Jed Fogelson, 7, is developing into a good baseball player.
The fundamentals are evident when he hits, fields and throws, and despite his young age, the third baseman and pitcher, who plays on a team comprised of Saddlebrook residents, is already a four-year veteran of the game.
“When I’m playing third base, I try to model myself after Evan Longoria of the Rays,” Fogelson said. “My thinking is that no ball is going to get through between third base and the shortstop. I lean forward on each pitch and hope that every ball comes toward me so I can throw the runner out. My dad and grandpa hit grounders to me until it gets dark. In a game, it’s fun going for a ball and beating the runner to first.”
At the plate, Fogelson has reached base with every bat and has 12 hits. Add a triple and home run, and it’s easy to see why Fogelson will play on a travel all-star team during the summer.
“When I swing (the bat) hard, good things seem to happen,” Fogelson added. “The keys are to keep your eye on the ball and not swing out of the strike zone.”
His greatest success may be his pitching. Fogelson has already thrown a no-hitter and talks like a seasoned veteran, especially since he knows how to grip the ball for a fastball, slider and curve.
“On a fastball, you put your fingers on two seams or four seams,” Fogelson said. “The two-seamer is faster to home plate and rises. The four-seamer doesn't go as fast, but it has more movement. On a slider, you grip the ball more with the middle finger to give it more spin and movement. The slider you throw like a football. A curve ball is more of a snap motion.”
Fogelson is also a student of the game. He has memorized the World Series results for the past 50 years, read the biographies of some of the game's greatest players and even watched TV documentaries about baseball.
“I have always loved to read and baseball history is my favorite subject,” Fogelson said.
Fogelson, who will attend his third summer camp over the break, is also an accomplished golfer and a consistent hitter of his woods and iron. But he has an uncanny ability to keep the ball in play and out of the hazards.
But for Fogelson, baseball is his first love. It shows when, on a recent homestand, he sits behind the Tampa Bay Rays dugout, studying the pitchers and infielders, including one in particular: Longoria.
“That’s my hero,” Fogelson said.