James Raidt was hoping college baseball coaches were going to come see him play in person last spring, his freshman year at King School.
Because of the pandemic, the spring high school season was lost due to the coronovirus pandemic, leaving Raidt looking for ways to get seen.
This summer, while splitting his time between the baseball programs Tucci Elite out of Norwalk and Time to Sign out of New York, Raidt realized he did not need the coaches to come see him.
With the video and technology now available, coaches from both of his summer teams were able to record nearly every pitch he threw this summer, accompanied by radar gun readings.
The iPad video technology also allowed him to showcase his spin rate along with his velocity on pitches and get that information to college coaches.
The videos, along with playing in the Prep Baseball Report (PBR) Future’s Game, got Raidt noticed by several Division 1 college coaches.
After a visit to campus this fall, Raidt, 15, has committed to play baseball at Duke, despite having not thrown one pitch for his high school.
“I went there with my dad and just loved everything about Duke. The campus, the baseball facilities and the academics are all so great,” said the 6-foot-2 right-handed pitching Raidt. “Right now, I am just going to keep working on getting better so when I get to Duke, I am able to be part of the team.”
Connecticut is already well represented on the Blue Devils roster with sophomores Chad Knight (Westport) and Henry Williams (Darien), along with incoming graduate transfers Richard Brereton (Emory, Darien) and Chris Davis (Princeton, Avon).
Along with pitching, Raidt plays all over the infield and as a hitter got an exit velocity of 88 MPH recorded during the PBR game, the fourth highest of any player from Connecticut this summer.
Duke recruited him primarily as a pitcher.
After missing his freshman season, Raidt was able to play all summer between the two travel teams, but credits his trip to Pennsylvania for the Future’s Game as his most valuable.
“Going to play in the Future’s Game was a real eye-opener for me,” Raidt said. “I’ve always been a big fish in a small pond, but when I got there I realized how many other great players are out there. It motivated me to work harder.”
The scouting report from PBR after the game would be enticing for any scout.
“6-foot-2, 170-pound, longer, lean, wiry strong athletic frame, showing super athletic actions and movements,” the report read. “A right-handed pitcher, arm is loose and quick on the backside, working out of a high 3/4 slot. The fastball reached 88 mph, had one of the higher spin rates on both the fastball and breaking pitch. The lift is athletic, coil to it, stride is longer, gets across the body a bit. When behind baseball and slows the body down slightly, pounds the bottom half of the zone. The breaking ball is in the low to mid 70’s. The arm is clean enough to have a plus change up over time. An electric arm, should be off the board fairly quick.”
Raidt said he has increased his velocity through long toss and band work. This fall, he has begun training using Driveline Baseball techniques which have become a favorite of professional and college players over the past few years.
Raidt grew up in Stamford, playing for Stamford North Little League, and has been at King his entire academic career.
He jokes he has been at King since before he was born because his mother, Karen Raidt, is a teacher at the school.
While he has never played a varsity game at King, coach Ryan Quinn was able to see Raidt pitch in 8th grade and in preseason workouts last spring before the shut down.
“The first time we saw him, he stood out,” Quinn said. “We have other D-1 guys on our team but he’s excellent and everything you want out of an athlete. His body type is just more physically mature than other kids his age. I would say he has already put on 20 pounds of muscle since he started high school. He has some movement on his pitches, throws a good four-seam and two-seam fastball, but his curve or slurve is just devastating. Guys his age do not normally have command of breaking pitches that well at this age, but he does.”