FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ryan Arredondo is taking his talents to south ... Florida.
Warden’s wunderkind will compete in the 2018 17U BCS National Championship in Fort Myers, Fla. this week, a baseball tournament organized by Perfect Game featuring some of the best players in the country. Arredondo, a member of Team Avenue Baseball, is one of two incoming juniors on the roster and one of four playing up in age.
“I just want to prove to myself and prove to everyone else that I can do this everywhere I go,” he said.
“This” alludes to striking out batters, in bunches.
Arredondo wrapped up a 100-strikeout season for Warden High School in the spring and was rewarded with his second consecutive all-league first team selection. His fastball is consistently in the low to mid 80s, flirting with 86 and 87 miles per hour in ideal conditions.
But Arredondo wants more, to show that his talent translates anywhere.
“I’m a competitor, so I’m always going to want to win — be able to take first at the tournament, whether it’s going to be meaningful or not,” he said. “But the goal is to, for me, to get more eyes on myself. I have Division I college scouts looking at me now, but I hope to get more. It’s just a huge deal to go perform at a big, big stage like that and I know I can do that. I just want to prove to everybody else I can do what I do everywhere I go.”
Arredondo’s college baseball aspirations require a level of discipline rare among high schoolers. His day begins with a summer job from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Next, some baseball work — pitching mechanics, long toss or sometimes a bullpen session — from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Finally, Arredondo takes care of any family duties before bed at 11:30 p.m.
Not exactly the typical summer for a 16-year-old.
And that’s without games.
A recent tournament in Yakima saw Arredondo rise at 4 a.m. to get to the field a couple hours early for an 8 a.m. first pitch.
That kind of schedule takes serious focus. But Arredondo isn’t the type to pump himself up with music before a game. The mental outweighs the physical.
“I want to listen to my thoughts and thinking for two to three hours at a time gets you some good ground of what you want to do,” Arredondo said.
His confidence comes from preparedness. Whether it’s a SCAC East doubleheader with Connell or a showcase tournament on the other side of the country, Arredondo trusts his abilities. He even favors himself against the best player in Major League Baseball, and why say otherwise?
“Confidence for everyone comes from doing something good or above average previously. So previously, I’ve done good in high school, I’ve done good in summer ball, I’ve done good even going to showcase tournaments for Baseball Northwest,” Arredondo said. “I’ve done good at a lot of things to give myself that confidence. I really never have doubt in myself. Right now, if I’m going to throw to Mike Trout everyone is going to think he’s going to hit a home run off me, but I’m crazy ... I’m too confident to think that he’s going to touch me. I think that’s a real huge part of baseball. It’s a mental game and I have it all.”
He’ll have a week to prove it.