For Cameron Bedrosian, baseball is a family affair.
It’s because his father Steve, the 1987 National League Cy Young Award winner is his mentor and pitching coach at East Coweta (Ga.) High. It’s because Cameron is the youngest of four Bedrosian boys, all of whom played baseball. Kyle played at Mercer and Carson plays at Georgia State. It’s because he’s been playing baseball since the age of three.
But the familial ties go deeper than that.
It was a family matter for Steve because, growing up in Methuen, Mass., he looked up to his brother Bob, a lefthanded pitcher. When Bob Bedrosian’s baseball career ended due to an injury sustained in a car accident, Steve set out to “be something special” on behalf of his brother.
And from an early age, it’s a family matter for Cameron. See, when Cameron was 2 years old, his then-6-year-old brother Cody was fighting a battle with Leukemia and relapsed on his off-therapy day.
“The doctors told us, ‘It’s not looking very good,'” Steve said. “(Cody) was rock bottom, we almost lost him. We said, ‘God, if you want him more than we do, then go ahead and take him.’ We were at the pits.”
That’s when Cameron, a carbon-copy bone marrow match, donated 500 cubic centimeters of marrow to his brother.
“The minute we said that, it’s like God said that’s what he wanted to hear,” Steve said. “Cameron’s marrow went into him, and he just started getting better each day. It sure is incredible; he gave his brother life. Cam’s a fighter.”
Now, 16 years later, Cameron is trying to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
“I’m carrying the torch and playing for them, not just for Cody, but for all of my brothers,” Cameron said. “I’m very proud of that.”
Upon first glance, you might confuse Cameron to be Steve. Though Cameron is about three inches shorter than his father at 6-foot, 200 pounds, they are similarly built—with broad shoulders and a big lower half.
“As a competitor, I think the bloodlines run right through him,” one AL scout said. “He’s an image of what his dad was when he played. Even when he’s in trouble, he doesn’t break; he just keeps coming after them.”
The first batter he faced last year at the East Coast Pro Showcase reached base on an error and moved up to second on a wild pitch. No fewer than 15 pitches later, Bedrosian had worked out of the inning without surrendering a run.
“My approach on the mound is throw any pitch in any count to any hitter,” Bedrosian said. “I give hitters little respect and go after it.”
The like-father, like-son comparisons were made loud and clear to East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach early on. In the third round of the Georgia state playoffs, East Coweta found itself in the third game of a best-of-three series against Brooklyn High. The day before, Cameron had pitched six solid innings to force the win-or-go-home final. With its pitching depleted, DeLoach and Steve Bedrosian were unsure how they would get seven innings out of their pitching staff.
“Cameron goes, ‘Guys, I can go. If you need me for an inning, I can go,'” DeLoach said. “As a freshman to want the ball the next day in a big, big situation and everything’s on the line in front of a big crowd, you could just see it in his eyes. It gives you a sense of the kind of kid he is. He’s a gamer. He wants the ball, there ain’t no doubt about it.”
Cameron has a four-pitch arsenal: A running 92-94 mph fastball that touches 96, a sharp 84-86 slider, an 80-82 changeup and a 74-78 curveball. He’s also working on a two-seam fastball.
“He’s probably going to throw a plus-plus fastball down the stretch, and I think his slider has potential to be a lights-out pitch. His changeup has a chance to be a little bit above-average,” the AL scout said.
After playing professionally for 14 seasons and learning from pitching coaches like Bob Gibson and Leo Mazzone, Steve imparted his knowledge on Cameron. For Steve, that makes comparing himself to Cameron easy.
“He’s further along than I ever was,” said Steve, a third-round pick of the Braves in 1978. “I’m not going to say envious, but I’m tickled that he’s the way he is. And I’ve got to say, he probably throws a little harder than I did at that age. It’s almost scary, but where is the ceiling for him?”
That’s a question no one can answer. Cameron said he is crossing his fingers in hopes of growing an inch or two, but won’t worry about what he can’t control. Instead, he monitors his body closely and prepares as well as possible. In the offseason, Cameron works on explosive-type movements—squats, power cleans and leg presses three times a week with Ben Green, an Olympic weightlifting instructor. He also does Pilates three days a week to stay flexible and agile.
Despite not having a prototypical pitcher’s frame, his workout routine is among the reasons why scouts aren’t concerned with Bedrosian’s size. He has a clean, quick arm and has never had shoulder or elbow problems.
In addition to his work ethic, DeLoach said Bedrosian is the complete package, an “All-American kid”—a great teammate and friend, a leader and a good student.
“When he’s on that bump, those kids play hard for him. He’s always giving everything he has, never taken a pitch off,” DeLoach said. “He makes everyone around him better. And every one of his teammates know Cam’s going to give them a high-five coming off the field going into the dugout.”
A Teammate To The End
Where Bedrosian ends up being selected in the draft is largely out of his control. But where he commits to play collegiate baseball is another story. Among other schools, Bedrosian is considering Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU and Clemson. But Cameron is in no rush to make a commitment, not for himself, but for his teammates.
“He won’t pull the trigger yet on a team because he wants scouts to come out and see the kids on his team,” Steve said. “He said, ‘Dad if I don’t commit early, those guys are going to come out and they might see one of my buddies hit a home run or turn a double play or leg out an infield hit and make an offer to him.’ That’s the way Cameron is, he’s a team player all the way, that’s the way he thinks. That’s him in a nutshell.”
Cameron said the best lesson he’s learned from Steve is that every day is an opportunity to get better, learn something new and grow—an impressive realization for a 17-year-old.
“When you take in all of what you’re getting, you take in what that kid is all about and you stick the tools in there too, he would be in consideration for the 15 to 30 range (of the first round of the draft),” the AL scout said.
While the draft is still nine months away and Cameron doesn’t like to get ahead of himself, sometimes it’s hard to ignore the possibility of being drafted higher than his father. If it does happen, Bedrosian might be the man of the house, but wouldn’t forget where it all started: family.
“We joke around about it, I give him a hard time about it,” Cameron said. “But really, I couldn’t have asked for a better father, teacher and coach.”