• 29-MAY-2019

BOBBY WITT JR. NAMED 2018-19 GATORADE® NATIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

BOBBY WITT JR. NAMED 2018-19 GATORADE® NATIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Former Texas Rangers Infielder Michael Young Presents Winner with Honor
 
Colleyville, Texas [May 29, 2019] – In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Bobby Witt Jr. of Colleyville Heritage High School in Colleyville, Texas is the 2018-19 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. Witt Jr. won the award for his accomplishments on and off the field joining a group of former Gatorade National Baseball Players of the Year that includes 20 MLB first round draft picks.
 
Witt Jr. was presented with the award at his school among teammates, friends, family and coaches by the seven-time All-Star and former Texas Rangers infielder, Michael Young.
 
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 Witt Jr. as the nation’s best high school baseball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Witt Jr. from 490,000 high school baseball players nationwide. Witt Jr. 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 at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
 
"One of the most dynamic and exciting players in the country, Bobby Witt Jr. is certainly deserving of the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award,” says Carlos Collazo, national writer for Baseball America. “From a scouting perspective, he has all the tools you could ask for, with a solid understanding of the strike zone, standout baserunning ability, power and defensive skills up the middle along with a strong and accurate arm. He’s also a remarkable person off of the field. Scouts, teammates and coaches alike laud his work ethic, makeup, leadership qualities and humble demeanor. I’m not the only one who’s eager to see how his baseball career unfolds moving forward.”
 
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior shortstop and right-handed pitcher has led the Panthers to a 35-3 record and a berth in the Class 5A Regional Final scheduled for June 1. Witt Jr. is batting .500 with 15 doubles, eight triples and 15 home runs through 38 games, scoring 62 runs and amassing 54 RBI, half of which (28) have come with two outs. He owns an OBP of .571, a slugging percentage of 1.103 and a dizzying 1.674 OPS to go with 22 walks and stolen 17 bases in 19 attempts. Witt Jr. is hitting .478 with runners in scoring position, has struck out just 11 times in 154 plate appearances and has grounded into only one double play in 126 at-bats.
 
On the mound, the two-time Under Armour All-American Game selection owns two saves and a 1.62 ERA in nine relief appearances, having fanned 18 batters and issuing just one walk in 8.2 innings. His WHIP going into the final is 0.808 and opposing batters are hitting .188.* MVP of the 2018 Under Armour game, Witt Jr. was a member of the 2018 USA Baseball 18U National Team and is the nation’s top-ranked prep prospect as rated by Baseball America, Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report.      
 
Selected by his teachers to serve in his school’s Peer Assistant Leadership Group, Witt Jr. mentors grade school students with disabilities on a weekly basis. A member of Students Stand Strong and Colleyville Heritage’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, he has volunteered by helping the homeless on behalf of Phillips Wish and by combating bullying in association with Rachel’s Challenge. Also a youth baseball instructor and a participant in the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, he is an active member of his Good Shepherd Catholic church community.
 
Witt Jr. has maintained a weighted 4.0 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Oklahoma beginning this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft.
 
“We reviewed nearly half a million student-athletes who play baseball before selecting Bobby Witt Jr.,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “He won because of his accomplishments both on and off the field, which is what makes Gatorade Player of the Year the most prestigious award in high school sports.”
 
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Witt Jr. has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year. 
 
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 & 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.
 
*Stats as of May 27, 2019
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PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
Year
Winner
Hometown
Status
2018-19
Bobby Witt Jr.
Colleyville, TX
HS Senior
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 MLB
2007-08
Kyle Skipworth
Riverside, CA
Retired from MLB
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 MLB
2002-03
Chris Lubanski
Collegeville, PA
Retired from MLB
2001-02
Zack Greinke
Apopka, FL
Arizona Diamondbacks
2000-01
Casey Kotchman
Seminole, FL
Retired from MLB
1999-00
Jason Stokes
Coppell, TX
Retired from MLB
1998-99
B.J. Garbe
Moses Lake, WA
Retired from Minor League Baseball
1997-98
Drew Henson
Brighton, MI
Retired from MLB/NFL
1996-97
Darnell McDonald
Englewood, CO
Retired from MLB
1995-96
Matt White
Waynesboro, PA
Retired from MLB
1994-95
Chad Hutchinson
San Diego, CA
Retired from NFL
1993-94
Doug Million
Sarasota, FL
Deceased
1992-93
Alex Rodriguez
Miami, FL
Retired from MLB
1991-92
A.J. Hinch
Midwest City, OK
Houston Astros Manager
1990-91
Brian Barber
Orlando, FL
Retired from Minor League Baseball
1989-90
Todd Van Poppel
Arlington, TX
Retired from MLB
1988-89
Jeff Jackson
Chicago, IL
Retired from Minor League Baseball
1987-88
Mark Lewis
Hamilton, OH
Retired from MLB
1986-87
Willie Banks
Jersey City, NJ
Retired from MLB
1985-86
Gary Sheffield
Tampa, FL
Retired from MLB