Prep Baseball Report

Cole Sands (FL) Draws From His Brother's Success

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

RHP Cole Sands (North Florida Christian HS, FL), one of the country’s top draft prospects in the 2015 class, recently experienced a busy summer and fall season, traveling to the country to play in national tournaments and showcases ahead of a spring season that will have scouts analyzing him on every pitch he throws. It can be an overwhelming for a high school senior, but Sands finds comfort in having secondhand experience in the process. His brother Carson, a left-hander, was drafted in the fourth round by the Cubs this year and was on the national radar when he was just 15 years old, helping North Florida Christian win a state title before winning a gold medal with Team USA’s 16U National Team at the 2011 IBAF World Championship and again in the 18U World Championship in 2012.

“The way the draft works now, you really need to see it happen before you get into the situation,” the younger Sands said. “It was very good that it happened in front of me.”

Though they are brothers, Cole and Carson have many differences. Their handedness is obvious, but Carson is more laid back than Cole, who is a vocal leader.

“They’re different personalities,” North Florida Christian head coach Mike Posey said. “Carson is really laid back. Cole is really driven. He plays with a little bit of attitude. We brought him up in ninth grade because he pitched with a lot of intensity.

“Carson will come to you quietly, pat you on the back and say you don’t need to do that. Cole will step up in the dugout and set everybody straight. He’s just vocal like that. It’s his nature.”

Cole Sands was influenced by his older brother early in his high school career. Working with pitching coach Micah Posey, now a volunteer assistant at Elon, Carson Sands adopted a changeup. As Carson worked on developing the pitch, Cole was there in the bullpen doing the same thing.

“That’s one of the things my brother and I always tried focusing on, our changeups,” Cole Sands said. “I think I was in eighth grade and he was in ninth. That was the year we both started throwing it. It kind of clicked for us after about a year.”

Early in the summer, Sands struggled at the Tournament of Stars, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three in four innings across two appearances. He was looking for a little more rhythm and wanted his hands to break later so he worked with his coaches to make an adjustment, bringing his hands over his head in his delivery.

“I started breaking them up near my face,” Sands said. “I’ve loved it since. I’ve only done it like three times, but I’ve been more consistent and got more downward action on the ball. I felt like my velocity maintained itself a little better too.”

Pitching for the Orlando Scorpions at World Wood Bat Championship in October, Sands allowed just three hits in 4.2 innings while striking out 10 and walking two. He was sitting 90-92 mph out of the gate in his first outing, settling into the 88-91 range, and then pitched 90-93 in his second appearance. Now he is looking ahead to another spring season with high expectations for North Florida Christian with him and LHP Cole Ragans, a 2016 and Florida State recruit with excellent upside, at the top of the rotation.

At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Sands has a projectable frame to go with a good arsenal. His fastball can find the low 90s and he shows a sharp slider in the low 80s as well as a sinking changeup. He checked in at No. 22 in the National Top 50 and will be followed closely by scouts in the spring with a chance to top his brother as the 109th overall pick.

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