LOS ANGELES -- AJ Alexy is eager to become known as a Dodger, and not just the kid who threw 164 pitches one game.The Dodgers selected the Pennsylvania right-hander in the 11th round of the 2016 Draft on Saturday, and he said he'll be passing on his commitment to Radford
LOS ANGELES -- AJ Alexy is eager to become known as a Dodger, and not just the kid who threw 164 pitches one game.
The Dodgers selected the Pennsylvania right-hander in the 11th round of the 2016 Draft on Saturday, and he said he'll be passing on his commitment to Radford University with an agreement imminent to turn professional.
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Alexy is probably the most infamous high school pitcher in the Draft, having triggered a firestorm of criticism for his coach when he threw that 164-pitch, nine-inning complete game last month for Twin Valley High School in Elverson.
"I know 164 pitches is unbelievably crazy for an 18-year-old to be throwing," said Alexy. "It was one of those games, my arm felt great, almost seemed like my velocity was the same or increasing throughout the game. My offspeed was working and I kept their team off balance the whole nine innings."
That said, Alexy became a poster boy for young pitcher arm abuse, to the point that his talent as a prospect took a back seat to the potential for injury. He said he came out of that start uninjured, even if his velocity dipped two miles an hour after that start.
"I feel perfectly fine," said Alexy. "I know my coach got a lot of heat from it, and I really feel bad for that. He asked me every inning if I was OK and I told him to give me the ball, I want to compete; that's my idea behind the 164 pitches."
Alexy said if he had to do it over, "I would have probably stayed under 120 pitches, if that."
The Dodgers had scout Rich DeLucia following Alexy all season, including the 164-pitch start.
"That wasn't our favorite moment of the year," said scouting director Billy Gasparino. "Our guy at the game was in disbelief. But we talked to the kid, he's competitive and gets caught up in the moment and he just wants to win, and it's tough to say no and you don't really know any better. Luckily, it only happened once."
Alexy suspects that the negative publicity might have scared teams away from picking him higher.
"It was decently concerning," he said. "I expected to go in the higher rounds, but now it couldn't have turned out any better. At the time, part of me thought it did affect [the Draft]. And then as I went to workouts for teams I always got that brought up, but the ending part was, at least we know you're a competitor. There were good ways to look at it and bad ways, but if it did hurt me in the Draft, it wasn't a lot."
It sure didn't scare away the Dodgers.
"We think he has a ton of talent," Gasparino said. "This is similar to our 11th-round pick last year, high school pitcher Imani Abdullah [who signed for $647,500].
"A.J. is 6-3, a lean right-hander who spins the ball and has a lot of projection."
Alexy pointed out that he was an undersized (5-foot-6, 120 pound) wrestler when he started high school, sprouted up and played catcher until transitioning to pitching in the middle of his junior season.
"My arm is fresh," he said.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.