RHP, South Mountain CC
Matt Elliot was feeling stuck the summer before his senior year of high school back in 2021, so he decided to take a spontaneous trip to Seattle and visit Driveline with the hopes of getting some direction.
He walked into the Driveline facility that August and topped out at 75.2 mph in his initial motion capture. He walked out of his senior season that next spring topping out at 87 mph, and now two years out from that initial visit, he’s throwing 92+ mph.
“The biggest thing for me was that my arm action scores were really low,” Elliot said. “So we had a couple PlyoCare Ball drills that we were just hammering. And I saw good gains from that…It was the effect of having a consistent throwing program that was actually targeting specific things”
In the way Elliot’s trainer Dylan Gargas explained it, it looked like Elliot was throwing pies, not baseballs. A consistent PlyoCare Ball routine was implemented when Elliot left Seattle and went back home to train online. The right-hander was doing a heavy dose of pivot pick drills, in an effort to improve his forward rotation and forearm strength. He was also prescribed scapular retraction drills, to force his arm to reach back more, and not push the ball as much.
“He did a really good job attacking [his workouts] and worked his velo back up,” Gargas said. “It was a pretty quick climb back into the 80s.”
That newfound velocity didn’t come with the right college baseball opportunity right away, though. So in an effort to keep developing, while at the same time maintaining eligibility, and while also still playing in games, Elliot enrolled in a postgrad program in Phoenix.
He spent a semester there. It wasn’t quite the right fit. So Elliot started thinking, and the lightbulb came on pretty quick. He was already in Phoenix, where Driveline had recently opened up shop. Things had clicked the first time he trained with Driveline. So he decided to run it back, enrolling in full-time training with Driveline Arizona in January 2023.
At that point, his mechanical issues were largely in the rearview mirror. His consistent PlyoCare Ball routine had killed his pie-throwing career. So at that point, it was full steam ahead on a pretty intense velocity phase for Elliot and Gargas.
From there it became about putting trust in the process, Gargas said, something that can be much easier said than done when you get instant feedback after every throw.
To that point, Gargas hasn’t seen anyone better than Elliot.
“He has done a really, really good job of not riding the roller coaster,” Gargas said. “Because velocity is going to fluctuate, especially when you have high intensity training sessions. So it’s really easy for guys to fall victim when they see a PR one week, and not the next week, and you hit the panic button. He did a really good job of remaining calm and trusting the process.”
Elliot’s consistency and trust paid off. When he came back to Driveline in January 2023, he topped out at 88 mph. Slowly, but consistently, he started to have throwing sessions where nothing was below 88 mph. Then all of a sudden nothing was below 89 mph. Before too long, he was consistently in the low-90s and topping out at 92.9 mph.
South Mountain Community College took notice this summer, and offered him a roster spot. Elliot is in college baseball. One goal down, plenty to go. But he has an opportunity now, something he doesn’t take for granted.