From many, there will be one. And while it’s too early to speculate about which contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the calendar, a number of elite performers are already making a case for Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
St. Thomas Aquinas (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)
Greatness Present: He’s still a few weeks away from unleashing his first pitch of the 2016 varsity baseball season but Pint is already drawing plenty of “oohs” and “ahs.”
The flame-throwing right-hander and returning Gatorade Kansas Baseball Player of the Year impressed at Kansas City’s Premier Baseball Pro Day Showcase last month. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Pint was one of several high-profile prep prospects from the area who put his talents on display at the event. But he was the only one there who uncorked a 102-MPH fastball.
Yeah. One hundred and two miles-per-hour. Did we mention that he’s just a few weeks past his 18th birthday? Ooh. Ah.
Needless to say, Pint’s live arm and staggering upside on the pitcher’s mound has been earning him plenty of attention. Last month, he became one of just two prep baseball players (alongside New Jersey standout Jason Groome) to crack the preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, which honors the country’s top amateur baseball player.
If Pint keeps throwing and locating that kind of heat, he might just sandwich the GSA between a pair of Gatorade State Player of the Year trophies. And who knows? Possibly even a coveted Gatorade National Player of the Year award, which boasts previous honorees like Cy Young award winners Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
Greatness Past: As a junior in 2015, Pint captured Gatorade honors when he posted a 5-2 record and a 2.20 ERA for the Saints (18-3) leading them to the Class 5A regional tournament. He was also the starting pitcher at the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, logging one inning of work while surrendering a run and racking up a strikeout.
Greatness Future: Pint has committed to LSU, but is projected as an early selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year races are just beginning, and the National POY race will dominate the spring. Plenty of time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for updates on the top contenders making their case.