The 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Baseball First Team was chosen by USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Halley in consultation with high school coaches.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jordon Adell, Ballard (Louisville)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Todd Boyer, Shawnee (Okla.)
Name: Sam Carlson
School: Burnsville, Minn.
Height/Weight: 6-4, 200
The future: Signed with Florida. Drafted No. 55 (second round) by Seattle Mariners.
By the numbers: He’s 5-1 with a 0.67 ERA and 76 strikeouts through 52 innings. He’s hitting .493 with a .694 on-base percentage with seven homers and 23 RBI in 69 at-bats.
Unusual skill: I don’t think I can do anything unusual.
Best advice: One of my friends said to be yourself, no matter what happens. When that comes to baseball, that means not to change and be yourself. That can apply to anything in life. You get a job promotion and start big-timing people — that just doesn’t go very far.
Biggest accomplishments: Graduating high school, going to the state tournament last year and making the 40-man Team USA roster.
Biggest disappointment: My freshman and sophomore years of high school could have gone a lot better, baseball-wise. We had a lot better team and better players than we showed and we didn’t capitalize on anything and we didn’t bond. I felt like I could have stepped up more, even though I was an underclassman.
Nickname: I don’t have a favorite. When I was 12 years old, one of the coaches called me Yeti because of how I was so much taller than everyone else. Nobody has called me that for five years. Now everybody on my high school team calls me Carly. I don’t like it. It’s goofy and it’s weird.
Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni, no question. I love pepperoni and cheese is boring and sausage and pepperoni is a little too much.
Walk-up song: My walkup song this year was Gyalchester by Drake. I played it in the big innings. It was a cool instrumental.
First car I drove: My car that I drive now, a 2004 Jeep Wrangler. It’s nice in the summer in Minnesota. When it’s really hot, you can take the top and the doors off.
Favorite MLB player: Marcus Stroman. I like watching how electric he is with his pitches. He carries a lot of energy and is really fun to watch.
Favorite current song: If I’m sitting there before a game, probably Blue Notes by Meek Mill gets me hyped before a game.
Mistake I learned from: I think I learned that I have to be more careful up on the mountain. Last time, I was up there when I fell on a cactus or bush and had a bunch of needles in my hand, the day after my first start of the year. I was running over to my friend. I need to be more careful.
Least favorite current song: Any song from Drake’s old album, Views. I have the CD in my car. Every time I hear it on the radio, it makes me cringe because I just listened to it so much.
Favorite teacher and why: Miss (Suzie) Stachowski, my athletic training teacher. She’s awesome. She was lenient toward seniors and often times she would bring in donuts, which was really appreciated.
Longest homer I gave up: Probably last year against Eastview (Apple Valley), one of my buddies (Tommy Springer) hit a homer, down the line and it was about 350. I had to play the whole summer with him. He’s going to Missouri.
Longest homer I hit: I wasn’t much of a home run hitter until this year. Against Apple Valley this year, the wind was blowing out. I got ahold of it, dead center and that thing was gone quick. I have no idea how far it was. It was a 3-0 fastball and my coach gives me the green light in those situations because I’ve walked 25-30 times. I’ve hit, I think three times this year, I’ve hit 3-0 home runs.
Phrase I always say: Probably when I’m sitting on the bench, I’ll say thing like ‘hum babe,’ or ‘it’s going out’ — the generic baseball things. People have made fun of me for it before. It’s what I do when I’m getting a drink of water.