He’s an ominous figure on the mound — a 6-foot-8, 240-pounder with a flamethrower for a right arm.
But the scary thing about Daniel Brooks, if you are an opposing hitter, is the Bishop England standout is making the complete transition from thrower to pitcher.
Brooks has been competing on the national level in the elite travel ball league this summer as a member of the Canes 17-U team, and he’s been a star of the show playing against some of the top college and pro prospects in the country.
In a recent Perfect Game National Showcase at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama, Brooks struck out Max McGwire on a 93 mph fastball. Yes, McGwire’s father is Mark, one of the all-time power hitters in baseball.
Brooks was named to the Perfect Game all-tournament team, and has been practically unhittable this summer. He’s pitched in three games, with 11 1/3 innings of work. He’s allowed three hits, while striking out 15 of the 43 batters he faced. His ERA is 0.00.
Don’t be surprised if Brooks’ fastball hits 96 mph by the time summer ends. He’s registered 80-81 with his curve and his change-up is tempting at 78-79 mph, but unhittable if a batter is expecting the fastball.
“I’ve been working on all of my pitches,” said Brooks, who saw his high school season end almost before it started because of the coronavirus. “And, I’m developing a sinker and cutter as well.”
That development hasn’t gone unnoticed. He was selected to pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks ECP team at the 2020 East Coast Pro Showcase Aug. 2-5.
The players are chosen exclusively by the recommendation of Major League scouts and the showcase is for the most talented players east of the Mississippi River.
“It’s quite an honor to be able to play in an event like this,” Brooks said. “It’s situations like this when you have to rise to the occasion.”
A strong summer and a banner senior season at Bishop England could help Brooks become a member of a very elite fraternity: professional baseball players.
He’s committed to play for the College of Charleston Cougars but a lot can happen if a high school baseball player is offered a couple of million dollars on draft day.
“It hasn’t been in the back of my mind,” Brooks said of the 2021 draft. “It’s in the front of my mind.”
Brooks also will pitch in the 2020 Perfect Game Wood Bat national tournament and the USA Baseball 17-U National Team Championships. Both events are slated for July.