Hitting or pitching? Nope; Patrick Forbes does both and at a high level

Forbes, out of the University of Louisville, grining amidst the two-way player’s early success for Brewster. Photo credit: Sadie Parker

It’s a brisk Tuesday evening in June – a Brewster pitcher just threw two scoreless innings in a 4-2 win over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. Two days before, that same player hit a decisive three-run blast in the midst of Brewster’s seven-run sixth inning in a 10-10 tie with Chatham.

No, this is not Shohei Ohtani, Babe Ruth or even Bo Jackson, though, like Ohtani, he wears the number seventeen. This is Brewster’s Patrick Forbes from the University of Louisville.

Forbes, a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a two-way player. He plays the field and hits while pitching as well. Many players hit and pitched throughout Little League and middle school, but Forbes started pitching around his sophomore year in High School when he grew to his current height of 6-foot-3.

While most players are forced to choose one or the other and eventually make a career either as a position player or as a pitcher, Forbes, like his archetype Ohtani, continues to do both at a very high level. 

“It’s really cool to see, and also, I go to the University of Louisville and they’ve had a lot of two-way players in the past like Brendan McKay,” Forbes said. “Should be a pretty fun journey.”

Forbes high-fiving starter Sam Garcia after a strong performance on the mound. Photo credit: Sadie Parker

As a freshman in his first year at Louisville, Forbes showed promise in his 14 appearances from the mound, though had a few rough outings. On the other side, he had a solid season at the plate, batting .258 over 93 at-bats with three home runs and 19 runs batted in. Forbes also recorded an impressive .358 on-base percentage and .766 on-base plus slugging percentage.

In his last year of high school, Forbes broke out as one of the best players in all of Kentucky. According to WBKO, a local television station in Bowling Green, Forbes batted .563, with 58 hits, 57 RBI, and 15 home runs that year in 2022.

Subsequently, Forbes was chosen as the Kentucky Mr. Baseball Award winner. Furthermore, he was also rated by Perfect Game as the No. 1 overall player and shortstop in Kentucky and the No. 53 shortstop in the nation.

At only eighteen, Forbes has years to improve all aspects of his game. This summer, he’s had a solid start to his Cape League season, both on the mound and at the plate. 

The Cape has not featured many two-way players in its history. It’s still uncommon in the major leagues and college ball, even with players like Ohtani making strides professionally. 

He isn’t the first player to come through Brewster as a two-way player, but it still isn’t an easy road.

“I’ve had guys in the past, you know, Mike Ford, who was with the New York Yankees, and he’s with Seattle right now. I believed he was a really good pitcher and a first baseman coming out of Princeton,” Whitecaps manager Jamie Shevchik said.

Forbes celebrating with his teammates after a decisive three-run blast against Chatham. Photo credit: Sadie Parker

However, Forbes is resilient and plans to continue to do both going forward in college and beyond.

“I’d like to do both as long as I can. I like doing both. It’s kind of fun,” Forbes said. “If I had to pick one, I don’t know, probably hitting.”

Shevchik had high praise for Forbes from what he’s seen so far from the impressive eighteen-year-old.

“He’s doing well so far. He’s not fazed by anything,” Shevchik said. “I don’t think he’s fazed by the talent that he’s around.”

Additionally, managing two-way players can be a challenge for managers and coaches. Managing just a hitter or a pitcher is complicated enough on its own, as there are numerous factors to consider, and it can be even more challenging to coach a two-way player. However, Shevchik and pitching coach Brian Del Rosso have adjusted accordingly.

“The management part of it is basically just knowing when he’s going to pitch,” Shevchik said. “We have to predetermine when his innings are going to be because what I don’t want to do is have to pull him off the field and have them get stretched out, or get loose.”

Forbes will look to continue his strong start to the season as the season progresses into July and August. 

“It’s a good learning experience,” Forbes said. “I mean, definitely had some good moments and some bad moments, but looking forward to the rest of the summer and getting better at both.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: