Ocoee High grad Jarred Neal is the 2016 Cy Young Award winner.
Ocoee High grad Jarred Neal spent his summer as a pitcher for the Winter Garden Squeeze and recently was named the 2016 Cy Young Award winner. Neal ended the season with a 2.44 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 56 innings. Neal will be a junior this fall at Lake-Sumter State College, studying general business and pitching for the team’s 2017 season.
When did you start playing baseball?
I was young, but I wasn’t very good until he (Bobby Brewer) came into my life. He’s actually my stepdad, but he came into my family when I was 9. He was the main reason; he taught me everything I know.
When you found out you got the Cy Young Award, what was your reaction?
I was actually really surprised that I was the one that won it. I was just kind of letting it go, trying not to worry about it and see what happens. I already knew I had a good season. I already was offered, so this was just a bigger plus to end the season. My brother called and told me, and we all went out to dinner.
What’s your pitching technique?
Confusing the hitters with timing. Timing is how the hitters hit the ball solid, and if they can’t time it up, they can’t get it over.
What do you like about pitching?
The fact that I’m the center of attention. The fact that everything that I do affects what happens in the field. Everything is in my control; I know what I’m going to do with each hitter to get it in a certain spot.
What’s your favorite MLB team?
I am a Philadelphia Phillies fan. I was always a big Philadelphia fan when Chase Utley was there and Jimmy Rollins — that was always my favorite infield duo. Even though they’re past that and that was back when I was an infielder, I’m still a Philadelphia fan.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To run fast. I would want to be Dash from “The Incredibles.” If you run fast, there’s more opportunities for you (in baseball).
Who’s your biggest inspiration in baseball?
Zack Greinke. He’s my biggest role model because of the way he talks about the game and what he knows about the game — changing speeds on pitches and giving people different looks and changing timing of everything.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Never say can’t.” If you say you can’t, then you won’t. But if no one ever told you that you couldn’t, you’re going to give it your best effort.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].