Hamden Hall pitcher Brandon Ginnetti, who will be a junior this fall, turned heads at the Perfect Game Junior Showcase in early June with his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame.
However, in order for Ginnetti to have a legitimate shot of playing at the next level, he has to turn his bulky build into lean muscle.
“One scout asked if I eat trucks for breakfast,” he said.
Despite the scout’s barb, Ginnetti received a lot of positive feedback after striking out four in two innings at the showcase, which featured the top 200 underclassmen in the country.
Ginnetti’s 6-1 record — along with his 56 strikeouts and just seven earned runs and four walks in 44 innings — led to the Perfect Game invite. It also sparked interest from Duke, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt. Former major leaguer Tommy John has already requested to be his agent if Ginnetti is selected in the 2015 MLB draft.
However, the one knock on the pitcher, who is also a defensive lineman and tight end on the football team, is that he needs to create more lean muscle to prevent injury. So the junior is hard at work three days a week at 6 a.m. transforming his body. Ginnetti said he replaced the bench press with a dumbbell press and that he stretches 25 minutes after workouts and 15 minutes before bed.
“I’m a lot more conditioned and I feel a lot stronger,” he said.
Then on Saturdays, he runs on a track, stairs and does lifts with a large tire.
“That’s the cardio day,” he said. “That’s the killer.”
His personal pitching coach, Dante Pallazo, said the sky is the limit for Ginnetti. Pallazo has been working on Ginnetti’s mechanics and velocity. He said his main focus is to help Ginnetti build confidence in his secondary pitches.
“If he wants to play in the ACC or AAC, at that type of level, he’s got to be able to throw a 2-0 curveball,” Pallazo said. “That’s where we’re at.”
Ginnetti said he had to do that in the Perfect Game showcase when he didn’t have the velocity he usually has on his fastball. He is usually around 89 miles per hour, but managed to pitch two scoreless innings and only give up one hit while hovering around 85.
“My confidence got boosted a lot because if I can do that against those kids without a hard fastball, I can only imagine what I’m going to do against the kids here next year,” he said.
And his personal hitting coach, former Amity and University of New Haven standout Mike Moras, said he is looking further than just next year. Moras played in the New York Mets organization for three years, making it to Double-A. He owns a training facility in Orange called “The Grind” where Ginnetti works on his pitching and hitting. He said Ginnetti has pro ballplayer written all over him.
“I think absolutely he can play professional baseball,” Moras said. “He obviously has the body and all the tools. He’s just going to continue to get better as he gets older.”
Jheremy Brown, the Northeast scout for Perfect Game, said if Ginnetti can turn his lineman’s body into a pitcher’s body, he should be able to play Division I ball.
“He’s throwing 85-86 as a sophomore,” he said. “It all depends on how he progresses. As long as he keeps working at it, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t.”