Bynum stays hot in Arizona with Alaska Baseball Academy

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 26, 2014

The Scooter Bynum Show wrapped up today in Arizona with the 18-year-old Fairbanks phenom of the Alaska Baseball Academy getting another hit in his fourth and final game.

The left-handed hitter finished 7-for-12 [.583] with three walks against professional pitching during an exhibition showcase facing minor league teams in front of more than 100 scouts. He also had four stolen bases, three runs and a double on the trip.

“Now I know I can play these guys,” Bynum told me. 

Alaska Baseball Academy coach Tony Wylie knew it all along. That’s why he handpicked Bynum and two other Anchorage pitchers to join a Canadian team that he has ties to for the showcase series.

“Scooter is an incredible athlete; a future five-tool player with a legit chance to play in the Major Leagues,” Wylie told me. 

He should know. Wylie is part of the MLB Scouting Bureau.

Bynum said his success hinged on his ability stay aggressive at the plate. He’d look fastball and adjust on the fly.

“The offspeed stuff is tricky, man,” he said. “Most of the time they are just trying to get you to chase, so I’m learning it’s better to just let that go.”

As a top-of-the-order guy, Bynum was able to set the table with base hits and stolen bases.

“That’s a high priority,” he said of his base stealing. “I need to work that. I need to get better reads so I don’t get thrown out as much. I’m just trying to get better.”

Bynum will return home and prepare for his senior season in baseball at Monroe Catholic High School. He will go from facing Single-A teams for Seattle, Cincinnati and Milwaukee to Lathrop, West Valley and Eielson.

“The transition is difficult, but you just have to adapt to your situations,” he said. “It was a great lift going into the high school season.”

Bynum has already signed with Arizona Western College, but figures to get drafted in June.

Other Alaska Baseball Academy players on the trip were Anchorage pitchers Zach Ferntheil and Johnny Meszaros, both graduates of Service High.

Ferntheil also played today against Seattle and struck out four batters in three innings of work. He said his command was on point.

“Even if I fell behind I was able to battle back and throw strikes when I needed to,” he told me. 

Overall, the 6-foot-1 right-hander ended up with seven Ks in 8.2 innings. He touched 89 mph on the radar gun, Wylie said.

“Zach is athletic and knows how to pitch,” Wylie said. “He has a good feel for secondary pitches with more velocity in the tank on the fastball.”

Last season, he came out of the bullpen for Calhoun Community College in Alabama. But now he’s looking for a new school and a fresh start. That’s why he went on this trip.

“It’s a great opportunity. These coaches, their word with scouts carries some weight,” Ferntheil said. “I want to be a pitcher, don’t want to be a thrower. Sometimes I go up there and overthrow too much; that’s what kills me, so I try to go out there and command the zone,” 

Meszaros, who was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 39th round last year, fanned eight batters in eight innings. He also touched 89.

“Johnny has a live arm with tons of potential and electric stuff,” Wylie said. “No surprise if was hitting the mid-90s this time next year.”

This story was written by Van Williams, who is a freelance writer in Anchorage.