In the span of just 15 pitches, Illiana Christian's Carter Doorn may have altered the trajectory of his baseball career.
Doorn entered tryouts for the prestigious Area Code Games expecting not to make the roster. On July 1, Doorn prayed and set foot at Grand Park in Westfield simply hoping to do his best.
He did that and more. On Monday, Doorn received a text message from a Chicago White Sox scout saying he had been selected for the Games, which run August 5-9 in Long Beach, California.
Scouts tabbed the top 150 prospects in the Classes of 2021 and 2022, plus more from the Class of 2020. When asked if he wanted to play, Doorn had an easy decision.
“I couldn't believe it,” Doorn said. “It's an experience that I won't take for granted and I'll remember forever.”
Doorn went down to the tryout with his father, Karl, and his coach with his Morris Elite Baseball travel team, Chip Pettit. While Karl Doorn said Carter left the tryout feeling he threw as well as he could've, the news still surprised them.
Eighty-eight players from the 2017 Area Code Games were picked in the 2018 MLB Draft, and participation often establishes players as draft prospects. Although Carter Doorn is already committed to play Division I baseball at Purdue, this level of recognition is new.
“Words really can't express it,” Karl Doorn said. “We never had huge expectations for Carter moving up through the system. We never put him in travel baseball or got lessons and worked from that perspective to say we did that because we were hoping he'd get a scholarship. We never looked at it that way.”
Already at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds after just two years of high school, Carter Doorn has a three-pitch mix that includes a fastball, curveball and change-up; he's working on a slider, as well. He hit 91 mph at the tryout, up from his previous high of 86 mph, according to Perfect Game.
Carter Doorn had a 1.68 ERA this season as a sophomore, along with a WHIP of 1.20. Bobby Morris, who runs Morris Elite Baseball, said Doorn is particularly advanced for a 16-year-old.
“At 16 years old, 91 is a really big number,” Morris said. “Frankly, there aren't many 21 years olds who get up there. ... I don't know where he ends up topping out at — I wouldn't even hesitate to guess. But I think he's definitely gonna have a lot more in the tank as he gets older.”
Morris said Doorn could be a 2021 draft prospect and that perhaps four or five Chicagoland players get selected for the Games each year. Doorn's Illiana Christian teammate DJ Gladney played in the 2018 Games before being drafted by the White Sox in the 16th round this year.
Doorn said he isn't focused on the size of the stage or even the big picture of what this could do for his career. His attention won't be on the gaggles of scouts or the other top players in Long Beach. It's all about work.
“For me, it's just following the plan the Lord has set out for me, and I know that he has blessed me with so much,” Doorn said. “Whatever his plan has, he'll take me there.”