Let’s address the elephant in the room for a minute, shall we?
Yes, this year’s New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series Main Event was originally scheduled to be at Citi Field.
And yes, of course Christian Oliveira was excited to get to compete in Nashville at Shelby Park in this year’s National Combine for an opportunity to play there, an incredible chance to play in a top-of-the-line big-league park.
But, sometimes, things change. And that isn’t always a bad thing.
“After my outing in Nashville I prayed that I would get the chance to play in this year’s Main Event being held at Citi Field,” Oliveira said. “When I got the call from (FSS president and CEO) Jeremy (Booth) that I would be attending the event I was extremely happy, but nothing made me more excited than when I was told that the event was being moved to Fenway Park, the stadium I have been watching my favorite players play in my entire life. I’m exhilarated at the thought of getting out there next weekend, and am thankful to Jeremy, the rest of the staff, and God for bringing me this far.”
The Somerville, Mass. native has taken a long, but ultimately successful road to get to this point, starting with a somewhat underwhelming appearance at the Boston Regional Combine in 2021, but one where the development and scouting staff saw the projection and development potential in him right away.
-My experience with Future Stars begun the spring of my freshman year; I was a skinny, lanky kid, who was given the chance to play in the Brockton Rox stadium,” Oliveira said.
“Although I wasn’t the most impressive freshman — sitting 75mph, hitting balls 250ft max, running an 8.1 — Jeremy and the rest of the staff still took a chance on me and sent me to the Underclass Combine in Nashville. This was my first opportunity to travel far out of my residential state of Massachusetts for baseball, so I was extremely excited. When I got the Lake Charles, my eyes were opened to how much talent there really is out there. The coaching and instruction was also top notch at this event. Before going to Lake Charles I had never seen someone throw over 85mph on my team before, but once I got to play on team green I was faced with several kids running it up to 90mph. After competing hard and understandably not making the Underclass Elite that freshman year, I was determined to attend it the following year.
“So I put in the work, going from T82-T88 8.1-6.86 and putting on 15 pounds. When I got back to Lake Charles I gave it my all, and God willing I was invited to play in the Underclass Elite at the Frisco Roughriders stadium. The UE experience was one I will never forget. Playing alongside some kids that are surefire pro players on a pro field was surreal, and I can not thank Jeremy enough. This year, I worked even harder, getting my velocity up to 92 miles per hour and continuing to work on my hitting abilities.”
The work hasn’t stopped there, however. Still a legitimate two-player as a talented shortstop and right-handed pitcher — his most recent FSS scouting report confirms this in saying “pitching may be ahead of hitting based on arm strength but I would not give up on this bat and defense” — the personable Oliveira has been focusing on improving all facets of his game on both sides of the ball since his appearance at Shelby Park.
-Since the National Combine, I have been working on my explosiveness, my swing, and my pitching mechanics,” he said. “I did not run as well as I am capable of in Nashville and have been steadily working on a sprint program and in the weight room to make sure that I am continuing in a positive trend. In terms of my swing, Jeremy and I have been working together to make sure that my path is consistent, and I am creating clean backspin on the ball. On the pitching side of things, I have been working on keeping my energy moving towards the plate, and not flying open and losing the ball arm side. Jeremy has been a great guiding resource for me in these past few weeks for all of these aspects.”
RHP/INF, Christian Oliveira (@ChristianOli__) with a strong showing in game 1 of the National Combine. Fastball was 90-92 and missed a lot of bats with his off-speed.@NB_Baseball @P15Sports #WeGotNow pic.twitter.com/tuV5zhp7Dw
— New Balance 𝗙𝘂𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 (@ftrstarsseries) July 3, 2023
In short, Oliveira expects to be able to deliver his best possible performance on the big stage, one that means a great deal to him.
“Definitely the most exciting part about getting the chance to play at Fenway is that my family will all be there,” he said. “Playing so many events that are out of state makes it difficult for them to travel but they will all be in attendance watching me toe the same rubber that some of their all-time favorites once did.”
Of course, it won’t just be his family in the stands that Oliveira is looking to impress. With a bevy of big-league scouts and execs expected to back the seats behind home plate, the recent UMass commit knows there’s a lot at stake this coming weekend.
“The primary thing that I am looking to execute in front of the scouts is to command all three pitches well with good movement, and hit fastballs in fastball counts,” he said. “At the draft I will be a young 18 year old, so my hope is that I can give the scouts a good look at all of my tools and intangibles and the growth that still awaits me in the coming years.”
- Future Stars Series Regional Combine schedule revealed for 2024 - December 8, 2023
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- Inaugural Future Stars Series Showdown set for Globe Life Park - December 5, 2023