BELTON, Texas- Coming from the state of Arizona is one of the UMHB baseball team’s top pitching recruits: Cayden Musgrove.
Musgrove, who played at Basha High School and went 5-2 on the mound during his senior year, is expected to make an impact early, as part of a stacked 2021 recruiting class.
Following a season in which UMHB reached the ASC Tournament and won a game there for the first time since 2014, head coach Mike Stawski has big expectations for program in the next several years and Musgrove certainly appears to be one of the cornerstones in that future success.
We caught up with Musgrove to discuss his commitment to UMHB, his improvement on the mound, and much more in this edition of “Catching up with the Commits”.
What made UMHB the program for you?
CM: “Luckily I was actually down in Texas for a tournament this January and it was kind of just a perfect opportunity to go out and visit the school. Right when I stepped on campus I could tell it was already a beautiful campus, and a nice place, but what really did it was after talking to Coach Stawski, Coach [Mitch] Wilson and then Coach [Justin] Rodriguez, I had dinner and hung out with some of the kids on the team while the coaches just talked to my parents. I could just tell it would be a great fit.”
What have been your impressions of the coaching staff?
CM: “Coaching staff has been great, starting with the first email from Coach Stawski. One thing I really like is that he is the pitching coach so I feel like he’s going to bring a lot to me specifically as a pitcher. I also really liked the success he had over at Concordia-Chicago, and I’ve seen what he can do with the team. I’m really looking forward to it.”
How have you improved your velocity over the course of your high school career, as you are now touching 88 mph?
CM: “So I never used to be a pitcher until I started pitching halfway through my sophomore year of high school. I was almost cut from my team my junior year because I was throwing maybe 77, so Covid actually kind of helped me. I was able to get into the weight room heavy and see my pitching coach about once a week. That is when I made my big jump. I’ve been doing the same thing this summer. I’m actually not pitching with a collegiate summer ball team. I’ve been in the weight room every single day with my pitching coach, just trying to get healthy before the fall.”
Your fastball has high velocity, but what have been some other pitches you have been working on recently?
CM: “My curveball has gotten tremendously better. That has been my payoff pitch. And more recently, I’ve been working on my changeup to hopefully get it game-ready by this year.”
You played your high school baseball for Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona. What was the competition level like there?
CM: “I’d say that my school, Basha High School, is in one of the most competitive conferences for high school baseball. Our teams that we played twice in our conference were Brophy, who is a really good private school, Perry, Chandler, and then Hamilton, who was top-five nationally for this entire year. So every game I pitched, I would face LSU commits, UCLA commits, TCU commits, New Mexico commits. There was definitely high level competition on every team [that I pitched against].”
How do you think facing that high competition will help you as you transition to the college level?
CM: “I definitely think it made me focus in more, because I knew if I didn’t make this pitch, I’d be in trouble. So it made me not get lazy, which I think is going to help me at the college level because I already know what to expect.”
You said your favorite MLB player is Javier Baez, the shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. How did he become your favorite player?
CM: “I was born in Michigan, and both my parents grew up right across the lake from Chicago. So my dad has always been a Bears, Cubs, Blackhawks fan, and kind of brought me up as a Cubs fan. But more recently, when I’ve been able to watch him, I really like the intensity and the fun he brings to the game.”
This might be a hard one to answer, but do you have some goals for your time at UMHB, whether that be for your first year, or your entire college career?
CM: “Next year I’m going to definitely come in, and try to make a big impact as a freshman. I want to help the team in whatever way possible. Whether that means being a starter, or coming out of the bullpen. I also want to focus on academics and make sure I get my degree while I’m there, and hopefully go on to play pro ball.”