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GLENVIEW — One of the three Stadler brothers has been a pitcher on Glenbrook South’s baseball team for the better part of the last decade. This year, it has been Fitz Stadler’s turn.
Stadler’s talent level is comparable to his older brothers’. The junior’s two-seam fastball has good movement and regularly hits the upper-80s, and he also throws a 12-6 curveball. He said he has drawn interest from Division I programs — Walker Stadler played and Sully Stadler is currently playing at Indiana — and Prep Baseball Report ranks Fitz Stadler as the No. 15 prospect in Illinois’ Class of 2015.
The one major difference between Fitz Stadler and his brothers is their height. Fitz Stadler is already four inches taller than Walker and Sully. He’s 6-foot-8, a rarity in baseball and one of the reasons why he has been so difficult to hit this year.
“It changes everything,” Glenbrook South senior Paul Jones said. “The release point is further out and the ball kind of sneaks up on you — especially with his speed. When he’s on, he can really shut teams down.”
As the Titans’ No. 2 starter, Fitz Stadler entered the week 6-0 with a 0.11 ERA. He has struck out 32 hitters in 27 innings for Glenbrook South, which is ranked No. 7 by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Though Fitz Stadler’s height is an asset, it’s not the lone reason for his breakout season.
“Obviously [being 6-8] helps, but when it comes down to it, you can be a pitcher even if you’re 5-10,” Fitz Stadler said. “It’s all about your stuff, how you get it done and your mentality.”
First-year Glenbrook South coach Steve Stanicek had a positive initial impression upon seeing Fitz Stadler pitch.
“I thought he was a guy who had a tremendous upside,” Stanicek said.
Fitz Stadler is listed at 220 pounds. He’s still skinny, though — a result of growing more than eight inches since he was in eighth grade. Stanicek and Fitz Stadler agreed that he needs to build strength in his legs, core and upper body in the coming years, which would likely add more velocity to his fastball.
Another way Fitz Stadler can reach his potential is by becoming better at spotting his fastball and curveball.
“You’ll see him throw just an outstanding breaking ball, and then he won’t be able to control it for three innings,” Stanicek said. “That’s where he’s really going to make his biggest strides is when he can command his fastball — throw it for a strike anytime he wants — and then throw that curveball for strikes when he needs it. That’s when he’ll really be an effective pitcher.”