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Holland goes from Redcliffe to San Diego
Wayne Heming
17:26 AEST Wed Nov 28 2012

Major League's latest young signing Sam Holland could be baseball's version of cricket's freakish leg-spinner Shane Warne.

At 196cm, the athletic teenager pitches a baseball like Jeff Thomson flung a cricket ball.

More importantly, he can move it through the air.

It's why the San Diego Padres moved quicker than one of the 18 year-old's 141km/h fast balls to get his signature before anyone else.

Holland's father Paul, who coached him during his younger days, says his son's slider can move more than a metre from left to right and drop suddenly.

"It's just scary how much it moves which was one of the things that excited them (Padres)," said Holland snr.

"It's like a vicious Shane Warne leg break, that's what it is."

Holland is not your regular pitcher who releases the ball above the shoulder from a squarer stance on the mound.

He pitches from the side with an action that allows him to put more work on his slider and fast balls.

The fact he can hit the ball out of the park (he has a grand slam home run at the national titles) and can round bases like a sprinter, impressed the Padres who scouted him during the under 18 AAA world championships in Seoul in September.

Australia were unlucky to miss the top four in Seoul but Holland stood out, finishing with the best ERA of the Australian pitchers, playing four of the six games.

He gave up just one run, in Australia's last game and did not concede a walk during the entire tournament.

Because of his height, Holland dabbled with rugby union, basketball and even volleyball at school but always came back to his first love, baseball, which he started playing at age five.

"When I pitch I'm up on the mound and it feels like I am in control of the game and the whole game is riding on how I go," Holland told AAP.

"I thrive on the pressure of that."

Holland's fast ball is currently clocked at 88 miles an hour (140-41 kilometres per hour) which he probably needs to get to 90 to 91 miles an hour, making him a valuable asset to any ball club.

"An extra three or four miles an hour is a lot of speed over such a short distance but that is the goal," he said.

While Major League clubs have signed Australian talent to six figure contracts before, Holland's package contains an educational component no matter what unfolds in the US.

At this stage he will head over to Arizona for spring training in March.

But if he continues dominating his Brisbane League like he did last weekend for the Redcliffe Padres with 11 strike outs in five innings pitched, the 'other' Padres may come calling earlier than expected.


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