At the ANNEX we are so proud when our athletes move on to the next level and reach their goals.
Matt Devlin, class of 2017 Chatham High School, has committed to Franklin & Marshall College for next fall as pitcher with the possibility of playing field position too. The lefty has been highly recruited with scouting reports noting he is a “very good student” and “does a nice job of getting tall on backside, lands slightly closed with front foot which helps create angle at release. Balance to delivery with an up-tempo release, quick and compact arm action coming through the back to a three-quarters release point.”
Coach Tim Laffey cuts to the chase, saying, “Matt has been a pleasure to train. He is so motivated and is a great listener. I can't wait to see him take his game to the next level."
His father Mark Devlin has observed his son’s growth at the ANNEX and said, “To see Matt achieve a goal of getting to the next level and realizing an opportunity to play collegiate baseball is particularly gratifying and makes me even more proud of him.”
“Plus, it sets a great example for my daughter who also has similar goals for herself. I really believe that so much success at the youth and high school level comes from confidence, especially baseball,” said Mark. “I have seen it go both ways with Matt, but he is definitely more confident now than a few years ago. Being exposed to the positive attitudes and encouragement we experience at the Annex has been great for Matt.”
Matt’s father told us that while high school and travel programs are fine for exposure, repetitions and game play; the ANNEX has improved his son’s functional strength and conditioning, areas that aren’t covered in his scholastic and club programs.
“They certainly don’t assess each athlete’s needs and tailor development to the individual. I recognized that early on and that’s why I looked to private, outside training for my kids,” said Mark. “Both Matt and my daughter Sarah train at the Annex. They play different sports and have different physical strengths and development areas that we address with Tim to make them better athletes in their respective sports.”
We are so pleased that ultimately, we played a part in helping Matt improve as athlete. We asked Matt about his student-athlete journey.
Q: What made you fall in love with baseball?
A: For me, my love for baseball has come since a young age, probably 4 or 5 years old when my dad and I started playing catch. I loved throwing things and trying to make diving catches. For as long as I can remember I have been playing baseball and ever since then I have always just enjoyed the game, because there is nothing better than the feeling of knowing you smacked the ball. Or the feeling of striking somebody out, or making that big play that turns heads.
Q: How did you discover The ANNEX?
A: We had heard about it from other athletes in Chatham so I arranged a meeting with Mickey (Brueckner). We had an excellent conversation and also met Tim (Laffey). Both have specific roots in baseball conditioning and Tim is also very tuned in to pitchers arm care and injury prevention. I really liked that and we decided to give it a try.
Q: What areas did you see the most improvement from training at The ANNEX?
A: I can throw a baseball much harder and much farther than when I started working out. My overall body, build and growth is also something that I clearly saw after training.
Q: What motivates you to put in the extra time to work on your development?
A: I want to be the best I can be on the field, and with that comes the hard part, the training, the practice and stuff like that. As my dad has told me many times, when I didn't want to go to workout that day, ‘If you want to be better than those other guys, you have to be willing to put in the work when nobody else will.’
Q: Who are your favorite professional baseball players? If there any particular player you think has a similar style to your own?
A: I like Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers because of his aggressiveness to attack batters and his curveball that I try to model mine after, and he is a lefty. I like Jackie Bradley Jr. who plays for my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, because of his unrivaled defensive abilities in centerfield, and his recently acquired aggressive attitude at the plate. For this I also liked David Ortiz, Big Papi, for his aggressiveness and clutch hitting in the postseason, but he has since retired
Q: How do you describe yourself as a pitcher? What is your approach to each at bat?
A: I try and attack the hitters and work the count to lean my way. I try to always start off with a first pitch strike to keep the batter off balance and make him feel uncomfortable. If he doesn't know what's coming or where it's going, I am already at an advantage.
Q: What made you choose F&M?
A: Out of all the schools that made me offers, I chose F&M because of the academic advantages. It was very similar to some of the other schools I was looking at, but it came down to choosing the school that would offer me the very best education.
Q: What were some of your career highlights in high school?
A: At Chatham, I had a .500 batting average sophomore year on JV, and then last year on Varsity I had 10 strikeouts and only gave up 2 hits in 7 innings in relief. I also did whatever coach asked, playing first base as well as starting many games in both right and left field. I’m really looking forward to this year at CHS and think we will have a very good team.
Q: What are your goals at the collegiate level?
A: First and foremost: Earn a starting position on the team as a freshman. I expect to play well and do what I know I can, which is getting guys out. On top of that, I would love to do well enough in the fall that I get some playing time in the outfield and hit as well. I definitely would like to keep getting bigger and stronger so that I can throw harder and be more successful.
Q: Anything else you would like to say that I didn't ask you about?
A: Just that I have worked out at other places and really prefer the Annex. The guys are great and focus on putting in the work, plain and simple. I like how Tim doesn’t smother me. He shows me what to do and expects that I follow and do what he showed me to do. I feel the difference and know I’ve gotten stronger and better as an athlete.
For more information about baseball training at the ANNEX, contact Tim Laffey at Tim@AnnexSportsPerformance.com.