Farm Report

BREW MATHs EXCLUSIVE: Logan Gillaspie Interview

In the very first BREW MATHs Exclusive, we sit down with Brewers’ Minor Leaguer, Logan Gillaspie. A 22-year-old so talented he caught the first eight innings of his college games only to come in and close them in the ninth. He was signed by Milwaukee on 07/13/18 (as a RHP) and says the rest will be “history.” Get acquainted with the phenom’s meteoric rise, hear how he plans to make it to The Bigs and understand his advanced stats as only BREW MATHs can explain them…


The Catcher With The Cannon

As a 12-year-old, Logan Gillaspie already knew he wanted to be a Major Leaguer. Not only did the kid seem to have the talent to back it up, but his family was “all in.” From that point forward, Logan’s life was baseball… not only playing year-round but traveling to find tournaments no matter how far they were.

Starting off, Logan was the shortstop on his little league teams (as the best players often are). However, he heard that being “catchers or pitchers was the fastest way to make it to the Bigs.” Having big dreams and a developing work ethic, it really stuck with him. In fact shortly after, he switched to catcher which is where he would play through his high school years.

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High School Scouting Report

  • 6’2″ / 195-pound switch-hitting catcher attending Frontier High School (Bakersfield, CA)
  • 88th on Baseball America’s Top 100 List of high school prospects
  • 2014 (Senior Year): Won the conference triple crown (led conference in AVG / HR / RBI)
    • Hit 0.409 and threw out 15/15 would-be base stealers
  • When he wasn’t catching, he was pitching
  • Named to USA 17U National Team Development Program in Cary, N.C.
    • This exposed him to scouts who then invited him to try out in the Area Code Baseball Underclass Games.
      • Area code is a league for underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores in high school). You have to be invited to try-out by a scout and even then, there are no guarantees you’ll make it. The league acts as a development stream for the following teams:

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Gillaspie elaborates on his experience in Area Codes:

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Quote LINKS to 2018 MLB Pop Time Leaders… See where Gillaspie’s time would rank (!!!)

 

And the arm strength behind the plate was translating on the mound. Eventually, scouts started to see he might have more value on the “other end” of the battery…


POSITION CHANGE TO PITCHER

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High School Scouting Report Excerpts

“Logan is a tremendous athlete that will give us plenty to talk about for many years to come. He can be used behind the plate for eight innings and then close the ninth. He possesses a true closer mentality with a fast ball that sits 90 – 94 mph. His innate ability to understand both sides of the battery, while also hitting for power, makes him a very sought-after…”

“One of the best catchers in the state of California… he has made significant gains on The MLB recruiting scene this year.”

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MLB Scouts were clearly ‘locked in’ on Logan and his vast skill set. However, as Gillaspie puts it, “the 2015 draft came and went… I had no idea why I wasn’t picked to go somewhere. I told a scout, just get me a plane ticket… get me there and I will show you.”

Many lesser men would have given up at this point… went home and settled for a “real job.” However, Logan’s fire had been lit and he had a family that fully supported his efforts:

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Gillaspie makes it clear he could not have done it alone…

“I know everyone says this, but if it weren’t for my parents I would not be where I am today! My parents made a commitment years ago, told me that they would get me to wherever I needed to go as long as I did what I needed to do. Our motto… get ‘er done!”

Gillaspie used this energy and support to keep pushing towards his dream. He ended up two hours west of Bakersfield where he attended JuCo at Oxnard College.


OXNARD COLLEGE

Over two years and 13 games, Gillaspie worked on solidifying a simple, repeatable delivery and did so with mixed results. While there, he split time between starting and working out of the pen. His career numbers while at Oxnard:

  • 3W – 3L
  • 4.59 ERA
  • 49.0 IP
  • 1.45 WHIP
  • RATE STATS:
    • 7.16 K/9
    • 3.86 BB/9
    • ZERO Home Runs allowed (!)

Despite this, Gillaspie was passed over again in the 2017 Draft…


INDEPENDENT LEAGUES

 

“I was D1 qualified but just wanted to play baseball, I didn’t want to go back to school. I found a tryout for an independent league (didn’t even know what it was) for Pecos League Trainrobbers, then got picked up by Monterey Amberjacks at 19… making 50 bucks a week. I was 19 years old, had no car and was living out of a duffel bag in nasty hotels. I was lucky to get a good meal and was hanging around guys much older than me away from home.”

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Over the rest of 2017, the teenager was traveling all over the country playing independent ball with only three letters in mind… M-L-B. His cumulative independent league stats (Monterey, Salina, Sonoma) from 2017:

  • 3W – 2L
  • 3.86 ERA
  • 37.0 IP
  • 1.58 WHIP
  • RATE STATS:
    • 10.13 K/9 (2.97 higher than at Oxford)
    • 5.30 BB/9 
    • 0.29 HR/9 (!)

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Logan knew that he had the skills to play on the highest level and refused to quit. At the end of the year, while playing Winter League Ball, Gillaspie finally got his big break. He was signed to Eastside Diamondhoppers (you can see the frog on his hat below) in The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) where his craft has been taken to new heights.


BIG BREAK IN USPBL

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The USPBL is also where he met Justin Orenduff and began utilizing his throwing and arm care program:

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The respect clearly goes both ways:

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In that All-Star game, Gillaspie’s extensive skillset seemed to crystallize. After a lifetime of immersion in baseball, his moment had finally arrived:

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BECOMING A BREWER

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At this point, the stars seemed to align for the budding phenom. Not only was Gillaspie relentlessly pursuing his dream and working on his craft, but his arm had been getting stronger. The transformation from an 88 mph throwing catcher to a 97 mph fireball spitting hurler was complete.

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  • Only allowing 0.205 AVG with a 0.98 WHIP!
  • He is forcing a lot of sub-optimal contact:
  • Minor League Stats Projected Over 220 Innings:
    • 0W – 0L
    • 3.26 ERA
    • 220.0 IP
    • 0.98 WHIP
    • RATE STATS:
      • 7.45 K/9
      • 1.86 BB/9
      • ZERO Home Runs allowed (!); there is a theme here…

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The Brewers gave Gillaspie another confidence boost when they called him up to Helena (Rookie Ball) from The AZL after just 3.1 innings. The kid from Bakersfield does not plan on stopping there, either:

“I hope to start at high A (Carolina Mudcats), grind hard and make it to AA (Biloxi Shuckers) but of course that’s not my call.  I’m 22 so I want each outing to be a solid showing.”


GILLASPIE’S NEXT STEPS…

Most 22-year-olds would not have the maturity to consider the mental and artistic elements of pitching. That is not the case with Gillaspie:

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The up-and-comer is not limiting himself, either. Instead of just focusing on one or two facets of his game, Gillaspie is trying to get better at, well… everything:

Screen-Shot-2019-03-16-at-7.59.24-PM.pngWhen BREW MATHs tried to get Gillaspie to hint at perceived weaknesses, he responded by saying, “I’m confident in throwing any pitch in any count.”

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You start to understand his confidence once you realize his fastball velocity is in the mid-90’s and still gaining steam…

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Gillaspie and his family have been “all in” since day one… well, since he was 12-years-old anyway. He has traveled wherever baseball has taken him and his support structure has risen to meet the challenge. The catcher-turned-pitcher prospect is learning his new position fast. The fact that he has increased his fastball velocity by 9 mph (up to 97!) in just a couple of years, suggests The Brewers are really onto something. The kid from Bakersfield has overcome the odds, time and again, surviving a $50 / week salary while playing independent ball. He clearly is not giving up and has shown that he can adapt in order to survive.

Logan Gillaspie is not someone to bet against… He has the grit of a catcher, the intensity of a closer and the skill to do both… very well. Whether it is a pop-time of 1.8 or a fastball of 97, the numbers start to blur. After talking with Logan, you can’t help but feel like a fan. He’s polite, humble, determined and comes across as highly genuine. If he keeps improving at the rate he has been, the prospect will be ‘singing songs of good cheer’ very soon. Whether he starts the year a Timber Rattler or a Mudcat, Gillaspie knows it is time to roll the barrel…

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Highlights from Gillaspie’s second (and final) year at Oxnard College…