From many, there will be one. While there’s no guarantee contending athletes will win their state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior right-handed pitcher, Kerman (Calif.)
Greatness Present: Armed with a near triple-digit heater, Salazar has been mowing down hitters at a furious rate in 2013.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-hander has yet to allow an earned run through 62 innings-pitched while accumulating a whopping 123 strikeouts (13.9 per seven innings) against only 21 walks. Salazar (9-1) has surrendered just 16 hits on the season, and opponents are hitting an anemic .107 against him.
Salazar set a single-game school record with a 19-strikeout effort against Yosemite (Oakhurst, Calif.) on May 3 and has notched at least 10 strikeouts in nine of his 12 appearances this season.
He’s no slouch at the plate, either, sporting a .433 batting average for Kerman (24-4) with a .514 on-base percentage while whiffing only twice in 105 trips to the plate.
Greatness Past: As a junior in 2012, Salazar posted an 11-1 record for Kerman, accounting for exactly half the team’s overall win total (22-9). He also sported a 1.27 ERA with 159 strikeouts in 77.1 innings and was named the SoCal Preps Central Section Pitcher of the Year.
A 2013 Perfect Game Preseason All-American, Salazar was selected to play at the Perfect Game Invitational in Florida. He is ranked No. 22 nationally by Perfect Game USA and No. 36 by MaxPreps.
Greatness Future: Salazar has signed with Fresno State, but is projected as an early round selection in next month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top.Check back daily for updates on the top contenders making their case.