Duke's Bryce Jarvis reacts after escaping a bases-loaded jam against Florida State (Aaron Fitt)

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The Dazzling Transformation Of Duke’s Bryce Jarvis

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DURHAM, N.C. — Very rarely do the best-laid plans come to fruition as spectacularly as they have for Duke righthander Bryce Jarvis.

After being drafted in the 37th round by the Yankees as a draft-eligible sophomore last June, Jarvis turned down a substantial bonus offer and decided to return to Duke for his junior year, with the goal of boosting his stock into the top rounds and helping the Blue Devils break through to Omaha after back-to-back super regional appearances. He and his father Kevin, a former 12-year major league pitcher turned scout, mapped out his path meticulously. Instead of taking the traditional route and spending the summer in the Cape Cod League, Jarvis would spend part of the summer working on pitch design at the Driveline facility in Seattle, and part of the summer working on building strength at Cressey Sports Performance in Massachusetts.

The primary goal was to increase his fastball velocity, which sat 88-91 and peaked at 92 during his first two seasons at Duke. He also wanted to further improve his solid slider and develop a curveball to go along with his signature changeup, which already rated as one of the best in college baseball. I spent a day in August shadowing Jarvis at the Cressey facility, and listening to him talk about his plan made it abundantly clear that he’s uncommonly intelligent and driven, with an innate ability to channel complicated data about spin rates and spin efficiency and mechanics into meaningful results. Jarvis was sure his summer work would lead to big things in 2020.

He had it all mapped out, and it all sounded great. But it’s still stunning to see first-hand just how dramatically all his hard work paid off, and how huge of a leap Jarvis has made as a junior. …


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