The 3rd Man In

CJ Van Eyk bursts onto the scene

CJ Van Eyk

CJ Van Eyk, a senior prep right-handed pitcher from Florida, earned a selection to the USA Baseball team last fall. A 6-foot-2, 200-pound hurler, Van Eyk quickly made an impact during Team USA’s week-long trials, coming on in relief and striking out eight batters in three innings.

With an impressive performance in the trials, Van Eyk secured a spot on the final 20-man roster for the USA Baseball 18U national team, after 40 players competed for a roster spot.

Van Eyke appeared in two games on the mound for Team USA, posting a 1.12 ERA and six strikeouts in eight innings, as the 18U national team won the gold medal over Cuba in 2016.

“Team USA was my favorite baseball experience in my life,” Van Eyk said. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was definitely an experience in its own. Playing with kids from all across the country and we came together really quick. We were able to gel together and come out with the gold medal.”

Van Eyke is an intriguing and skilled prep right-hander who has a bright future ahead. A Florida State University commit, he will have a shot at pursuing a career in professional baseball this June.

Baseball America ranks the well-regarded prep Florida hurler as the 56th-best prospect in June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft class.

Even with the draft rapidly approaching, Van Eyke is trying his best not to worry about his future.

“I just try to keep everything in perspective and take everything one step at a time,” said Van Eyke. “Let the chips fall where they fall.”

Van Eyke has shown a promising three-pitch repertoire, featuring a fastball, curveball and changeup. His low-90s fastball is his best pitch and sets up his outpitch, which is his devastating 11-to-5 curveball.

“Fastball command is my biggest strength,” Van Eyke said. “Now that I’ve gotten stronger since last summer, I think I’ve added some velocity to it that has helped me a lot.”

While Van Eyke believes his ability to locate his fastball is his best asset, he hopes to show improvement with his No. 1 offering this spring.

“I definitely want to keep climbing with my fastball velocity,” Van Eyke said. “In my opinion, there’s no celling there as long as the coaching is good and they can help you out. You can just keep getting velocity.

“I also want to add to my pitchability and want to be a smarter pitcher.”

A senior at Steinbrenner High School in Lutz, Fla., Van Eyk is trying to enjoy his final season of high school baseball and make an impact on the mound and in the batter’s box for his team this spring.

“I like to think I’m a good hitter, but I don’t really hit,” he said. “Obviously, I’m a pitcher. My goal was to hit a home run this season, and I did that.”

Find more MLB Draft coverage here

READ: 2017 MLB Draft: Profiles on top prospects

READ: The3rdManIn.com’s MLB Draft prospect history

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