Exclusive: The Ongoing Career of Caleb Boushleyby Rephael Negnewitzky December 25, 2021 1 comment
Coming out of college from a Divison III program, Caleb Boushley had a shot to make the big leagues. After dominating at the University of Wisconsin-LA Crosse for three seasons, the youngster made a statement for his name. He was a part of the 2015 Division III World Series run in which he and the Eagles came up short. After his college years, Boushley was available for the 2017 MLB Draft.
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“I had been in contact with the regional scout for the Padres, Troy Hoerner, and he asked me if pro baseball was something I wanted to do. It seemed like a long shot coming out of D-III, but, there’s been a ton of guys drafted really high out of D-III. When it was draft week, I hadn’t been in contact with many teams and I was hopeful but it certainly wasn’t a guarantee that I would get picked. When day three came around I ended up getting selected by the Padres. I’m very thankful that I was able to get drafted”.
The Transition to the Minors
The fact that Boushley was in the minor leagues was extremely exciting for the youngster. The Wisconsin native wasn’t sure he would even be drafted. So the fact that he is playing professionally is an amazement to him.
“It’s really cool, I’m very fortunate I was selected and once you get into professional baseball you realize that you’re around talented players from all divisions in baseball. Once that kind of settles in, you have to realize and believe that you were selected for a reason and they think that you can compete with all of the other players that were drafted”.
Boushley had to make the transition from a D-III school to the minor league level. Although, the Eagles prepared him enough to ready him for the next level.
“My year’s at UW La Crosse I was very fortunate; I played with a lot of guys whose numbers speak for themselves and I think if they had wanted to continue playing professionally they definitely could have in some capacity whether independent ball or something else. We were very talented when I was there; from hitting, pitching alike; I guess the biggest thing was that everyone I played with at La Crosse loved baseball. The teammates were awesome, the coaches were all awesome, it just made me want to be around baseball much more. When you play professionally if you want to succeed you have to be all-in on it. I think being at La Crosse made me realize that I love playing this game”.
The Beginning of a New Chapter
Boushley started his minor league career in 2017 with the Padres 1 Team in the Arizona Rookie League. After going through some struggles, he was called up to Class-A Advanced to play for the Lake Elsinore Storm. Although Boushley only played one game for the Storm, he made huge improvements and showed why he was drafted. He threw 4.1 innings with two runs and three strikeouts.
The 2018 season was when the youngster broke out. He started off in Class-A with the Fort Wayne TinCaps. In 31 appearances, the Wisconsin native held a 2.54 ERA with 60 strikeouts. He then got the promotion to Class-A (Advanced) to play for the Storm for six games. In 2019, Boushley stuck with Lake Elsinore for the entire season. There, Boushley held a 3.61 ERA with a minor league-high 104 strikeouts. This season proved how good Boushley can perform.
2020 Canceled Season
Due to the 2020 canceled season, Boushley had a big chance to improve his game at home.
“For baseball players and everyone alike, it was kind of a weird year. They sent us home a week into spring training. We stayed ready, I lived with one of my teammates in Wisconsin and we worked out together and threw as often as we could. I missed baseball but I will say it was kind of nice to step away and make a little extra cash. Although, the time away definitely made me realize how much I missed it”.
Boushley started off his 2021 season with the Double-A San Antonio Missions. For the eight games he was there, the 6’3 right-hander held a 3.79 ERA with 36 strikeouts and a 2-3 record. Boushley was then called up to the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahua’s for the rest of the season. He struggled a bit with a 5.85 ERA with 73 strikeouts.
“Just being comfortable and knowing who you are as a pitcher is definitely something I’m learning to do. It took me a little bit at the beginning of the year: My first two outings with the Missions didn’t go well and it was kind of just getting your feet back underneath you; learning how to pitch in a game-like scenario in games that count. I think the growth through the year was learning who I am as a pitcher and where my strengths and weaknesses lie”.
Drafted By a New Team
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Boushley in the first round of the Rule 5 Draft this year. It was something that caught him off guard, but he is excited about the new opportunity.
“It was shocking; I didn’t really think that would happen- being selected in a Rule 5 Draft. It’s exciting that it’s the Brewers which I grew up following and listening to. But It’s sad to leave all the friends and coaches which I built a relationship with the Padres. The prospect of having a chance to play at home someday is kinda cool”.
Improvements for 2022 Season
“Nothing in specific, every offseason I try to remember the growth I made throughout the season and continue to build on it. Identifying the strengths you have and constantly hammering home those strengths is a big part. The more precise and consistent you can be, the better you will be. I try to be consistent with my daily work and hopefully it carries over to the mound”.
Do you have any pitchers which you mold your game after?
“I don’t wanna say I mold my game after him but I really love Kyle Hendriks from the Cubs. Hendriks is someone who I always love watching pitch because none of his numbers jump off the charts in terms of velocity. Kyle always gets outs; he consistently gets outs and he’s a classic case of someone who knows what his strengths are. He can identify the weaknesses of hitters and exploit them. That’s why I really enjoy watching him pitch and I feel like I learn a lot while watching him pitch. while he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, he is able to overpower hitters with his mind”.
Do you have a certain pitch that you rely on?
“I like the fastball; the reason I say that is because I don’t have an overpowering fastball but if I need a strike or a spot in the zone, I am pretty sure I can get it where I want it to go. If I’m backed in a corner and need to make a pitch, I feel pretty comfortable with the fastball”.
Do you have a certain mindset on the mound?
” I try to clear my mind. The more I’m thinking about the harder it is to control my body and emotions. When I step on the mound, it’s more just look at the glove and execute the pitch. You kind of have an idea what the catcher wants you to throw and you want to make it as simple as possible to keep your head clear”.
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Main Image Credit: Via MLB