The Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 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: Braxton Garrett
School: Florence (Ala.)
Position: Left-handed pitcher, centerfielder and first baseman
Weight: 195 pounds
Athletic achievement: H3 compiled a 6-2 record with a 0.54 ERA and recorded 131 strikeouts against just 15 walks in 65.1 innings pitched this past season, leading the Falcons (31-17) to a berth in the Class 6A state tournament. He batted .394 with 10 doubles and 34 RBI. An American Family Insurance ALL-USA Preseason Baseball Team selection as named by USA TODAY, he worked 15 walks and belted 13 extra-base hits, posting a .459 on-base percentage and .503 slugging percentage. The Alabama Sports Writers Association’s returning Mr. Baseball, he was a member of the USA Baseball 18U National Team that won the 2015 18U Baseball World Cup this past summer.
Academic excellence: Garrett has maintained a 3.69 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth baseball instructor and by serving in his school’s special needs classroom, Garrett has volunteered on behalf of his church, the Sav-A-Life organization and the Junior League. He has also participated in a local food drive for underprivileged children.
“Not only is he the best high school pitcher that I have ever seen, but he plays the game so hard and with passion, yet with great character,” said Scott Mitchell, head coach at rival Rogers High. “He is a rare player.”
THE FUTURE: Garrett has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at Vanderbilt University this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft.