Mike Bell and Pitt baseball have landed their first commitment of the 2024 class. Eli Fleming, a 6-foot-1 rising sophomore from Oviedo, Florida announced on Sunday night via Twitter that he had committed to the Panthers. The 16-year old Fleming is primarily a right-handed pitcher, but has also played catcher and worked out at some recent showcases as a first baseman.
I am extremely excited to announce my commitment to the university of Pittsburgh. I would like to thank all my coaches and people who have helped me along the way. @ELassPowerbsb @MikeSmalley23 @PowerBSB @BrianDempsey11 @Evans_2121 @Andy_LyonIV @enright_phil pic.twitter.com/n1oGIOiSZP
— Eli Fleming (@EliFleming12) August 2, 2021
Fleming is young but boasts an 175-pound frame and quick arm action on the mound that helps get his fastball up to a maximum velocity of 84 miles per hour from a three-quarters arm slot. He also mixes in a slider and changeup that both sit in the low-70s as secondary pitches.
During his freshman season at Oviedo High School, Fleming batted .270 with 14 RBIs in 80 plate appearances. He also won a pair of games on the mound and tallied a 3.57 ERA for the Lions in six appearances. Fleming did have some struggles limiting free passes and getting swings and misses. He walked eight and struck out 11 during the 2021 campaign.
It’s unclear where Fleming will fit into this Pitt roster just yet, given that he is still two years removed from stepping on campus. But by the time he does, starting first baseman Bryce Hulett — who is entering his senior year — will have graduated and sophomore Jackson Phinney — the only catcher still on the roster — will be entering his fourth year with the program.
The pitching staff is relatively young for the time being, after half a dozen high-use upperclassmen arms moved on from the program either by way of transfer, graduation or the MLB Draft. But Bell’s stable of arms was bolstered by the addition of Penn State transfer Logan Evans and four high school recruits. Baring major turnover, the Panthers will have an experienced staff in place by the time Fleming arrives in 2024.