Ryan Loutos is a young man with options.
A 21-year-old senior at Washington University, he’s scheduled to graduate this spring as an honor-roll student in computer science and has secured a job with Morningstar, Inc., a top financial services firm in Chicago.
Loutos also happens be one of the top pitchers in NCAA Division III baseball. On Saturday, he allowed just three hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking no one, in a blowout win at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. The staff ace for the No. 1-ranked team nationally in DIII, Loutos is 9-1 with a 1.16 ERA this spring. Over 70 innings, he’s allowed 45 hits and 10 walks while striking out 91.
“In my humble opinion, Ryan is the best pitcher in DIII right now,” said Washington University coach Pat Bloom, whose squad is 26-3. “These days, everything is velocity driven, but Ryan can hit 95 on the (radar) gun and pitches competitively in the low 90s. He throws everything — a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball, a curve, a slider and a changeup — for strikes. And his ball has excellent movement.”
Loutos is working hard to maintain his focus.
“To be honest, with everything getting shut down last year by COVID, I wasn’t sure how this season would go,” the 6-foot -5, 225-pounder said. “I knew people in baseball knew about me, but seeing scouts at games is exciting. I’m trying not to think about the scouts or the draft; I’m just trying to concentrate from outing to outing, from pitch to pitch and hopefully I’ll be able to show them what they’re looking for.”
This year’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft in July will be limited to 20 rounds.
“At Wisconsin-Stevens Point, I was fortunate enough to work with a couple of pitchers, J.P. Feyersiesen and Jordan Zimmermann, who’ve pitched in the majors and Ryan has that same kind of ability,” Washington University’s Bloom said. “He’s a young man who’s committed to getting better. Like a lot of the guys we get here at Wash. U., he’s a high achiever. I hope he gets a shot because I think he deserves it.”
Loutos finished strong at Barrington High in suburban Chicago, earning All-State baseball honors and being named the school’s male athlete of the year as a senior.
“I had a really good senior year, but it was too little too late, so my college baseball options were somewhat limited,” Loutos recalled. “I could’ve tried to walk on somewhere, but for me, mainly because of academics, the best option was Division III because it gave me a chance to contribute sooner. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the way things have worked out.”
Loutos made nine starts and pitched in 10 games as a freshman in 2018, finishing 5-3 with a save and a 2.83 ERA. He was 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts as a sophomore, finishing with 92 strikeouts in just 71 innings. Last year, in a season cut short by COVID, he threw just seven innings.
He pitched in Wisconsin last summer, for the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders in the Northwoods League, and intends to return this year.
“The way I see it, I’m playing with house money at this point,” Loutos said. “I want to play pro ball — that’s my dream — but I also have a great job lined up in case the baseball thing doesn’t go my way. My goal for now is to give baseball everything I’ve got and try to make the most of the opportunity.”
An Academic All-American, Loutos and Bears pitcher Mitchell Black designed a website that the Washington University baseball program uses to store and track data and video information during games and practices.
“It’s a game-changer, a one-stop spot where our players can go and analyze their performances,” Bloom pointed out.
“It’s been a great learning experience that’s had a really cool impact on our team,” Loutos said. “As a pitcher, you look at the data and look over your pitch sequence, see which pitches worked in different situations. It gives you a different feel, a different perspective, on your game.
“It’s something Mitch and I are super-passionate about and it’s definitely made a difference for our team. And who knows, maybe it’s something we can continue to develop in the future.”
Five Bears named all-UAA
The University Athletic Association has named its all-league squad. It includes Washington University pitchers Loutos, Troy Bauer (4-2, 2.72 ERA) and Jared Fong (3-0, eight saves, 0.51 ERA) as well as shortstop Caleb Durbin (.357, five homers, 32 RBIs, 11 stolen bases) and second baseman Tim Van Kirk (.426, 27 RBIs, 20 steals).
It’s the third such honor for Loutos and Durbin; Bauer is a two-time honoree. Fong and Van Kirk were named for the first time.