Ethan Small Finds More Velocity

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

LHP Ethan Small (Lexington HS, TN) has experienced change in the last few years—from new commitments to increased velocity. The switch in college choices he can explain. The newfound velocity is a little harder, no pun intended.

Small, who is actually quite big at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, wasn’t showing a premium fastball early last summer. He sat in the low 80s at the Music City Baseball Classic in June and found the mid 80s in July at the World Wood Bat Championship in Georgia.

“In Atlanta, the first game I threw, I topped out at like 83,” Small said. “Then I came back and hit like 88. That was really weird. I don’t know where that came from. I guess I just felt good or something.”

Things ticked up even more in Jupiter, FL, as Small sat in the high 80s and broke the 90-mph barrier. His mechanics seemed cleaner than earlier in the summer, but Small honestly couldn’t point to a reason for the jump.

“Maybe it was just physical maturity,” he said. “I’ve always been younger than most guys in my grade. Maybe that has something to do with it. As far as mechanics, I’ve always been pretty solid. You can always work on something. I think it was just getting older and getting stronger.”

Small originally committed to Vanderbilt during his sophomore year, but ended up having to make a switch. He verbally committed to Austin Peay until Joel Mangrum, the Governors’ pitching coach, left for New Mexico State. Small once again made a switch and committed to Mississippi State, joining his Dulins Dodger teammate Gray Fenter (West Memphis HS, AR).

“The atmosphere and the coaching staff are really good,” Small said. “I like (associate head coach) Butch Thompson. He thinks a lot like me. I think I can develop under him to get to the next level, which is professional baseball.”

That’s if pro ball doesn’t come calling first. Small’s uptick in velocity will have scouts watching him closely this spring and he’s making sure he’s ready. He has been preparing this offseason by using a weighted ball and Jaeger Bands while long-tossing every other day and lifting weights. His high-80s fastball should continue to get better and he has developing secondary stuff. He also works slightly across his body and has a choppy, up-tempo delivery that can make hitters uncomfortable in the box.

As Small and Lexington make another push for the state tournament, major leagues teams will be watching. Expect Small to block them out and go about his business.

“I think about the game a little differently when I’m on the mound,” he said. “I process things, my mind is slowing down. I hit autopilot and do my thing.”

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