Quaker Valley pitcher Garbee lands at Akron
Quaker Valley senior Tyler Garbee knows where the next step in his baseball career will take him, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to relax.
Garbee signed a letter of intent last week to pitch at the University of Akron after he graduates in the spring. While he’s glad to have the stress of making that commitment out of the way, he knows there’s still plenty to do with his time remaining at Quaker Valley.
Specifically, multiple coaches throughout his recruiting process have told Garbee that developing his secondary pitches will be key to his success at the next level.
“Mechanics are always something you can improve,” Garbee said. “Even when you’re throwing well, there’s always something wrong with you. But really this year, it’s going to be about learning how to throw a second and third pitch.
“I’ve always had a good fastball, and on and off it’s been my changeup has been okay or my curveball has been okay, but it’s never been consistent where all three have been great.”
College coaches started to pay attention to Garbee when they noticed the velocity on his fastball at the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association Showcase last spring. According to the 2014 prospect bios on wpabaseball.com, Garbee topped out at 88 mph from the mound, tied for the fastest among 2015 WPIAL graduates and a vast improvement from his sophomore showcase.
Quaker Valley coach Todd Gobel has been working with Garbee for the past few years and has seen how far he’s come as a pitcher in that time, he said. But he knows it will take a big leap for Garbee to attain the level of pitching mastery that will be asked of him at Akron.
“When kids like Tyler go to college, they find out how important that off-speed pitch is, because everybody can hit a fastball,” Gobel said. “Having to do that and learning how to have that success will open up a whole new world for him, knowing he can’t just blow by kids and he has to have the whole repertoire.”
From what he knows of his star pitcher, Gobel fully expects Garbee to put in the work required to become a more complete player.
“He’s a gamer,” Gobel said. “He brings everything he has to every opportunity, every game he pitches or doesn’t pitch. There is never a letdown for Tyler, and that helps him a great deal.”
Before he can fully dedicate himself to his pitching craft, Garbee first must complete his final year on the boys basketball team.
Even after landing a Division I baseball scholarship, he found the notion of foregoing his senior season on the court to protect his long-term future pretty ridiculous.
“There was no chance I wasn’t playing my senior year of basketball,” Garbee said. “I’ve been around too long for that. Playing freshman, sophomore and junior year, it’s not worth it to skip your senior year.”
While some extra work on his mechanics could help his short-term baseball success, Gobel agreed that the long-term potential of Garbee’s multi-sport athleticism is more attractive to a college coach.
“Kids today specialize too much, and I think they get tired of it because that’s all they do,” Gobel said. “Kids that play multiple sports, it gets them away and gets them refreshed.”