President Theodore Roosevelt famously said of his foreign policy "speak softly, and carry a big stick."
Red Lion senior pitcher Tyler Burchett could easily say the same thing, albeit a little differently.
While Roosevelt was talking about the nation’s military might in the early 1900’s as his ‘big stick’, Burchett has a different weapon at his disposal – an electric right arm.
The 6-foot, 5-inch standout, who also plays basketball at Red Lion, has the kind of stuff that MLB scouts crave. His arsenal includes a low 90’s fastball with a curve, change and a nasty slider.
Under the radar: If you haven’t heard a lot about Burchett before, you’re probably not alone. The soft-spoken standout is a man of few words.
He isn’t brash or flashy. He doesn’t throw mini-tantrums or complain if he’s not being used to his satisfaction.
Instead, Burchett just puts his head down and does whatever his team or bevy of coaches ask of him.
“He’s very humble,” Tyler’s mother Stacy said. “Coaches tell him something and he just says ‘OK’. He’s really a man of few words.”
During the summer and fall Burchett plays for Mike Chroniger’s Mid-Atlantic Rookies, a PA-based travel/showcase squad that participates in camps and tournaments all over the country.
One of Burchett’s teammates on that club last year was Dallastown’s Bryant Holtzapple, who is now a freshman at George Washington University.
“He’s had many kids that go on to college and play baseball,” Burchett said of Chroniger, who has now coached seven first-round draft picks over his 28 years. “He’s had Devin Mesoraco and the Uptons (Justin and B.J) and Cam Gallagher.”
Burchett’s pedigree is also being groomed by one of the area’s premier baseball instructors in Glenn Gallagher, Cam’s father. The director of the Gallagher School of Baseball, Gallagher pitched professionally in the big leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays.
And, like a lot of the York-area prep pitchers, Burchett has worked with former York Revolution star Corey Thurman at Backyard University.
Taking the spotlight: Burchett’s time outside of the spotlight figures to conclude in the near future.
Ranked as the No. 1 pitcher by the website Prep Baseball Report and the No. 3 overall player in the state of Pennsylvania, the Red Lion standout hopes to become the highest York County high school pitcher to be drafted since Hanover’s Mark Phillips was selected ninth overall back in 2000.
Perfect Game, another high school baseball website, rated Burchett at a 9.5 on a 10-point scale. That site states that Burchett is "big and strong with room to get even stronger" while noting he "has the potential to keep improving."
While Burchett already is signed as a highly-touted recruit for the University of Kentucky next season, those plans may change if a Major League team gives him a call early during the June amateur draft.
Burchett has already attended workouts with Texas, Kansas City, New York, Boston and several other teams that seem to have an interest in his talent.
However Burchett and his family ultimately decide to proceed this summer — sign after the draft or go to Kentucky — that decision definitely has been well researched.
“They had a big meeting with all the parents and stuff when we were down in Florida with our travel team,” Burchett said. “It was probably just the top 200 kids on the East Coast and they talked about the differences of going to college versus going pro. They went over the benefits of both.”
Shedding the nerves: With all the showcases and workouts that Burchett did prior to his senior year at Red Lion, the nerves of performing in front of scouts and high-level executives in MLB have already started to go away.
Case in point is his workout over a month ago with the Texas Rangers.
“I did the Rangers workout last year,” Burchett said. “So it was kind of more relaxed this time.”
The most anxious thing about that workout for Burchett was something that wasn’t even a part of it. To make that meeting with Texas, which was held in West Chester back on Jan. 27, Burchett had to make a difficult decision to skip his team’s basketball game against Greencastle-Antrim.
Doing so seemed to pain the tall right-hander, who has a team-first mentality.
“It was pretty tough,” he said. “I didn’t want to let me teammates down.”
He didn’t. Actually his Red Lion teammates had quite the opposite reaction.
“They all told me to go for it,” he said.