Under Armour All-America Game Q&A: Blaze Alexander
SEE ALSO: 2017 Under Armour All-America Game Preview
Blaze Alexander is one of the more exciting shortstops in the 2018 high school class, recently setting a Perfect Game National record with a 99 mph throw across the infield. His arm strength is the standout tool in Alexander's game, but he's also an athletic defender with quick bat speed at the plate.
Baseball America caught up with Alexander—who plays high school ball with Bishop Verot High in Fort Myers, Fla.—at the W Chicago Lakeshore hotel, after he got geared up for the Under Armour All-America game this Saturday.
Baseball America: How did you get started with baseball?
I was introduced at a little age. My dad (Charles) played professionally, for the Cleveland Indians, a lefthanded pitcher (in the minors from 1988-91). At a young age just kind of introduced it to me, guided me. Everyone knew he pitched professionally, it was just cool.
BA: Who throws harder, you or him?
Alexander:I think he was 94-95. I got him beat. He’ll get on me on that, "You couldn’t go triple digits?" And I’m like, I throw harder than you everyday. I feel bad afterwards.
BA:Do you pitch for your high school team in addition to playing shortstop?
Alexander:I do not. I threw one inning, kind of just hopped in there and tried to throw a number. I think I was 93 mph at a Perfect Game event as an underclassmen. That’s the only pitching I’ve done since like eighth grade. My dad wants to keep my arm healthy. Save it until you need to show it. I'll throw a couple innings this fall to try to throw a number, see what happens.
BA: What kind of food do you eat, and how much to stay in shape?
Alexander: My dad’s a nutrition freak. Every night I'm eating a steak or chicken with my greens, mashed potatoes. Just carefully eating good foods. Not necessarily a diet, but I wake up I’ll eat my breakfast—eggs and stuff and then right after that he’ll pound me with fruit. He lets me eat junk food, too.
BA: What's your go-to junk food?
Alexander: Would fruit roll-ups be bad for you? I eat a bunch of them. I do the fruit by the foot and then the ones that roll out of the package—I pound those.
BA: How about your go-to Chipotle order?
Alexander: I don’t each much Chipotle, I eat Moe’s. I think it just tastes better. Queso is key. Throw that on everything. It’s unbelievable.
BA: How did you find out about making the Under Armour All-America Game, and what was your reaction to that?
Alexander: Actually my dad found out before me. Steve (Bernhardt) ended up calling him, somehow. I don’t know why but he gets all the calls. I don’t receive any of them. So he told me, kind of low key, like we weren’t supposed to say anything. He told me at the Perfect Game WWBA up in Georgia. I was excited. I think the end of my eighth-grade year, beginning of my freshman year was my first Baseball Factory event. I met Steve, it was actually at my local high school Bishop Verot. So I did my first event and that’s where arm strength started. I was 88 mph raw throw. It was like a big deal, had an article (written). Had a little bit of a relationship with Steve over the years and then went to the national tryout for this and that showed everyone else that I’m an All-American.
BA: Is it just natural arm strength for you or do you have a routine you go through to work on it?
Alexander: I do the Jaeger routine and the Driveline routine. So, weighted balls. My dad is always studying, so he’s a big help. When I was a little kid he put me in the correct throwing position all the time. So I’ve always kind of naturally thrown hard, but definitely those programs have helped.
BA: How did you wind up committing to South Carolina?
Alexander: Honestly it was kind of sophomore year. It was a little bit of a slow process. I started going to more Perfect Game events, got on Florida travel ball—that helped a lot. Went to the events, started talking to schools. And South Carolina, I mean I’ve known their history, they went back-to-back in 2010 and 2011. They wanted me to come visit. I went up there and I fell in love. Their facilities, I think, are the best in the nation. They’ve got a beautiful field.
BA: What’s your walkup song?
Alexander: Mine in high school, the first half was "Tunnel Vision," by Kodak Black, it got me in the mood. And when Aaron Judge started going off I looked up his walkup and it was "Through the Late Night," by Travis Scott. Perfect Game just asked us for a walkup for a five-, six-second clip and I picked "It’s a Vibe," by 2 Chainz.
BA: How would you describe your strengths and weaknesses?
Alexander: I think my most obvious one is my arm strength, obviously. I mean that’s gotten big recognition. Walking around WWBA kind of hear people whispering, "That’s the guy," it puts a smile on your face. Speed, I’m a 6.6 runner. Perfect Game put me at a 6.93, but I think I hit the laser or something. There’s no way. The speed’s there. Hitting too, just finding the barrel, that’s my biggest thing. Just keep finding the barrel as I continue to develop. I think I have gap-to-gap power already, just kind of developing home run power as I grow up. Another main thing I think is my athleticism. I think I’m one of the more athletic guys in the country.
BA: How do you go about getting stronger and maintaining explosiveness?
Alexander: That’s the hardest thing for me is putting on weight. Down in Florida you go out to the field for two hours and you’re soaked. Right after that you have to go work out. You go work out and then you go home and try to eat as much as you can.
BA: Who are some of the major league players you admire or look up to?
Alexander: Dan Vogelbach (who also went to Bishop Verot) was in the league for a little bit, he’s in Triple-A right now. My sister talked to Clint Frazier for a little bit, so I know him a little bit. Other than that, guys I look up to, Manny Machado. He’s got a big arm at third. Dansby Swanson’s one of them. I watched so many of his games at Vanderbilt.
BA: What's something we don’t know about you?
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Alexander: I was a really good wrestler up until eighth grade. Around here, northwest Indiana is I think the mecca for wrestling.