One of Arkansas’ 2023 baseball commits will be spending some time playing in a pair of Major League Baseball stadiums before the summer ends.
Waterford, Wisc., High School standout and Razorback right-handed pitching pledge Dylan Questad (6-0, 200) is one of 61 high school players that has been selected to participate in the Perfect Game All-American Game at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field on Aug. 28.
The game will be televised by ESPNU at 7 p.m. CST.
“I found out yesterday when I was watching a movie and honestly it was like a dream come true,” Questad said Thursday afternoon. “I have been watching kids from my state get to play this game like (current Seattle Mariner minor leaguer outfielder) Jarred Kelenic and (Diamondbacks’ AAA third baseman) AJ Vukovich.
“Since the (2018) class that had Kumar (Rocker) and Jerred Kelenic, I have dreamed of getting selected for this game. I just worked my butt off until it finally came true.”
But ahead of that he’ll be in Kansas City on Friday to play in an invitation-only event at the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium and also head to San Diego on Aug. 6-11 for the Area Code Games.
“I am playing at Kauffman Stadium on Friday,” Questad said. “I am not exactly sure what it is called, but there are 50 kids from the Midwest that go to Kaufman and we play each other in two eight-inning games.
“After that, I go out to San Diego and play in the Area Code games while playing for the White Sox,” Questad said of an event invites 200 of the nation’s top 2023 and 2024 prospects. “I am off for about two weeks then I will fly out to Phoenix to pitch in the All-American Classic.”
Questad got the chance to hit against Kelenic.
“He is a great guy,” Questad said. “He grew up not too far from me, just like 20 to 25 minutes. I am friends with his younger brother JT just through baseball. I actually got the chance to throw this offseason and it was just a great opportunity to throw against one of the more talented hitters in the world.”
Questad noted a visit with an old pitching coach allowed him to get better while pitching for Stiks Academy Black and Cains National this summer.
“Early in the summer I was struggling a little bit, but I recently worked with one of my pitching coaches and he told me to ‘stay as loose as possible throughout my delivery and it will come out a lot better.’ I really started to trust it and I had a little velo (velocity) jump.
“Earlier in summer, I was topping out at 93 and 94, but recently I have been hitting 96 and all the way up to 97. I am just really excited for this and I think I have prepared myself to succeed against some of these kids I am about to go against.”
Questad and summer teammate Jonah Conradt, who is also an Arkansas 2023 pitching commit, visited together in the summer of 2021 both ended up Razorback 2023 pledges.
“I went down there with one of my teammates Jonah Conradt,” Quested said. “We have been friends for two or three years…I loved it. I really just think the way that they coach and the technology they have will allow me to become the best baseball player that I can be.”
Arkansas pitching coach Matt Hobbs and head coach Dave Van Horn made big impressions on Questad.
“Obviously he is one of the best pitching coaches in the country,” Questad said. “He told us he has had so many offers to go coach for a pro team, but if he turns them down, it is because he sees something special at Arkansas. That really meant a lot to me.”
Hobbs’ mindset meshed with Questad’s.
“I like a coach that you can be friends with, but also when it comes to baseball, they are all about the work,” Questad said. “That’s exactly what he is. He is all about baseball when you get in the facility and stay in the field. He just wants the baseball team to do the best he can.
“That and how much Coach Van Horn really cares for his player.”
Arkansas had nine players taken in the 2022 Major League Baseball draft.
“They had so many guys drafted this year and not drafted low either,” Questad said. “They had some high draft picks and even Pauley Pallate, who unfortunately UCL surgery this year, Arkansas prepared him enough that he got first-round money even though he got drafted lower than he would have been if he had not gotten hurt.”