Cale Lansville made the trip every summer from Colorado to Omaha, Nebraska, to take in the College World Series. Each year, he felt like he consistently saw the same team, the LSU Tigers.
So, when Lansville started going through the college baseball recruiting process, and LSU expressed interest, Lansville’s decision was simple. He committed to the Tigers as a high school freshman on May 20, 2018.
Now, Lansville, a right-handed pitcher at ThunderRidge High in Colorado, will likely face an even tougher decision in July. Professional scouts consider Lansville as one of the top prep pitchers in the country and a potential early-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
If his early-season draft status comes to fruition, Lansville will have to decide between starting a pro career or attending LSU.
He knows it will be a difficult decision and is one fellow Colorado pitchers have had to make in recent years.
Cole Winn was the top prep pitcher in Colorado before relocating to California for his senior year. Winn was a first-round pick by the Texas Rangers in the 2018 draft. Riley Cornelio also was a sought-after prospect but had a strong commitment to TCU. He made it clear to major league teams that he planned on attending TCU after high school, resulting in him going undrafted in 2019.
Last year, Case Williams was the cream of the Colorado pitching crop. The hometown Colorado Rockies selected him in the fourth round. The Rockies then dealt Williams in the offseason, along with right-hander Jeff Hoffman, to the Cincinnati Reds for Robert Stephenson and Jameson Hannah.
Despite his junior season not occurring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lansville’s development didn’t suffer. He dedicated significant time to improving his skills throughout the offseason.
“I was able to go out to Arizona and stayed with one of my buddies, Brock Selvidge, almost all of the quarantine,” Lansville said. “We were able to work out at Push Performance and throw. We were super fortunate to be able to get our work in during the shutdown.”
The one thing Lansville missed that he was eager to do last summer was pitching for Team USA. He pitched for the Team USA 15U team in Panama and won a gold medal. He also pitched for the 16U team the following year.
“It’s super surreal,” Lansville said. “You dream about playing for Team USA.”
He models his game after reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber and even features the same pitch mix on the mound. Lansville throws a fastball, slider, curveball and changeup.
Lansville admitted most believe his favorite off-speed pitch is a curveball. But that isn’t the case. Instead, he loves throwing his slider, as his curveball is not a pitch he has used a lot. This spring, Lansville hopes to show a better feel for his curveball after dedicating time to refining it during the offseason.
He attacks hitters with a closed body high three-quarters arm slot and delivery that features some deception. His fastball plays much harder than 94 mph, as he throws from a heavy downhill plane that makes it difficult for opposing hitters to pick up the ball.
His slider and changeup sit in the mid-80s while he throws his curveball from the same arm slot, and it sits around 80 mph.
Lansville, a 6-foot, 205-pound righty, has some mild effort in the delivery. That has caused some scouts to consider Lansville as a potential reliever in pro ball, but he believes he has the intangibles to thrive as a starter long-term.
Lansville grew up in a baseball family, which has had a positive impact on his development. His older brother, Reese, is currently pitching at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, while his younger brother, Brock, is a freshman at ThunderRidge High. Brock is already committed to Arizona State.
Lansville isn’t afraid of a little sibling rivalry and is looking forward to pitching alongside Brock this spring. When asked who had the better arm as a high school freshman, Lansville laughed before giving a simple answer.
“I always like to say myself,” Lansville said.
Read more about top high school and college baseball players at Baseball Prospect Journal.