By Andrew Hendriks
To borrow a line from the baseball movie Bull Durham, the majority of pitchers often prefer to “announce their presence with authority” when taking the mound against the toughest of competition.
B.J. Moen is no different.
Suiting up for the Prairies-Brown squad in the inaugural T12 event last September, Moen, a native of Swift Current, Sask., struck out five batters over his 2 2/3 innings of work. To his advantage, the 6-foot right-hander was able to overpower hitters with an 89 mph fastball, a pitch that was clocked as the hardest thrown ball over the course of the three- day tournament.
“It was mind- blowing,” Moen said about last year’s T12 showcase event. “Seeing how good those players were, facing some top of the line batters,It was an incredible experience… Hard, but great.”
Not unlike the majority of hard-throwing hurlers, control has been an area that has often eluded the young prairie- born fireballer. To his credit, under the guidance of his coaches back home, Moen has put in the work in an attempt to rectify the issue.
“Our main focus this season has been fastball command,” said Brennan Peterson, Moen’s coach with the Swift Current Indians of the Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League. “I think the lack of command just comes from being that young and that strong. When you have that kind of power, you want to light up the radar gun all the time.”
Having the ability to dial it up into the low 90’s, Moen has gone with the fastball a lot over the years.. But in order to reach the next level, the young righty understands the importance of developing his off speed repertoire. And that’s something he’s looking forward to showcasing during this year’s tournament.
“I go more Fastball than off-speed,” Moen said. ” To be honest, I have more trust in it. But I obviously need to work more on my secondary pitches and try not to rely on the heater as much as I continue to progress.”
Meanwhile, aside from radar guns, Moen has also been lighting up opposing pitchers over the past couple of seasons with the Tribe. When he joined the Indians in 2012, Peterson began the process of converting the then 15- year-old catcher into an outfielder. Since the transition, Moen has excelled with his new assignment.
“He’s very athletic, so he catches on to things quickly,” Peterson said. “As long as he keeps working at it as hard as he has been, I can see him being a successful outfielder at the next level and beyond.”
Motivated not only by his current coaches, but also by those from his past such as Neil Hogg, Moen understand’s the value of hard work. Whether it’s putting in countless hours under the tutelage of Morgan Reiter of Regina’s Inside Pitch Baseball Academy or throwing bullpen’s under the watchful eye of Joe Carnahan, Moen has his eyes set on one thing. And, simply put, that’s nothing less than making the most of his abilities between the foul lines.
Hard work has been a common theme for Moen since he appeared in the inaugural T12 event last season. And his efforts are starting to show up in the box scores.
“I’ve been going to the gym five day’s a week,” said the Swift Current native. “I have this great program that was given to me by my coaches. It focuses on running, lifting and a lot of lower body workouts.”
But while his coaches believe the 17- year- old could do some serious damage with the bat, Moen has made the decision to remain on the hill for this year’s tournament. It’s an opportunity for the youngster to showcase his improved arm and prove himself as a complete pitcher.
– Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter @77hendriks