As Miles Langhorne made his way down the leftfield line to the home bullpen in the corner of Greenwich’s baseball field, he was trailed by nearly 20 scouts from Major League Baseball teams.
As he loosened up for his start against Trumbull, scouts clocked him with radar guns and took videos of him on their phones.
Langhorne acted like it was no big deal. After going through his routine, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound right hander strolled back to the dugout with his catcher and the Greenwich pitching coach as fans lined up along the fence shouting words of encouragement.
— Scott Ericson (@EricsonSports) May 11, 2021
And the fans are plentiful, growing from the 20 parents who may be at a normal game to over a hundred when Langhorne is on the mound.
Not exactly an everyday start for a high school pitcher, but it is a scene Langhorne has grown accustom to.
“I am used to having the scouts around now. It’s an honor that they would come and see me pitch,” Langhorne said. “It’s been my dream since I was a baby to play in the big leagues and make the Hall of Fame. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do my whole life.”
Langhorne, who is committed to pitch for 2019 NCAA champion Vanderbilt, began drawing interest from professional scouts after committing to Vanderbilt and turning heads last summer at the Perfect Game National Showcase.
Prospects Live had this to say about Langhorne after his performance last summer pitching for the Canes against some of the best hitters in the country: “The Vanderbilt commit showed he knows how to pitch and his fastball had some late life to it while sitting 90-93 mph and tunneled it nicely with a big breaking curveball which sat 78-81 mph. His change-up had solid sink to it and looked nasty at times and his slider showed good bite to it as well. He has a chance to develop four above average or better pitches.”
With the scouts behind the batter pointing radar guns at every pitch he threw, Langhorne threw 97 pitches against Trumbull. He went six innings, striking out nine and not allowing a run.
— Scott Ericson (@EricsonSports) May 11, 2021
The 97 pitches were a season high for the right hander making just his third start of the season.
His season was delayed by a minor injury and then a COVD-19 quarantine, which kept several Greenwich players sidelined for two weeks.
Since returning, he has worked his pitch count up each game and is improving with each start, according to Greenwich coach Adrian Arango.
“He had injury and quarantine so we didn’t want to stretch him past 70 pitches early in the season,” Arango said. “We thought he would throw 80-85 against Trumbull but in a game like that he wanted to stay in. Even when I went to take him out, he didn’t want to come out but we were getting close to 100 pitches. We wanted him to pitch on Mondays and our schedule worked out that we are facing a big opponent on those days. He wants the ball against the better teams.”
Langhorne has the fastball in the 90s, a devastating curveball, a strong slider and is developing a change-up, though he does not throw it much in high school games since his fastball is so overpowering.
“A lot of kids just sit fastball, fastball, fastball and all of a sudden his curveball comes in and the hitters can’t adjust. A lot of times he will just get kids looking and they will go back to the dugout saying ‘what am I supposed to do there?’” Arango said. “He throws the fastball, curveball and slider and the change-up is a work in progress. As hard as he works, he’s going to get to the point where he has that change-up working and that’s going to be scary if he develops that fourth pitch.”
Langhorne’s cerebral approach to pitching gives him confidence in all his pitches.
“I try to work fastball, curveball, slider, changeup combo and try to keep guys off balance by using the slider and the curveball in counts they may not be expecting them,” Langhorne said. “I also try to build it off of my fastball. If I throw my fastball in this spot, I want to throw my curveball in the same spot and have it break out and try to get a swing a miss. The curveball also speeds up the fastball. If they see the curveball and the slider they may not be expecting a fastball. If they aren’t sitting on a fastball I can sneak it past their bat and they won’t be able to catch up.”
Langhorne gives much of the credit for his pitching development to Mike Parisi with whom Langhorne has worked since he was 12.
Parisi is a former Major League pitcher in the Cardinals organization and has developed a strong relationship with Langhorne through the years, though the first day did not go so smoothly.
Langhorne, a 12-year old kid at the time, was goofing off a bit and Parisi packed up his stuff and left.
Langhorne called him the next day to apologize and the two have been inseparable since.
“He taught me how to pitch. I got with him when I was 12 and haven’t left,” Langhorne sad. “He worked on developing off-speed and developing my fastball and my command. He got me to where I am now. I would not be half the pitcher I am today without him. There isn’t one thing I can say I took away from it. I took everything I know about pitching away. The whole total package.”
While many high school players opt for the big-time training facilities available in Connecticut, Langhorne did a majority of his offseason work at the Greenwich YWCA where Parisi runs a baseball program.
When not using the YWCA, Langhorne and Parisi used some guerilla tactics over the years to get training sessions in.
The two had a make-shift mound they hid for years in the woods of a Greenwich elementary school until it was discovered by the town and Parisi was asked to remove it.
Langhorne wanted to work out any time Parisi could fit it in before going to work as a physical education teacher at Eastern Middle School in Greenwich.
That included 6:30 a.m. sessions before school where on two occasions neighbors of the school called police to report gunshots that turned out to be Langhorne popping fastballs into Parisi’s glove.
“His work ethic for a kid his age is unbelievable. If he wanted to work out, wanted to meet at 6:30 in the morning, I would make that happen,” Parisi said. “Not only did we have the mound we hid in the woods all those years, Miles built a mound for himself at his house so he could work out anytime he wanted. He got that itch at 13 years old that he wanted to play in the majors and he has worked harder than any kid I know to make that a reality. He told me he was going to play major league baseball, pitch for Vanderbilt and he has manifested that through all his hard work.”
In the last few years, Langhorne has started training using Driveline Baseball training techniques, including using weighted balls and changing his pitching motion to be more compact.
Both Parisi and Langhorne said the change in his motion has led to increased velocity, but more importantly made him more consistent in throwing strikes and dropping his walks down to almost nothing.
“He’s always trying to evolve,” Parsisi said. “This season got off to a slow start with the quarantine but he has been ramping it up and should be throwing in the mid-90s by the end of the season. His most devastating pitch is the curveball because he can throw it at different speeds. He can throw one at 75 and another one that is heavy and down in the zone at 82. I did not know much about Driveline before but Miles wanted to do it and it seems to be working for him. It is part of his improvement anyway. He also continues to get bigger and stronger.”
Prior to joining the Canes last summer, Langhorne played American Legion for the Greenwich Cannons where he was called up to the Senior (19U) team his sophomore year.
Cannons coach Mike Abate, who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners and has worked as a scout for the New York Mets, said he could see right away Langhorne was special when he saw him throw as a 15-year old.
“Certain kids have a different level of talent and he has that. Those kids always have a chance to get drafted. The sky is the limit for him,” Abate said. “His work ethic is through the roof. He is constantly in the gym or at the field. He is doing something baseball related every day. That will separate him and is a very unique quality to have at a young age. I expect everything to keep getting better. He’s different.”
Three former Cannons pitchers have gone on to be drafted: Kyle Dunster by the Mets, Bradley Wilpon by the Red Sox and JT Hintzen, who is still playing in the Milwaukee Brewers system.
“Miles has a higher ceiling than those guys because of the things he does every day to make himself better. Not that those other guys didn’t work hard, they did, but what Miles does is unique,” Abate said. “He told me when he was 16 he wanted to go to Vanderbilt to pitch and play Major League Baseball. Every goal he has ever set, he has accomplished it. He knows what he wants and he goes for it.”