In his spare time, Ryan Platero likes to ride his dirt bike and go fishing. The latter is done with the rest of his San Benito High teammates on the property of Garret Bourdet’s parents’ property, which features a lake. Although Bourdet and Gio Giannotta usually catch the most fish—“They know all the best spots,” Platero said—Platero catches his fair share of fish.
On the mound, Platero has been reeling batters in as well. On March 26, Platero had the most dominant outing of his career, striking out 13 over 6 1/3 innings in a 7-0 win over Oak Ridge in the Boras Classic Northern California in Sacramento. Utilizing a low to mid-80s mph fastball and mid-70s curveball, Platero took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before getting pulled after throwing 110 pitches.
“I would say it was my best showing I’ve had in my varsity career,” the senior right-hander said. “I was just trying to throw first-pitch strikes and hit my spots. My curve was working pretty good, and I had good command of where I wanted to throw it.”
Did he ever. Haybalers coach Billy Aviles said Platero pounds the strike zone, is aggressive and challenges hitters. Platero has a third pitch—a changeup—that he occasionally throws with effectiveness. However, when Platero is on, he doesn’t need a third pitch, as he can mix the fastball and curve with devastating results.
Entering the week, the 5-foot-11, 150-pound Platero had made two starts and five relief appearances, often in closing situations. Against Oak Ridge, Platero felt great throwing in the bullpen, which is usually a good sign of things to come.
“Most of the time when I’m feeling good in the bullpen, it usually carries over to the game,” he said. “Everything was working for me in the bullpen (before the Oak Ridge game), so I kind of knew I was going to do well.”
Even though Platero started pitching competitively at age 9, he wasn’t a hyped-up phenom in the making. Rather, Platero has experienced gradual improvement over the years, a testament to his determination and perseverance to continually work hard and believe things would start clicking.
For Platero, things started to really click in 2017. Within the last 18 months, Platero has experienced a nice growth spurt—he was 5-6 as a freshman—which has coincided with an uptick in his game. Platero seemingly is only going to get better, meaning it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make an impact at the college level.
Although Platero has attracted zero interest from four-year schools—“I haven’t heard from anyone,” he said—the pitcher knows his time will come if he keeps delivering performances like the gem he produced against Oak Ridge. Last season was Platero’s first year on the varsity team, and he adjusted well.
“I didn’t get too many innings because we had so many good pitchers, but when I did get to pitch, I got the job done,” he said. “I just want to keep doing my job and try to help the team as much as I can.”
Platero credits his parents, Chris and Michelle, for always providing encouragement and support in his pitching endeavors over the years. The Balers entered the week at 12-3 overall and 7-1 in the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division. Platero has been a vital piece to the team’s success, and he’s encouraged by the fact that he keeps on seeing improvement in his game.
“It keeps me motivated and wanting to always get better,” he said. “I worked really hard just to make the team last year, and I know I’ll have to continue to work hard to reach my goals.”
In the Boras Classic Northern California, several Balers excelled, including Brady Miguel, Marcus Aranda, Jordan Yeager and Mason Marquez, who hit .571 in four games. San Benito lost its opening game to Tracy before rebounding with three straight wins over Oak Ridge, Palo Alto and Petaluma.
“We couldn’t have asked anything more of Ryan so far,” Aviles said. “He’s been workmanlike in his approach, and he has the proper mindset when he gets on the bump. We can put him in any time and know what we’ll get out of him.”