Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 4/20/12

Last year, Ari wrote an article about Cameron University pitcher James Rhodes, dubbing him a “hidden gem” playing away from the bright lights of major college baseball.

As anyone who closely follows major and minor league baseball knows, these hidden gems often turn out to be better than their big school counterparts at the next level, especially when it comes to pitchers.

If the start to Rhodes’ senior season is any indication, he could very well be on that track.

James’ father Kelly has been nice enough to keep us updated with James’ progress so far in 2012, and he continues to put up solid numbers:

  • 6-3 record
  • 3.36 ERA (currently 6th in the Lone Star Conference)
  • 4 complete games
  • 54 Ks against just 17 walks

Solid numbers indeed. Perhaps most impressively, Rhodes leads the conference in backwards Ks (or batters struck out looking) with 24. Whether it’s a deceptive delivery or just nasty stuff, it’s pretty clear that hitters have a hard time picking the ball up when he throws it, a trait that will only serve him well as his baseball career progresses.

As things currently sit for the Cameron Aggies, they have some work to do in the Lone Star Conference standings. They are just 9-11 in conference games and 20-21 overall. The issue is clear: an inability to win on the road. In the friendly confines of their own park, Cameron is 14-7. When they venture away from the home ballpark, they are just 6-14.

There aren’t many games left, so hopefully the Aggies can finish strong and find a way to make some noise in postseason play. Either way, it’s pretty clear that Rhodes has proven himself to be an off-the-radar prospect worth keeping an eye on.

Hopefully one of these days he’ll hear his name called during the MLB draft, and then he can show everyone what he can do at a minor league ballpark near you.

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