Cubs scouts Larry Home and Brent Phelan were heavily involved in the scouting of Searle (6-foot-1, 180 pounds), who became the first such signing from Australia since the off-season appointment of former big league pitcher Steve Wilson as the Cubs head of scouting in the Pacific Rim.
More on Ryan Searle ...
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What can you tell us about yourself and your journey to pro ball?
Ryan Searle: I grew up in Brisbane, Australia. I moved around a lot and changed schools a lot. Over the last six or so years, I’ve been based in Narangba. I’ve played baseball since I was 5 when I started playing for the Sandgate Seahawkes tee-ball team. By the time I was 16, I had pitched my first grade game, but it was Grade B regularly. I was never selected for a State team until this year.
Down at Nationals (the Financial Wealth U/18 “AAA” and U/16 “AA” National Championships), I just went out and pitched my own game and forgot about all of my surroundings. Straight after the Grand Final, my agent, Stuart Hanrahan, came up to tell me that the Cubs had made an offer on me. Over the next week or so, negotiations took place and I chose to sign. I graduated from Northpine Christian College at the end of 2006.
What made you fall in love with baseball?
Ryan Searle: I’d played the game since I was young and every weekend, just playing it kind of became a habit. I suppose I’ve always loved it.
Did you have any baseball idols growing up?
Ryan Searle: We never had Foxtel (News Corp.-owned Australian Cable/Satellite Company), so I never saw many games except when I would visit my grandparents. But I always liked Kenny Rogers and Roger Clemens.
How did you come in contact with the Cubs?
Ryan Searle: Just down at Nationals, one of the scouts made an offer to me.
What type of pitches do you throw?
Ryan Searle: I throw many pitches that are similar, but do slightly different things. I have a four-seam fastball and a two-seam fastball, which moves in and down on the hitter. I have a slider and curveball. I also am trying to develop a good changeup, which I have never needed up to now because of the breaking balls.
Which of those do you consider your best pitch?
Ryan Searle: My best pitch is any which goes for a strike, though I do love making the hitters look bad when they strike out on a slider. (laughs)
What is your itenerary from here?
Ryan Searle: I’ll be in America for three months with the Cubs [beginning this month] and then come back to Australia for the MLBAAP (Major League Baseball Australian Academy Program).