Adam Sellers making gains on mound

Adam Sellers recently attended the ninth annual Southeast Underclass Showcase hosted by Perfect Game in Marietta, Ga. Over 200 baseball players from states across the southeast participated in the event and over 1,000 players participated at other regional showcases hosted by Perfect Game across the country in August and September.

The underclass showcase is designed for players graduating from 2014, 2015 and 2016 and it is held in conjunction with the Southeast Top Prospect Showcase for elite seniors graduating in 2013. There have been numerous future Division I college players and MLB draft picks who have attended this showcase in the past.

Perfect Game provides showcases, tournaments, online video, national rankings, player profiles, scouting reports and college and professional opportunities to the nation’s top baseball prospects. Nearly 85 percent of the players drafted into MLB since 2003 are Perfect Game players and that success has made it baseball’s most respected scouting report service. Merely receiving an invitation to an event is an accomplishment in itself.

Sellers received his invitation after leading his American Legion team in the finals of the state tournament to a 9-2 win over Post 34. The 14-year-old lefty pitched a complete seven-inning game where he recorded seven strikeouts, issued two walks and surrendered three hits in what was considered by some as an “off night.”

In the SEU Showcase Sellers would toe the rubber in the seventh inning with a narrow 8-6 lead. His team’s two previous pitchers were both upperclassmen, each standing over six feet tall and both had managed to dominate opposing batters with fastballs in the 84-86 mph range, but a few hitters, even with wood bats, had taken their best stuff to the warning track 370 feet away.

Just a week shy of his 15th birthday, with college and professional scouts in the stands, the only freshman pitcher in the SEU Showcase took the mound. As the 9th grader warmed up, the radar guns along the fence pinged out 74, then 76 mph, impressive velocity for a freshman, but a good 10 mph slower than the two previous pitchers.

As the on-deck batter knocked the dirt from his cleats, he turned to his teammate and said, “Looks like I’m going to have the honor of hitting the first home run.” His teammate replied, “I’ll get yours if you get mine.” Five pitches later he was sitting in the dugout. Three pitches later and his teammate joined him. Five more and the side was retired in order. The lefty recorded two strikeouts and no hits. Top of the eighth inning went pretty much the same as the lefty recorded two more strikeouts but the bottom of the ninth inning got interesting. The top of the order started off the inning with a single, but Sellers promptly picked him off at first base. Then the No. 2 hitter reached on an error by the shortstop, at which point Sellers did something unusual, at least for freshman, and turned to his teammate and said, “Forget about it, we’ll get the next one.” The only problem was, the “next one” was a 6-1 junior from Tennessee who is considered the 20th best third baseman nationally with a handful of Division I offers. He had already hit two to the warning track, one was a line drive that littered the infield with maple splinters. If the freshman had any clue who he was facing, it didn’t show as he delivered a curve ball for a called strike, a sinker low and away for a foul ball, then a fastball under the chin for a 1-2 count, and finally a 66-mph changeup that had the batter out on his front foot struggling to make contact that resulted in a dribbler to the shortstop who quickly made amends for his previous error by turning the first leg of a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

In April, Sellers went to the American Sports Medicine Institute at the Andrews Sport’s Clinic in Birmingham for a biomechanical evaluation of his pitching mechanics through high-speed video analysis.

The biomechanical evaluation helps a pitcher both minimize risk of injury and maximize performance. The evaluation is based upon ASMI’s knowledge of biomechanics, baseball, orthopedics, physical therapy, and strength and conditioning.

After the evaluations, Sellers, and his teammate, Luke Yelverton scored in the top 10 percent of pitchers in their age group, classifying them as elite pitchers according to the ASMI staff.

Brian Sellers, Adam’s dad and pitching coach, knew his son has been and continues to work hard on his pitching skills, but he realized that simply working harder than your opponent was no longer adequate; he needed to be certain they were working smarter. “The experience was eye opening to say the least” remarked Sellers. “But it was most informative in what we learned regarding strength, core, and flexibility training. From a mechanical standpoint, they only identified two significant flaws and one, I was already aware of, but from a standpoint of what we needed to do to develop the kind of strength that would translate to performance on the mound and a healthy arm, we were off the mark in what we were doing.”

According to Sellers Chris Cameron has taken over the strength and conditioning of the pitchers he works with at Synergy Sports Training while he continues to supervise their throwing and pitching routines.

“These kids are working out five days a week and unless you do this full-time, it’s impossible to supervise everything, but that is exactly what young athletes need, so Chris has been a big help in managing and supervising their strength and conditioning sessions,” Brian Sellers said.

All the time put into research by the coaches to make sure the sweat invested by the players will pay-off, is starting to do just that as the scouts named Adam Sellers to the National Freshman Watch List along with 29 other players from across the country after issuing their scouting report on the young lefty:

“…high leg raise, gets closed well, long loose arm circle, 3/4’s arm slot, solid repeatable overall mechanics. Mid 70’s fastball, topped out at 75 mph, lots of run and sink, keeps fastball down in the zone well. Nice change up with same arm speed and life. Curveball still developing but not a concern at his age. Arm works well, body projects and has present pitchability. Bright future with normal strength and development. Definite college prospect, possible future draft pick with development.”

According to Sellers ,he and Chris Cameron are working with a number of young pitchers and hope to expand what they are doing by establishing Top Gun Pitching Academy at Synergy Sports Training. In October, Adam Sellers and Luke Yelverton will attend the Under Armour National Showcase at Spain Park in Hoover.