Speed Is In Oraj Anu's DNA

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

OF/1B Oraj Anu (Homeschooled, FL) is a direct descendent of speed. His father played football at Florida and his mother was an Olympic sprinter. On a good day, Anu says he can run a 6.2- or 6.3-second 60. He recently ran a 6.5.

“He ran like a 6.5, but he felt his leg tighten,” Anu’s mother, Oralee, said. “So he pulled up.”

Oralee Anu, formerly Oralee Fowler, is from the Bahamas and started college at UCLA where she ran and roomed with Florence Griffith Joyner, the late American sprinter who set the world record for the 100 and 200 meter dashes in 1988—records that still stand today. Oralee Anu spent two years at UCLA before going back to the Bahamas and ultimately winding up at Florida. She was on the 1980 and 1984 Olympic team for the Bahamas, though her country joined the United States and many others in boycotting the Moscow games in response to the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan.

Oraj Anu has known his whole life that he was blessed with speed, always being the fastest kid in his grade. Now he has an Olympian to train with so he can get faster and keep his legs healthy.

“I know I can trust because she’s my mom and she knows what she’s doing,” he said. “I know if I have any questions I can just go ask her. She’s always protecting my legs because she doesn’t want me to get injured.”

Infielders have to be quick and flawless to throw Anu out as he elicits stories typically reserved for major leaguers like Mike Trout and Billy Hamilton.

“He’s so quick,” Oralee Anu said, recalling a recent at-bat. “He told me he didn’t hit it solid, but it went to the shortstop. Not right to him, but he had to go to his left to get it. He looked up and went to throw it and Raj was past the bag. If you bobble it at second, he’ll beat you out.”

Anu wouldn’t be the first with the speed of a sprinter to play baseball. Plenty of speedsters haven’t made it. The adage goes “You can’t steal first.” But Anu isn’t a sprinter playing baseball. He’s a baseball player with a sprinter’s speed. He’s a physical specimen at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and possesses a swing with quickness and strength. He shows power from both sides of the plate with more to come. His favorite part of his game is driving a ball in the gap and using his speed to get around the bases.

All of Anu’s tools alone would make him a rare prospect with his power-speed potential, but he has another little wrinkle that makes him stand out. He’s ambidextrous.

“When I was younger on the little field, I used to throw with my left hand in the outfield and my right hand in the infield,” he said. “As I got older, I realized my right hand was a lot stronger and the field got bigger so I switched it up. I find it easier to field at first base with my right hand.

“Ever since I started playing baseball, I threw with both my hands. The reason it started was because my mom bought me the wrong glove.”

He has also been switch-hitting since an early age and his mom has encouraged him from the beginning. Anu remembers hitting from the opposite side in a game for the first time. He struck out and began to cry. But Oralee Anu wouldn’t let him and now he can hit home runs from both sides of the plate.

Anu has received interest from Central Florida and Florida. He remains raw, but possesses the types of tools that get coaches and scouts excited. Just a sophomore, Anu is homeschooled and won’t play for a high school team this spring, but he will play with Florida Travel Ball this summer.

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