• 28-MAY-2020

JARED KELLEY NAMED 2019-20 GATORADE® NATIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Refugio, Texas [May 28, 2020] – In its 35th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Jared Kelley of Refugio High School in Refugio, Texas is the 2019-20 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. Kelley won the prestigious award for his accomplishments on and off the field, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year winners who have combined for four MLB MVP awards, 40 All-Star appearances and 27 became MLB first round draft picks.

Due to the ongoing situation with the coronavirus pandemic, Gatorade coordinated a virtual surprise, including a video call by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper to break the exciting news to Kelley.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Kelley as the nation’s best high school baseball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Kelley from nearly half a million high school baseball players nationwide.

Competition for the national award was fierce. Kelley topped the list of 51 state winners in baseball who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including eight student-athletes projected as an early round selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft, five 2019 First Team All-State selections and seven with GPAs higher than a 4.0.

Kelley is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced in July.

“Jared Kelley owns what is easily the most big-league ready prep arm in the Class of 2020,” says Carlos Collazzo, national writer for Baseball America. “He’s got the best fastball in the high school class, a pitch that routinely brushes the upper-90s. A consistently plus changeup and a solid breaking ball make him an intimidating physical presence. Perhaps what separates him even more than his velo is the ease with which he throws everything along with his ability to dependably locate his entire arsenal. That’s rare for a prep pitcher, and exceedingly so for a pitcher with stuff like his.”

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior right-handed pitcher and designated hitter was the starting pitcher at the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago last July, hurling two innings without allowing an earned run while striking out five batters to earn the win. Also a 2019 Perfect Game All-American Classic selection, Kelley posted a 3-0 record with a 0.00 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 12 innings this spring before the season was canceled. The nation’s No. 1 prospect as rated by Baseball America, he concluded his prep career with a 32-3 record, a 0.43 ERA and 23 pitching appearances in which he didn’t allow a hit.      

After Hurricane Harvey devastated his community in 2017, Kelley devoted many hours to helping the area recover from the destruction. He loaded and unloaded truckloads of supplies delivered to Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church, and he also helped deliver bags of clothes and food to people’s residences if they were in need of such supplies. In addition, he helped cut down and remove trees, tree limbs and other debris from the homes and yards of citizens in need of assistance. A member of the Refugio High School National Honor Society, he has volunteered cleaning up around the school and at the concession stands during various sporting events. As a teacher’s aide in a seventh grade math class, he helped tutor students who were struggling and falling behind in their math work. He has also donated his time as an umpire for the Refugio Little League Baseball Association and, when he was participating in the Long Beach Area Code Games, he spent time playing baseball with the children undergoing treatment at Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego. “

Kelley has maintained a 96.2 average in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Texas, but is projected as an early-round selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft.

“While many high schools have rightfully canceled sports seasons in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are continuing to recognize and celebrate incredible athletes like Jared Kelley for their accomplishments on and off the field,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager, Brett O’Brien. “Like former winners before him, Jared embodies everything we look for in an award recipient and we are confident he will have continued success in sports and in life.”

Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track and field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.

Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.

PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS

YEAR

NAME

HOMETOWN

STATUS

2018-19

Bobby Witt Jr.

Colleyville, TX

Kansas City Royals

2017-18

Ryan Weathers

Loretto, TN

San Diego Padres organization

2016-17

Mackenzie Gore

Whiteville, NC

San Diego Padres organization

2015-16

Kyle Muller

Dallas, TX

Atlanta Braves organization

2014-15

Luken Baker

Conroe, TX

St. Louis Cardinals organization

2013-14

Justus Sheffield

Tullahoma, TN

Seattle Mariners

2012-13

Clint Frazier

Loganville, GA

New York Yankees

2011-12

Lance McCullers Jr.

Tampa, FL

Houston Astros

2010-11

Dylan Bundy

Owasso, OK

Baltimore Orioles

2009-10

Kaleb Cowart

Adel, GA

Los Angeles Angels

2008-09

Matt Hobgood

Norco, CA

Retired from Baltimore Orioles organization

2007-08

Kyle Skipworth

Riverside, CA

Retired from Cincinnati Reds organization

2006-07

Rick Porcello

West Orange, NJ

Boston Red Sox

2005-06

Clayton Kershaw

Dallas, TX

Los Angeles Dodgers

2004-05

Justin Upton

Chesapeake, VA

Los Angeles Angels

2003-04

Mark Rogers

Topsham, ME

Retired from Texas Rangers organization

2002-03

Chris Lubanski

Collegeville, PA

Retired from Kansas City Royals

2001-02

Zack Greinke

Apopka, FL

Houston Astros 

2000-01

Casey Kotchman

Seminole, FL

Retired from Toronto Blue Jays organization

1999-00

Jason Stokes

Coppell, TX

Retired from Detroit Tigers organization

1998-99

B.J. Garbe

Moses Lake, WA

Retired from Florida Marlins organization

1997-98

Drew Henson

Brighton, MI

Retired from New York Yankees organization

1996-97

Darnell McDonald

Englewood, CO

Retired from Chicago Cubs organization

1995-96

Matt White

Waynesboro, PA

Retired from Los Angeles Dodgers organization

1994-95

Chad Hutchinson

San Diego, CA

Retired from St. Louis Cardinals organization

1993-94

Doug Million

Sarasota, FL

Deceased

1992-93

Alex Rodriguez

Miami, FL

Retired from New York Yankees

1991-92

A.J. Hinch

Midwest City, OK

Retired from Philadelphia Phillies organization

1990-91

Brian Barber

Orlando, FL

Retired from Cleveland Indians

1989-90

Todd Van Poppel

Arlington, TX

Retired from Cincinnati Reds

1988-89

Jeff Jackson

Chicago, IL

Retired from Pittsburgh Pirates organization

1987-88

Mark Lewis

Hamilton, OH

Retired from Cleveland Indians

1986-87

Willie Banks

Jersey City, NJ

Retired from Boston Red Sox

1985-86

Gary Sheffield

Tampa, FL

Retired from New York Mets

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