Those drafted near the 40th round Saturday are essentially long shots with little risk — just like Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens, who was picked in the final round of the 2012 edition.

And as much as the draft means to major league organizations in their quest to find the next superstar, the draft is arguably just as important for the schools the athletes will depart from. Read More…

FGCU: Knapp’s attention to detail derails the competition

From the May 22 edition of the Charlotte Sun.

PDF’s of the article:

Front page

After the jump + bonus article

Text edition:

FORT MYERS — Working all the angles, civil engineers have a keen eye for even the slightest details in what they design. Every square inch is accounted for and has its own purpose, playing a small but efficient part in the greater body of work.

That’s the approach Ricky Knapp takes to the mound and has excelled in doing for Florida Gulf Coast University’s baseball team.

The civil engineering student has become the staff’s ace not in overpowering opponents — he doesn’t have velocity on his pitches to do so — but in paying attention to subtleties such as how hitters grip the bat and forcing them to make their own mistakes.

“I’m a contact guy, I’m not going to try and throw it by guys,” Knapp said. “That’s how I was taught to think of the game … I’m trying to go out there and throw nine innings every time I pitch, and I can’t do that going full-bore.” Read More…

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