The Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2014-15 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For a list of the other Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year winners, click here.,
THE WINNER: Kyle Tucker
School: Plant (Tampa, Fla.)
Weight: 195 pounds
Athletic achievement: He batted .484 with 10 home runs, 27 RBI and 29 runs-scored this past season, leading the Panthers (16-8) to the Class 8A district quarterfinals. An Under Armour All-America Game and Perfect Game All-American Classic selection, Tucker worked 25 walks, stole 10 bases and belted seven doubles in just 64 official at-bats, recording a .581 on-base percentage and .962 slugging percentage. Also a relief pitcher, he finished with four saves, a 1.75 ERA and 12 strikeouts over 12 innings in eight appearances.
Academic excellence: Tucker has maintained a 5.33 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth baseball instructor, he has volunteered locally at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, on behalf of children battling cancer at Tampa General Hospital as well as Sertoma International, an empowerment organization supporting those at risk for or suffering from hearing loss.
“I have been a huge believer in Kyle since the first time I saw him play,” said Kristopher Wilken, head coach of rival Bloomingdale. “I’ve been coaching for a long time and haven’t seen a hitter as pure as he is and probably won’t again for a long time. He’s a pretty special player.”
THE FUTURE: Tucker has signed with Florida, but is projected as a first-round selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft.