Things have changed at a very fast pace for McDonogh's Brandon Erbe since last spring - nearly as fast as one of his 95 mph fastballs.
Erbe has gone from being one of the top pitchers in the metro area and a second-team All-Metro selection (5-3, two saves, 1.29 ERA, 84 strikeouts in 65 innings) to one of the top pitchers and pro prospects in the nation in a matter of months.
Baseball America currently has Erbe, who signed with the University of Miami last September, ranked as the 33rd high school prospect in the nation, which projects him as a No. 1 draft pick come June.
There hasn't been as much excitement around McDonogh baseball since Kenny Cloude was an All-Metro right-hander taken in the sixth round by the Seattle Mariners in 1993.
The way it's going for Erbe, he may never wear the green and orange of the Hurricanes because he would be worth millions as a No. 1 draft pick.
"If I go high, I will probably sign, but I still intend to graduate from college with a degree in business," said Erbe, who carries a 3.0 grade point average, scored 1,120 on his SAT, and plays a guitar in his leisure time.
Erbe, a 6-foot-4, 187-pound right-hander, went from throwing 83 mph as a sophomore to 90 as a junior last spring. During the summer, he consistently threw 93 to 95 mph as a 16-year-old on the 21-and-under national champion Maryland Orioles coached by Baltimore Orioles scout Dean Albany.
"I think what helped me get faster was a lot of long toss the last couple years that strengthened my arm," said Erbe, whose release point also has improved.
The demand for Erbe's time and pitching schedule and directions to the fields have gotten so intense that McDonogh coach Chet Janiga has set up a personal listing for Erbe's schedule on the baseball portion of the Eagles' Web site, www.mcdonogh.org.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime kid, a really good kid who has worked hard to get where he is, and I'm just trying to take pressure off of him and his parents [Brent and Patricia] by handling all of the phone calls and e-mails," said Janiga, who will prepare bulk mailings to keep major league teams abreast of Erbe's schedule.
Erbe's first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game will be on Tuesday at McDonogh when his opponent will be Steve Johnson and St. Paul's. Johnson is a three-time All-Metro pitcher who has signed with Boston College and who also is expected to be drafted.
There will be plenty of radar guns behind the screen that day as the scouts will jockey for position to get the most accurate readings on the two standouts.
Janiga said he doesn't mind providing his cell and home numbers to scouts to "protect Brandon as much as I can because I want him to enjoy his senior year."
Erbe said he "really appreciates" what his coach is doing and said he always had a dream of playing major league baseball, but "never thought in my wildest dreams it would get to this point."
His summer with Albany's Orioles, which included an impressive two starts in Johnstown, Pa., at the All-American Amateur Baseball Association national tournament, was followed by an eye-opening performance in August in Las Vegas.
There, at the Team One National Showcase, Erbe had major league and college scouts buzzing over his fastball, and he was named the No. 1 pro prospect at the event.
"It was pretty amazing watching Brandon develop over the summer," said Albany, who is not allowed to give an assessment of Erbe's potential as a prospect.
"He's a great kid with a great makeup, and he's only going to get better."
The scouts love Erbe's fluid delivery that makes it appear effortless as he's reaching the mid-90s. He also throws a nasty slider, circle change and curveball.
Erbe started playing baseball at age 10 with coach Frank Vellegia's Maryland Orioles, but he didn't start pitching until he was 13.
"When I got to McDonogh, I made varsity as a sophomore pitcher-shortstop," said Erbe, who was 4-2 that year for the Eagles with 43 strikeouts in 44 innings and was cut that fall by Albany's showcase team, the Oriolelanders.
"I didn't have expectations of making it that year."
That seems so very long ago.
1. Mount St. Joseph
Last season: 28-6, ranked No. 2
The Gaels are deep in pitching with Kyle Timme (7-1) leading five left-handers.
2. Calvert Hall
Last season: 23-10, No. 6
Scott Krieger, Mike Newton and Mike Dougherty are three big bats. If the pitching comes through, the Cardinals will fly high.
3. Old Mill
Last season: 18-5, No. 4
An already strong team got a big boost when speedy outfielder Derek Goughenour returned from a year at Riverdale Baptist.
4. Severna Park
Last season: 16-8, No. 13
The Falcons have an excellent blend of experience and youth with returning All-Metro choice Chris Crum the team's No. 1 pitcher and hitter.
5. St. Paul's
Last season: 21-14, unranked
After falling out of the poll last year after two consecutive MIAA A Conference titles, the Crusaders should be back with their solid pitching and defense.
Last season: 17-13, unranked