So, the junior right-hander on the John Adams baseball team pulled out his cellphone and started dialing. First, he called his brother, Jesse, a starting pitcher for Florida A&M, then he dialed up pitcher Pedro Beato, a friend from Youth Service travel ball who plays in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Those two were both quite helpful, but Cardenas also enlisted the help of Dellin Betances, another Queens native and fire-balling prospect for the New York Yankees.Not a bad Rolodex, eh?"I was having a pretty bad year starting off," the 16-year-old Richmond Hill native said. "Pedro and my brother really helped me a lot."Jesse helped Christian refine his change. Beato aided with hip motion and the mental aspects of the game. The training has clearly worked. Cardenas was named a preseason second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. His fastball is topping out at 88 mph, his two-seamer has bite and his changeup might be his best pitch."His arm is fairly free and easy," said one National League scout under condition of anonymity. "He still has to work to polish his secondary stuff...He should dominate competition in the area."Adams coach Glenn Beyer sure hopes so. Wood bats have put a premium on hitting and Cardenas has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the city. But his worth is not just measured on the mound. Cardenas is excellent academically, has become a leader for the Spartans and is an integral part of their charity work."Sometimes when I get his report card, I take it for granted - 'Oh, another 92 average,'" said Beyer, who also coached Jesse at Adams. "Sometimes it's complacency."Cardenas doesn't have any of that, though. He's not through working hard - with a little help from his friends."I have to owe a lot (to them)," Cardenas said. "They really taught me a lot."
©2008 Community News Group
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