At 12 years old, Alex Speas never imagined his baseball career would be where it is today. After beginning the sport around age 4, he quit baseball for numerous years to focus on playing other sports.
A three-sport athlete growing up, Speas has always played football and basketball, but was on and off with the game of baseball. When he wasn’t playing baseball, he was running track instead.
He didn’t fully commit himself to baseball, until his friends talked him into returning to the sport when he was 12. Looking back at that time of his life, Speas is thrilled he went back to playing baseball, he said.
“Since then I have fallen in love with playing baseball,” Speas said. “I have given up playing the other sports for baseball. Sometimes I miss playing the other sports, but at the same time I love this game.”
Now a senior in high school in Georgia, Speas has a bright baseball future, despite only pitching for the last four years.
While, Speas is committed to playing baseball collegiately at Auburn in the fall, he also has a chance at being selected in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Speas is ranked 35th on MLB.com’s top draft prospects list and has made it known that his goal is to be drafted into professional baseball this year.
“At the end of my high school year, I will hopefully go off and get drafted and play in professional baseball,” Speas said.
However, being a highly regarded draft prospect hasn’t come without pressure, Speas said.
“It has been (a lot of pressure) at first,” Speas said. “With a lot of pro scouts and attention from people it has been big and heavy on my back. But, it is one of those things that I have had great support from my parents and coaches to help me with it.”
Although, Speas’ dream is to play professionally, he also has a great opportunity to play baseball at the Division I level with Auburn.
Speas originally committed to playing baseball at Mississippi State. But, when Butch Thompson became the head coach at Auburn, after being an assistant at MSU, Speas changed his commitment.
“It was a big decision for me on pitching,” Speas said. “I knew that Butch Thompson was one of the best pitching coaches around. Once he left Mississippi State, I ended up following him from Mississippi State to Auburn because I wanted the best pitching coach.”
It wasn’t an easy decision for Speas to pick Auburn, especially receiving considerable interest from Arizona State, Mississippi State and Tennessee.
“It was very difficult because a lot of schools are top programs around the country,” Speas said. “Talking to each coach and visiting with, they have a lot of stuff that is convincing and makes you want to be there. It was a very tough decision at the end of the day.”
But, in the end, Speas said to have the opportunity to play baseball at the D1 level is a dream come true.
A 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander, Speas owns a fastball that sits in the mid-90s with life. He also throws a slider and a changeup.
Speas is also capable of throwing a curveball. But, over the last two years, he’s thrown his slider the majority of the time because he has better control of the pitch and it has more break than the curveball, he said.
At times, Speas has a trouble throwing strikes. Although, he has the potential to be a front-line starter in pro ball someday, if he doesn’t improve his command, he could be a late-inning reliever.
Control and command are two areas Speas said he is focused on improving throughout his senior season. If he is able to show improvement in these areas, he has a legitimate shot at being a first round pick in June’s MLB Draft.
Speas will be forced to make a life changing decision in just over two months on his baseball career. It won’t be an easy decision to decide between attending Auburn in the fall or following his dream of playing pro ball.
“It will be a decision my parents and I will have to sit down about,” Speas said. “I’m really big on development. At the same time, I think going to pro ball is a once and a lifetime chance. It will be a hard decision at the end of the day.”
You can find more MLB Draft coverage here.