Stacey Keeps Positive Outlook

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Texas Writer

KLEIN, TX - While a future college is still an uncertainty for large number of high school seniors, an injury helped make the decision for Otto Stacey.

Tommy John surgery on Nov. 14 slowed down the recruitment for the Klein Collins senior right-handed pitcher.

“It was devastating at first,” admitted Stacey. “I was ready for quite a few offers. When I got the news it was devastating. College coaches wanted to know when I would be better and said they would save a (roster) spot.”

It all came after interest had been on the rise for the 97th-ranked player in the state’s 2018 class.

“The majority of colleges saw me through PBR,” Stacey said in reference to the September Fall Kickoff Showcase Games. “Blinn was there in Waco.”

The interest eventually became mutual and a decision was made.

“I’ve selected Blinn as my college of choice,” the 6-2 175-pounder said. “It feeds directly into A&M which is where I want to go.”

Numerous colleges had talked with Stacey during the recruiting process, many from the junior college route selected.

“It was definitely in my mind before the injury,” Stacey said about the consideration of going to a JUCO. “I’m kind of a late bloomer. I didn’t hit 90 until the summer before my senior year and I’m only 17, so I was thinking about going to a junior college to get stronger and better.”

The coveted 90 on the radar gun took place nine months ago.

“It was at the beginning of summer at a U of H camp for the Banditos,” Stacey reflected. “It felt good to finally do it. I had shoulder issues a while ago and for me to come back from that and throw hard was refreshing.”

It had Stacey believing his dream was going to be a reality.

“I’ve always wanted to play college baseball since I started playing baseball at the age of four,” Stacey said. “I knew there were a lot of kids out there that had not signed until the second semester of their senior year, so I knew there were colleges out there looking for what was left.”

But a torn UCL changed that idea to some degree for Stacy.

“I’ve been going through physical therapy and doing a lot of band exercises,” Stacey related. “I’ve been doing small weights and stabilization exercises, just not heavy weights.”

The long process picked up this week when a light throwing program was permitted, four months after the surgery.

“It’s a pretty tough senior year,” Stacey admitted. “I was going to be the number one pitcher and I was looking forward to it. It’s something that hurt the team, it didn’t just hurt me. Watching them play, I so much wish I could be out there helping them out.”

Instead, Stacey has his sights set on working toward the future.

“I’m looking to go to Blinn, heal, throw hard and then transfer to A&M or somewhere to get a scholarship out of it after my sophomore year,” said Stacey, who carries a 4.3 GPA. “I want to get a bachelor’s degree in biology, then go to med school and become a doctor.”

There has been a lot learned along the way.

“After tearing my UCL, I realize it’s not an uncommon problem and I want to be able to help out other people in my position,” Stacey said. “It’s important to say Tommy John surgery is not the end of the world. It’s an opportunity to get better. Some major league pitchers are doing it on purpose.

“You have to learn to work muscle groups that you didn’t think about doing before. One slight error in mechanics can cause a strain. I’ve learned so much from my therapist about keep my arm and shoulder healthy.”

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