HOLLYWOOD — One big reason Aroldis Chapman is Sylas Billie’s favorite Major League pitcher is because how hard the New York Yankees left-hander throws. He shares the record for fastest pitch speed ever recorded in MLB. In fact, Chapman has earned the nickname “The Cuban Missile.”
“He throws hard,” Sylas said.
Sylas, a right-handed pitcher who plays travel baseball in the 10U division, is years and velocity away from coming close to Chapman’s 105 m.p.h. fastball, but the Hollywood Reservation youngster is producing pitching lines similar to MLB standouts.
When he visited the ball field on the reservation in late June, he was coming off an impressive outing at the Futures Invitational tournament in North Carolina.
Pitching for the Pembroke Pines-based Elite Squad, Sylas pitched 2.3 innings, fanned five and didn’t allow a hit, run or walk. The tournament featured teams from states such as California, North Carolina, New York and Texas.
Sylas throws about 65 m.p.h. He has a fastball, change-up and cutter. Curveballs will likely come when he is older. He receives instruction on the side from his uncle Nolan Mulligan, a former star pitcher at Chaminade-Madonna High School who played in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
Sylas also receives tips and advice about baseball from his grandfather Wayne Mulligan.
It’s not only on the hill where Sylas thrives; his .477 batting average last season provides proof that he is the complete package, one which the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. is glad to invest in.
STOF, Inc. is sponsoring Sylas for an elite national tournament to be held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. When Hollywood Board Rep. Gordon Wareham arrived at the reservation’s ball park to see Sylas, the amount of medals and rings already accumulated by Sylas in his brief career served as an impressive sight.
The shiny honors around his neck and on his hands included an MVP award from 2015 in Hollywood Hills and USSSA tournament champion and finalist rings.
“That’s awesome,” Rep. Wareham said. “This is a Board investment in the future. It’s an investment more than a sponsorship.”
Sylas, the son of Melinda Lee Billie and the late Markell Billie, began playing baseball at age 4 and has been in love with the sport ever since.
“He is really dedicated,” said his aunt, Amanda Carbone, brother of Markell. “We’re very proud of him.”