The 3rd Man In

Jonathan Childress impresses scouts on showcase circuit

Jonathan Childress

Jonathan Childress has dreamed of playing professional baseball since he was young. But as he grew up, he struggled with consistency on the mound and confidence in reaching his goal, he said.

With about nine months until the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft kicks off, Childress’ aspiration is looking more like a reality.

A 6-foot-4, 215-pound left-handed pitcher, Childress is a Forney, Texas native and regarded as one of the top prep pitchers in the 2018 MLB Draft class.

“It’s been just like a dream come true for me,” the Texas A&M commit said. “Since I was 8 years old, I’ve wanted to play baseball at the professional level. It’s not always been a realistic goal, but the work I put in the last few years has made it a realistic goal.”

Childress has a five-pitch mix, featuring a four-seam fastball, changeup, slider, curveball and cutter. He has a high three-quarters arm slots and his fastball tops out in the mid-90s.

Childress just started throwing his cutter over the last few months and said he’s still tinkering with it.

“When you get up to the higher levels, batters are going to put the bat on the ball,” he said. “Having the cutter to throw into right-handers has been helpful because instead of barreling it up, they are hitting it off the handle and breaking their bats.”

A senior at Forney High School, Childress displayed his skills throughout the summer, pitching in numerous showcase events. He even played in the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic, where he tossed a scoreless inning.

“It was unreal,” said Childress of the All-American Classic. “The way Perfect Game treated us and just meeting all the top guys in the country was an unbelievable experience. Playing at Petco Park was crazy.”

As a high school junior last season, Childress earned first team All-State honors, after posting a 0.48 ERA with 137 strikeouts. Childress’ teammate and best friend, Mason Englert had just as dominant of a season, registering a 0.70 ERA with 128 strikeouts and just 12 walks.

Englert is also a Texas A&M commit and a well-regarded 2018 draft prospects. Having a friend who’s a talented baseball player and going through the same process, has made the draft process even more enjoyable, Childress said.

“It’s funny because with we sat down two days ago and did the questioners from (pro) teams together,” Childress said. “We can make each other better in every aspect of the game.”

Before his high school baseball season begins next spring, Childress wants to improve his changeup command, along with refining his cutter. However, he first plans on taking time off to rest his arm.

“I’m going to start working out and working with a trainer to strengthen my body,” he said. “This season has been like a breakdown because it’s been nine months of pitching. My body is pretty broken down right now, so we’re going to build it back up. Come November, I’m going to start throwing again.”

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READ: 2017 MLB Draft: Profiles on top prospects

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