Provey's Pen: Introduction

Colton Provey
Tennessee Scouting Director

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Greetings y'all! This is Colton Provey, and I’ve been the PBR Tennessee Scouting Director since June 2019. For some, we may have already crossed paths (whether that’s a hello at the ballpark, exchanging emails, or chatting about the great game of baseball) and for others this may be the first time you’re getting to know me. Over the past two and half years, I’ve been serving the state of Tennessee by providing opportunities for prep players and assisting families to help further their child’s playing career by providing quality video, reliable metrics, and a platform to showcase their abilities. As a born and bred Tennessean, I take great pride in representing our state and being an asset to others that call this great place home. 

In this occupation between traveling from ball field to ball field, I often get asked an array of questions by players and parents regarding a multitude of topics surrounding the game. As 2022 gets rolling, I wanted to open up the conversation and provide more insights surrounding recruiting, exposure, do’s/don’ts, and other topics of interest to further serve families during these exciting yet (sometimes) confusing times as their child rises through the high school ranks. This first edition of Provey’s Pen will take a look at my background and my journey from high school to becoming a college athlete. This piece isn’t a “hey look at how successful I was,” but more so a guide of how the average joe can play this game as long as he can.

I was born and raised in Columbia, TN and started playing baseball at 3 years old, and what I didn’t know at the time was that I’d play the game for twenty years, making lifelong memories along the way. Growing up, I played just about every position as a kid, but mainly corner infield and catcher, then started pitching at 10 years old. As I got into the 13-14 age range, I began to pitch a lot and also transitioned into RF, mainly due to my arm strength because I’ll be the first to tell you I was not a good runner. My grandpa said it best once, “He’s moving so hard, but he ain’t really going anywhere,” so my job was strictly to get the ball and throw out baserunners.

As I progressed into high school, my freshman year consisted of JV duty as I mainly pitched, got my at bats, and spent some time out in right field. For my height, I was never a power hitter or even a skilled hitter for that matter, but I was an ugly hitter: line drives, butt out flares over 2B, nothing twitter worthy these days. My strengths were probably plate discipline (got to take those walks) and an elite bunter (mind you, zero speed). While playing basketball my sophomore year, I was mainly focused on pitching in my free time as that was my best chance at getting varsity time. Once I was back to 100% baseball for Spring, I took batting practice the first day and sure enough I couldn’t hit the ball anymore. That season consisted of me throwing in the low 80s as a non-district starter, serving up plenty of long balls and having flashes of some potential here and there. The highlight of the year was starting in the state semifinals, gave us a chance and we ended up winning to reach the state championship.

After having a solid summer, I decided to focus on pitching in hopes of playing college baseball, so I ended up quitting basketball and spending the offseason doing team workouts. My coaches graciously told me that I no longer needed to partake in any more position player activities, and it was well overdue but I was officially a pitcher only at 16 years old. That offseason was the first time I consistently got in the weight room and was able to throw daily to build up my arm. My junior year consisted of district relief if needed or #3 starter throwing a weekend game, and I put together a pretty good year in that role. I was probably a low to mid 80s arm that could throw a 12/6 breaking ball and used a mini splitter as a changeup. My senior year I bumped up as the #2 arm throwing district games. Although my stats were better on paper, the on field product was disappointing. I had a knack for hitting batters and just couldn't command the zone like previous years, so my final Spring for recruitment was kind of a dud. At one point, I was fully prepared to pass on college baseball and just be a normal student, but some late season perspective changed my mind. My body of work resulted in two in-state Juco offers, so I decided to become a Juco bandit and attend Walters State CC. 

My first year at Walters was focused on making the travel roster, throwing harder, and developing a true changeup. Early on I had an issue with throwing one pitch in the upper 80s then the next would be low 80s, so I was concentrating on being more consistent in what I was feeling on the mound. I wasn’t a priority arm at the time and wasn’t racking up many innings, so I was solely focused on improving in my side work. I would tweak my delivery every several weeks, then when I was home for a weekend I threw a bullpen at my high school. It all clicked and sat 87-90, but I didn’t really tell anyone about this breakthrough because I wanted to prove it in a real game. It happened a couple games later, then the season wrapped up, and it was another offseason back at home. 

My second year was all about the mental game and attitude, and proving to everyone I could be “a guy” or impact arm. Following some shoulder inflammation from the offseason, my average fall fastball was 83.8 mph, so I had to get creative and really pitch during the fall (throwing offspeed in hitters counts, mental battles, etc.). It allowed me to have complete confidence in all three pitches in any count heading into the Spring. The arm slowly built back up and the velocity came along, after a couple of games I had solidified myself as the closer. I had finally found my calling, and the D1 coaches finally started calling. At that point, I was a three pitch closer with good season stats and a fastball at 88-92, touching 93. By time the Juco World Series concluded, I had been contacted by 50 colleges, including multiple power five schools. It was an absolutely surreal experience given my previous recruiting experience coming out of high school. I went through the process of visiting schools, asking questions, and finding the right fit for me. My end result was South Carolina, so I packed up and headed to the Palmetto State. 

My time in South Carolina was a bit of a rollercoaster because I made a lot of changes and really lost who I was as a pitcher. In my early opportunities, the game had sped up on me, and I had some rough outings, which led to falling out of the mix. Kept serving the team any way I could, and I started to notice some elbow issues late in the season. After making a Super Regional, I had some options to transfer out and get more time on the mound, but I decided to stay and finish out my degree that Spring. I followed up on my elbow issues, and found out I needed an Ulna Nerve Transposition (basically moving the funny bone nerve to your forearm tendons). I ended up having surgery and started the 4-5 month recovery period with my sights set on graduating and having freedom to transfer to any school. I ended up heading down to Florida to play summer ball, and get some rehab innings under my belt. Communicated with a handful of schools as they followed my progression and ended up with a couple D1 offers. I decided to go closer to home and attend Tennessee Tech as they were coming off a Regional appearance. 

At Tech, I was a 23 year old 5th-year senior relief pitcher, and many referred to me as “grandpa” that season. Got to sit back and watch one of the best college offenses in the BBCOR era while learning about the art of hitting. Fell into a role as the #2 arm out of the bullpen, and we posted a historic season winning 52 games, winning the Oxford regional, and finishing the season one win short of Omaha in the Austin Super Regional. My playing days were over, and I decided to stay on as a graduate assistant while finishing my Masters degree. In that year, I oversaw/assisted with academics, baseball operations, scouting reports, analytics, on-campus recruiting, scheduling, and bullpen communications. I’m so appreciative to have the best teammates, be a part of some great teams, and some everlasting memories. 

Currently, reside in Spring Hill, TN, and got married this past fall to my lovely wife Brooklyn, who often helps work our PBR showcases in her free time as a check in guru, welcoming everyone with a big smile. We recently got a five-month old mini goldendoodle named Ronnie, who loves snoozing and tasty treats. We’re passionate fans of the Titans, Braves, Predators, Grizzlies and most importantly SEC football. We enjoy binge watching television shows, sitting at ballparks, and spending time with our families, including my two nephews. Vast majority of our event staff consists of high level baseball people, who were either teammates or coaches that influenced me in some manner. Many have become staples in our events, such as Jimmy Redovian, who is often found feeding barrels in BP and providing top notch on the go feedback to participants, or Brock Myers, who is a wizard with the camera in creating great videos and photos to capture our events. There are so many more that help make our events special, and many of them I consider friends and some cases family. 

I’m now 27 years old, and have been in this role for several years, witnessing players develop and “grow up” in front of my eyes. Good chunk of them refer to me as “coach,” which is fine, but I’ve never felt like a coach. I’m not with them everyday in the trenches, helping them sharpen their skills. I’ve always viewed myself as more of a mentor: sharing my experiences in the process, providing feedback on strengths/weaknesses, and helping players see the bigger picture to make the best decisions for themselves. This game has given me so much in life, and it’s a blessing to give back and make an impact. What we do in Tennessee is a grassroots, family operation looking to provide honest feedback, but also a level of fair opportunities for kids to showcase their abilities for everyone in the country to follow. My purpose with these Provey’s Pen blogs are to provide insight to players aspiring to play at the next level and give parents the tools to assist their child achieve their goals. That’s enough about my journey in baseball, so we’re done looking back and now it’s time to actually move forward. Stay tuned…

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