LAKEWOOD — Kyle Glogoski, the emerging Lakewood BlueClaws righthander, laughs when he recalls his start in baseball.
He grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, where baseball wasn’t the sport of choice for most. But one day when he was 12, a drive with his parents eventually led to a life-altering decision.
“My mom and dad and I were driving on a road and saw a sign that said, ‘Come sign up for baseball,’ ” Glogoski said last week before the Phillies’ low-single-A BlueClaws played a home game at FirstEnergy Park.
His parents suggested he sign up. So he did.
“They bought me a ball and glove, and I started playing and fell in love with the game,” he recalled.
Before that, Glogoski had never delved into baseball.
“I played cricket before that and had experience in throwing,” he said.
Yet he quickly became consumed with the game.
Now 20, the 6-foot-2, 183-pound right-hander was recently named the BlueClaws’ lone representative in the South Atlantic League All-Star game.
Glogoski is another find for the Phillies’ international scouting department, headed up by director of international scouting Sal Agostinelli. He says the credit for discovering Glogoski belongs to scout Howard Norsetter, the Phillies’ Pacific Rim cross-checker.
“Howard called me up and told me he had a kid he really liked,” Agostinelli said by phone.
That kid was Glogoski.
“Howard Norsetter has been following me since I was 16 and watching my progress and kept tabs on me,” Glogoski said.
Agostinelli got his first look at Glogoski in the spring of 2017. At the time, Glogoski was playing for the MLB World team, composed of players from countries such as the Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.
The team toured Florida, playing rookie-league squads from the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, and Boston Red Sox.
“I saw him in Florida, and he was good,” Agostinelli said. “He was 90-92 [mph] with a good breaking ball and good feel for a change-up, and he had a loose arm. I was pretty excited when I saw him.”
Eventually, the Phillies signed Glogoski to a $150,000 bonus in January 2018.
Glogoski had a strong debut season, going 7-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 17 games, including 10 starts, in the rookie Gulf Coast League. This season, he has continued that success. He is 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 27 2/3 innings, with 45 strikeouts and eight walks.
Lakewood uses two starting pitchers per game, and Glogoski’s future is considered as a starter.
“His pitch characteristics have played really well, the way the ball spins, the way it carries in the zone where the velo [velocity] plays up higher and the ball rises a lot,” Lakewood manager Mike Micucci said. “He gets a lot of strikes and swings-and-misses from the belt up. It is one of those pitches, as a hitter it looks good, but it keeps going up.”
Glogoski was so excited to make the all-star team that he messaged his parents, although the news was delayed because of the 16-hour time difference.
“It was like 3 in the morning there when I messaged my parents, so they didn’t find out until a few hours later,” he said, laughing.
Since he came to the sport relatively late, Glogoski is trying to absorb all the intricacies of pitching. He actually has become a baseball geek, devouring any information he can on the nuances of pitching.
“I love the game so much it has been easy to learn,” he said. “It has become an obsession, and when you are obsessed with something, you are always willing to learn all the time."
According to his manager, Glogoski needs to work on his command to take things up another level.
“He has two nice pitches, the fastball and curve, and I know he is working on the change-up,” Micucci said. “For him, commanding all three pitches will be a key in his development.”
Glogoski is hoping to become the first player from New Zealand to make it the major leagues. While he still has a long way to go, he is making progress.