Arizona State freshmen Brett Lilek recognizes that his arm strength made him a hot commodity coming out of Marian Catholic High School in South Holland, Ill. Although he throws four different pitches, his preferred method of retiring batters is pretty straightforward.
“I usually try to blow it by them,” said Lilek, who was clocked at 92 mph at age 15 while participating in Washington State’s Mariner Cup. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound left-hander was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 37th round (1121st overall) of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.
While in high school, Lilek lettered four years in baseball and one in basketball. He was named team captain all four years in baseball and earned All-State, All-Area and All-Conference honors. Lilek went 4-0 in the playoffs his senior season with a 0.00 ERA and hit .600 to lead his team to the state title.
An Exploratory major at Arizona State, Lilek chose the Sun Devils over Florida and South Carolina. Although he has family living in Arizona, Lilek said that wasn’t the deciding factor for him.
“I like the coaching staff (at ASU),” he said. “They emailed me at the end of my sophomore year, and we’d email back and forth (after that). The longer I went without making a decision, they became more and more interested in seeing me pitch.”
Lilek first caught the attention of ASU fans on Feb. 28, when his strong performance on the mound lifted the Sun Devils to a 3-2 upset win over then second-ranked Arkansas. Lilek allowed only one run through five innings of work and struck out six Razorbacks without allowing a walk.