A year after signing with the Red Sox, Jamie Callahan has pretty much the same level of professional experience as the 2013 Draft picks joining him on short-season Lowell.
You wouldn't know it by the way he pitched Friday night.
Callahan allowed a hit and two walks while striking out three over five innings in his New York-Penn League debut as the Spinners blanked visiting Tri-City, 4-0.
It was an impressive performance by of the 18-year-old right-hander, one of the youngest players selected when the Red Sox took him in the second round of the 2012 Draft.
"I was just attacking the zone with my fastball and got the changeup working in the second, third inning. So I got that rolling early and was just able to attack the bottom half of the zone, lived and died with the fastball," Callahan said.
Callahan, who also works with a curve but said it was "hit and miss" against the ValleyCats, generally works with his fastball in the 93-95 mph range, occasionally touching 96 or higher.
Working around a pair of walks, Callahan faced one batter over the minimum through four innings and retired the first two batters in the fifth before Ronnie Mitchell singled up the middle. He exited after getting Ronnie Mitchell to fly to right field.
Coming out of high school in Dillon, S.C., a town of roughly 6,800, the adjustment to the pro game -- and lifestyle -- has been an interesting one for Callahan. Playing in front of spectators, he said, has been one of the most enjoyable aspects.
"It's nice to be able to go out there and enjoy it, just enjoy the fans, hear the crowd. It's a good experience and gets the adrenaline pumping through me," he said. "I love it. I love the fans. I've never really thrown, besides maybe once or twice, in front of fans. You go out there and you get caught in the crowd, especially the home games. It's amazing, there's nothing else like it."
Callahan was a force as a high school senior last year, striking out 113 over 50 innings and notching a 0.89 ERA. His first exposure to pro ball yielded a 5.19 ERA in 8 2/3 innings for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox. He fanned seven and walked three.
"You have to be more consistent with your spots [in pro ball], don't leave the ball over the middle down here," he said. "You're fortunate enough that the hitters are also fresh and just coming in, so you can get away with some stuff. But the biggest thing is location, spotting up and working down in the zone and away. Get ahead with your fastball and work off that with your off-speed."
Three 2013 selections were behind Callahan in the field on Friday. Third baseman Carlos Asuaje (11th round) singled and scored a run, second baseman Reed Gragnani (21st round) delivered a two-run double and catcher Jake Romanski (14th round) was 0-for-3.