New feature…Pop Up Heat!  These are guys who during a season (spring or fall) make MAJOR moves up the board and who have now garnered high-end attention from both scouts and schools.  Our first installment is with Cam Robinson (C-Rob), Soph RHP at John A. Logan.  We thank Cam for taking the time to sit down with us and share his story and journey with our followers.

A Brief back story on Cam reads like this..6’4″ two way player in high school with decent bat speed and an 89 mph fastball and decent feel for a breaking ball.  Limited interest (3 small offers) and a desire and belief that he was better than what was being offered to him.  After great thought and some trepidation, he and his family settled on John A. as his choice.  Jumpcut to the present day, he is 6’5 1/2″ tall, up to 93-94mph and has what has been described as an absolutely filthy breaking ball.  Simply put he has become a DUDE!  Offers from Big12, Big 10, ACC, Conference USA, and Mo Valley schools have come pouring in and as of this post he has now committed to The University of Louisville.  Another GREAT Juco story in the making.  Here is our sit down with Cam:

JBB:  So Cam I ask everyone this because I think it sets the tone properly.  Why did you choose the junior college path?

C-Rob:  I chose to go to Juco because I saw it as the best option for me to be successful at the next level.  Out of high school, I wasn’t ready physically or mentally to compete at the D1 level so Juco provided the place for me to learn and grow to prepare for that next level.

JBB:  OK that sounds like a lot of thought went into that.  How would you describe yourself as a pitcher?

C-Rob:  If I had to describe myself as a pitcher I would say I’m a guy who isn’t going to necessarily overpower people.  I like to rely on my changeup to keep hitters off balance and force weak contact.  Even though I’ve had a little velocity jump, I would say I’m a pitcher who competes in the zone and pitches to contact.

JBB:  Sort of a throwback thinking mans approach…I love it!  So now that you’ve committed, in retrospect, how would you say that your time at John A. Logan has prepared you for whats next?

C-Rob:  Similar to question one, I would say that Juco has helped me grow a lot both mentally and physically.  Nothing is given to you in Juco.  Everyone has a little chip on their shoulder and wants to prove people wrong.  That has helped me become a lot stronger mentally.  From a physical aspect, Juco has allowed me to better understand my body while putting on weight and gaining strength that I didn’t previously have.

JBB:  Sounds like the plan for you is working out very well.  Switching lanes a bit, I wanted to ask you if you think that summer ball helps pitchers?  Along with that, I know that you played for the Danville Dans and I was interested to hear how that experience was for you because summer ball stories are amazing!

C-Rob:  I think that summer ball allows pitchers to work on things that they weren’t necessarily the sharpest during the spring season.  You have the opportunity to talk with a bunch of different guys and to figure out what works best for you.  As for my time playing with the Danville Dans, it allowed me to put everything I worked on over the summer into a live situation.  Personally I think that, working with Eric Coleman, who is a top-notch pitching guy, helped me a lot especially from a confidence perspective.

JBB:  Sounds great!  I gotta ask you my favorite question which is, what’s your best “that’s so juco” moment or story?

C-Rob:  Oh man that’s an easy one.  The most Juco thing I’d say I’ve experienced is probably a teammate from last year having two little ducks as pets and letting them live in his apartment.

JBB: That is hilarious and SUPER Juco for sure!  We appreciate your time and willingness to sit down with us and share your story.  Best of luck this season and in the future.

Here at The JBB, we are blessed to have access to many of the best coaches and players in the Juco ranks.  It was this access that allows us to even further tell the story of Cam Robinson, as we also sat down on a separate occasion with Kyle Surprenant (KS), the skipper of John A. Logan and picked his brain on his uber-talented sophomore right-hander.  What follows below is that conversation:

JBB:  Firstly, thanks “Supe” for sitting down with us to chat about one of your fast-rising players Cam Robinson.  I’m sure you are swamped these days with phone calls and texts requesting your time or thoughts on such a talented group of players.  The first question I’d like to ask is, what drew you to Cam Robinson in the first place?

KS:  That’s an easy one.  The first thing that caught my eye about Cam was his quick arm.  He has a very fast arm, which is something you just can’t teach.  His size and athleticism definitely stand out and he has a frame that will allow him to fill out even more, but I think the most impressive thing initially was how quick of an arm he has.

JBB:  Having seen him pitch a few times I can definitely see that.  So here is an off the wall question for ya…If you sent Cam out to the mound with NO ONE else on defense what would he do?

KS:  I think he would go right after guys!  Cam has come a long way in the last year as far as trusting his stuff and not being afraid to pitch to contact.  It has allowed him to pitch in better counts and utilize his secondary stuff for strikeouts when the opportunity presents itself.  I feel he would do the same thing with nobody playing defense behind him.  He knows who he is as a pitcher and is confident in what he does.

JBB:  I’d pay good money to see that as would many scouts I’d imagine.  Speaking of knowing oneself, who would be your best “comp” for Cam?

KS:  I’m not sure I have a good comparable for Cam?  The name that comes to mind immediately is Tanner Gordon.  Tanner was also a kid from Champaign kid that pitched two years for us and was a 6th round pick last year out of Indiana University.  The comparison would be in the slow and steady growth in both of their games.  Neither one was highly recruited out of high school but both have worked hard and steadily elevated their games.  Tanner just finished his first season in pro ball and had a lot of success and Cam is getting quite a bit of interest from the high-end D1 level.  If he stays on the track that he is now, he should get his chance in pro ball as well.

JBB:  Yeah it definitely seems as though the sky is the limit for the young man.  If you were to use one word to describe him, what would it be?

KS:  Joyous!!!  The dude is fun to be around!  I could go with the cliche’ words like “hard-working”, “leader’ or “passionate” because he is all of those things too but the guy comes to the yard every day with a smile on his face.  He brings positive energy to practice and games and his teammate love being around him.

JBB:  Wow!  Sounds like he can pitch AND run for mayor.  He definitely seems like one you wanna root for!  Lastly, to give us a look at his “underbelly” so to speak, I gotta ask, what’s the most “that’s so Juco” thing you’ve seen Cam do?

KS:  Man this is a tough one!  I don’t know that I have sen Cam do anything “Juco”.  If I had to say anything about him in Juco it would have to be his music selections, but we are working on that!

JBB: Well that certainly will be fun to ask about later in the year.  For now, we here at The JBB want to extend our deepest thank you to bot Cam Robinson and his coach Kyle Surprenant for sitting down with us and shedding some back story light on one of the nation’s fastest-rising flame throwers.  Until next time, keep following, love baseball and keep it Juco.

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