Witt Jr. Named Gatorade National Player of the Year
Posted on 05/29/2019

In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Bobby Witt Jr. of Colleyville Heritage High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. Witt Jr. was previously named the Gatorade Texas Baseball Player of the Year.

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. Witt Jr. joins an elite alumni association of Gatorade award-winners, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo High School, Mich.), Jon Lester (2001-02, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Wash.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman High School, Tenn.), Clayton Kershaw (2005-06, Highland Park High School, Texas), Rick Porcello (2006-2007, Seaton Hall Preparatory School, N.J.) and Kris Bryant (2009-10, Bonanza High School, Nev.).

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior shortstop and right-handed pitcher had led the Panthers to a 35-3 record and a berth in the Class 5A regional finals scheduled for May 31. Witt batted .519 with 15 doubles, eight triples and 14 home runs through 36 games, piling up 49 RBI, almost half of which (24) had come with two outs. On the mound, Witt had recorded two saves to go with a 1.62 ERA in nine relief appearances, striking out 18 batters and issuing just one walk in 8.2 innings on the mound. 

A two-time Under Armour All-American Game selection where he earned MVP honors in 2018, he was a member of the 2018 USA Baseball 18U National Team and is the nation’s top-ranked prep prospect by Baseball America, Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. Witt has also already been named the National Senior Baseball Athlete of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA).

Selected by his teachers to serve in his school’s Peer Assistant Leadership Group, Witt 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. 

“Bobby Witt Jr. is one of the most dynamic and exciting players in the country,” 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.”

Witt 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.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, including state awards, 607 athletes are honored each year.

As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Witt Jr. also 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.

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.