Friday, March 18, 2016

College Switch Pitchers

Has there ever been a switch pitcher in college baseball?

Yes, a few switch pitchers have thrown in college.

The best know switch pitcher is Pat Venditte, who was a walk-on pitcher at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. After a successful college career, Venditte was drafted as a pitcher by the New York Yankees. Now, he is a relief switch pitcher for the Oakland Athletics.

In 1990, Lou Pavolich, editor of Collegiate Baseball News, said he could remember only two players in the last 20 years who have pitched from both sides in college. ``It's so unusual, it's virtually unheard of.''

In the last decade, there have been about ten college pitchers who could throw well from both sides. A few switch pitchers played for Division I colleges. Two successful ambidextrous pitchers played for Harvard University. Switch pitchers are smart and do well in school.

The best ambidextrous pitchers where drafted out of high school and are fielding positions in the minor leagues. Most are talented switch hitters or powerful left-handed hitters.

In 2015, there were a few switch pitchers playing college baseball (see below).

Prospective College Switch Pitchers

Class of 2017 >>

Class of 2016 >>

College Switch Pitchers
Recent College Recruits

Tyler Hopman is a 6'5" switch pitcher who played for Old Bridge High School Knights in New Jersey. In an interview, he said that he feels a lot stronger throwing lefty. Velocity was 82 mph left-handed, in high school. 

College: Kean University, NJ - baseball and football 

Recent Players

Alex Trautner (Creighton University, Division I) - Omaha, NE

Trautner is a talented ambidextrous pitcher, from Danville, CA, with the skills and size that college coaches are looking for in a player. He follows in the footsteps of pro Pat Venditte who switch pitched for the Blue Jays. Redshirt Freshman in 2015. Read more about Trautner

Aubrey McCarty (Vanderbilt University, Division I) - Nashville, Tennessee

In 2015, McCarty was a freshman ambidextrous pitcher and switch hitter served as a two-way player, in a limited role, at Vanderbilt. A natural lefty, McCarty learned to play baseball right-handed at an early age. He was drafted by the SF Giants in 2013, but decided to play college baseball and get a good education before going pro. 

In 2016, Aubrey McCarty switched schools and became a regular two-way player at Gordon State College in George.

Marcus Garcia, (Sierra College) - Rocklin, California

Garcia is a freshman switch pitcher who started playing for Sierra College in 2013.  

Roseville pitcher can boast: Look Dad, both hands (News article)

Read more about Garcia

Jared Skolnicki, Kent State University

Natural lefty who touches 90mph, has the ability to pitch right-handed (mid 80s).
He plays for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in the summer league - just like Pat Venditte. 
Jared Skolnicki: Expert Mathematician and Aspiring Switch Pitcher - YouTube 

Former College Players

Ryan Perez (Judson University, NAIA) - Elgin, Illinois

On his Perfect Game profile, Ryan Perez’s primary position is listed as “BHP” – “both-handed pitcher.” In 2014, Perez is a starting pitcher at Judson University – who can throw 90 mph with either arm. Perez played summer ball in the famous Cape Cod League. He was drafted in 2015 and is pitching in the minor leagues.

Brandon McBane (Central Christian College, NAIA) - McPherson, KS
Transferred to Crown College in Minnesota where he is a catcher.

McBane is a P/UT from Merritt HS in Elk City, OK. Brandon McBane was mainly a catcher in high school, so he throws well from the right side. He plays first base left-handed and is a switch hitter.

Austin Stuber (Missouri Valley College) - Marshall, Missouri

Austin Stuber attended Iowa Western Community College and is now pitching for the Vikings of Missouri Valley College. 

Alex Adami (SUNY Binghamton, Division I- Thornwood, New York

Alex Adami of Thornwood first became a switch-pitcher when he was at Iona Prep, and then in college was a star reliever for SUNY Binghamton

Greg A. Harris (Long Beach City College) - Long Beach, CA

A natural right-handed pitcher, Greg Allen Harris alternated throwing arms during one major league game on September 28, 1995. Greg Harris pitched right-handed only in college. He worked on throwing with both arms in the pros, pitched both ways in the bullpen and used a custom-made ambidextrous glove (which was donated to the Hall of Fame). By 1986 he could throw well enough left-handed that he felt he could pitch ambidextrous in a game, but the coaches did not give him the opportunity. The 6'0", 165 lb Harris is listed as a switch hitter. 

Josh Hoekstra (Minnesota State University, Division II) - Mankato, MN

A 6-7, 250-lb., right-handed pitcher, Josh Hoekstra built a 4-1 record with a 3.97 ERA and 48 Ks in 41.2 innings with Century College in 2011. Hoekstra signed to play at Minnesota State University - Mankato in 2012-13. He is a graduate of D.C. Everest High in Schofield, Wisconsin, where he lettered in baseball, football and basketball. Read more about Hoekstra

David Ricker (UNC Asheville, Division I) - Asheville, North Carolina

At Hendersonville High School, David Ricker was a successful switch hitter and ambidextrous pitcher. In college, he started out pitching at the University of Maine, then transferred to UNC Asheville where he was a left-handed pitcher. In 2005, David Ricker's fastball velocity was recorded at 86 mph. Read more about Ricker

Bijan Rademacher (Orange Coast College 2012- Costa Mesa, CA

A natural lefty, Rademacher started throwing right-handed when he was around six-years-old. Rademacher also was a left-handed pitcher in college and said he’s topped out at 95 mph and can hit 88 mph with his right arm. He said he never learned to throw with both arms, it was just instinctual to use both arms as a child. 
Rademacher was selected in the 13th round (404th overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2012. He was drafted as an outfielder, which was his preference, though some believe his future in the pro ranks is on the mound. His fastball was clocked at 93 mph and he is left-handed. Read more about Rademacher

Peter Taraskevich (Cumberland University, Class of 2010, NAIA) - Lebanon, TN

Taraskevich eats, golfs and bats left-handed, shoots baskets and bowls with both hands and writes right-handed. He has always tinkered with the two-handed special delivery in fall and summer league games. His rare skill began at 11, when he would throw a tennis ball for hours against the wall of his home in Sunrise, Florida. The hard throwing Taraskevich was selected by the Twins in 27th round of MLB Draft in 2003, but decided to go to college. Read more about Taraskevich 

Pat Venditte Jr. (Creighton University 2008, Division I) - Omaha, Nebraska

In 2005, Venditte (pronounced ven-DEH-tee) joined the Creighton University Bluejays, where he was a walk-on player. He had five appearances as a freshman pitcher, but was not allowed to switch pitch until his sophomore year. 
In the 2007 season, Venditte earned first-team all-conference honors -- leading Creighton to its first conference championship and was named Most Valuable Player of the tournamentSelected by the New York Yankees in the 20th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Creighton University

Pat Venditte is the only ambidextrous pitcher in professional baseball.

Brandon Berdoll (Temple College 2003) - Temple, TX

Brandon Berdoll - a natural lefty - learned how to throw with both arms, at age 10, after his coach would not allow him to play shortstop left-handed. At Temple Junior College, he threw 89 miles per hour with his left arm, and 85 miles per hour with his right arm. He threw a sharp curveball with both arms. Berdoll was selected by Atlanta Braves in 27th Round (817th overall) of 2003 amateur draft.

Matt Brunnig (Harvard 2006, Division I Ivy League) - Cambridge, MA

Matt Brunnig, a tall switch pitcher, was able to throw over 85 mph on either side, but never pitched with both arms in the same game. As a starter he would pitch every game conventionally with one side, and save the other arm for another start, thus allowing him to be two starters in one.
Read more about Brunnig 

Jamie Irving (Harvard 1993Division I Ivy League) - Cambridge, MA

Jamie Irving, a 6'5" natural right-hander from Miami, started throwing left-handed with his father at the age of 7. 
"Irving's two-sided approach was a saving grace in high school when he needed surgery on his right elbow before his sophomore season. He pitched with his left arm while he recuperated, and then slowly brought his right arm back during his junior year, starting games lefthanded and relieving right-handed. The experience—a career saved by diversity—was the subject of the essay he wrote on his application to Harvard." (SI Vault)

Todd Cason (St. Leo College 1990, Division II) - St. Leo, Florida

Todd Cason is a right-handed pitcher-until he gets tired. Then he becomes a lefty.
"I pitch left-handed as a last resort," said the junior from St. Leo College, who has a 12-9 record. "When my neck starts to hurt or my right arm feels likes it`s going to fall off, I know it's time to switch gloves." 
Cason's right-handed fastball crosses the plate at about 85 mph; the left-handed goes 82.

Jeff Dusek, (Brigham Young University 1972, Division I) - Provo, Utah

Dusek reportedly threw harder left-handed, but was a better pitcher right-handed. In the summer he played in the old Basin League in Mobridge, South Dakota. Jeff Dusek pitched in the College World Series and two years in the minor leagues.
Read more about Dusek

Charles Freine(Santa Clara College 1909- Santa Clara, CA
Charley Freine was a skilled ambidextrous baseball player in the early 1900's who could switch hit and throw well with both arms. He was called "A Pitching Freak" and "Marvelous Freak".
Read more about Freine

Note: This is a partial list of College Switch Pitchers. 
If you know of a switch pitcher who played in college, please add a comment below.

HS Switch Pitchers - College Recruiting Profiles


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