Drew Baker, Grant Hotchkiss to represent Team Kentucky in PBR Futures Game
Two rising juniors at Boyle County have been selected for one of the premier prep baseball events in the country.
Drew Baker and Grant Hotchkiss will represent Team Kentucky in the Prep Baseball Report (PBR) Futures Games in Indiana for the class of 2020 and 2021.
“The summer baseball circuit is kind of winding down right now, this is one of the last showcase tournaments before school starts up,” Boyle County head baseball coach Kyle Wynn said. “I think last year, there was more than 250 colleges there. I counted up yesterday, last year’s team had 24 guys on it and I think 15 of them were already committed Division-I, one was going to a D-II school and the rest were uncommitted.”
The Futures Games are all about exposure, and athletes from across the country will be in attendance to impress college scouts.
This summer, both Baker and Hotchkiss have impressed on the diamond.
Baker plays for Kentucky Baseball Club during the summer and Hotchkiss for Bluegrass Xpress. Both had successful summers with their travel teams, but they were named for the Futures Game through PBR showcases.
Hotchkiss turned heads during his sophomore season and particularly at the state tournament: He led off with a solo home run and finished his two games with five hits, a double, two runs batted in and three runs scored.
In June, Hotchkiss attended PBR’s state camp in Richmond, where he set the top mark for Kentucky players in home-to-first time — 3.96 seconds. Later that camp, he hit a home run during a game.
It was at that state camp that Hotchkiss realized he could make the Futures Game.
“I went to a showcase in June and I didn’t really know what it was, but someone told me that if you do well at a showcase you can get invited to (the Futures Game), there’s a bunch of scouts and everything,” he said. “It was good to get invited so I can get as many looks as I can.”
It’s been a somewhat different road for Baker, who missed part of his sophomore campaign at Boyle due to injury — he had Tommy John surgery the year before.
But this summer, Baker’s been back on the field and thriving.
“It started off kind of nerve-wracking because I didn’t really know how I’d come back from it, if I’d be different, if it’d feel different,” he said. “But going into the summer, I realized that it was better than before. I’m really excited that it’s all good now, knock on wood. I was pretty sad missing a lot of the high school season, but being back is an awesome feeling.”
Baker and Hotchkiss will go up to Indianapolis today for position showcases — Baker as a catcher, Hotchkiss as a middle infielder. The next three days will be batting practice and games against teams from Arkansas/Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee.
“Words can’t explain how excited I am,” Baker said. “It’s a huge opportunity, to go play in front of 250, 300 scouts and against different states, that’ll be crazy.”
Both Rebels were excited to share the opportunity with a teammate.
“Grant is one of the best all-around players that I’ve played with, played against,” Baker said. “He’s real smooth fielding, he hits wherever he wants the ball, and he’s the best bunter I’ve ever played with. He can bunt and still hit .300.”
Hotchkiss said that people in the area might not know what Baker can do on the baseball field because of his injury, but that’ll change after this week.
“I was really excited when Drew texted me that he got invited,” Hotchkiss said. “We’ve both been talking about it since we found out what it was, we’re both really excited for each other and ready to go up there.
“He’s just gotten back from injury, I think a lot of people didn’t know what he was capable of. Now people are starting to realize how good he really is and what he’s capable of, that’s what I experienced freshman year so I know how it feels for him. He’s better than what most people think and he’ll show that when we go up to Indy.”
Both players are multi-sport athletes — both play football and Hotchkiss also stars for the Boyle basketball team.
Hotchkiss said he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school, but his sophomore year helped him decide.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do until, I guess, this high school season,” he said. “But it’s good, I’ve decided that baseball is really what I want to do … I like all sports, I like them equally. It’s like trying to pick a favorite kid. But baseball, ever since I was little, I’ve always played.”
The two have similar goals for this week in Indianapolis: Turn heads. Colleges can begin to offer scholarships starting in September, Wynn said, and this will be a great opportunity for his two players to show off their talent.
“In the showcase part, I want to show that I’m faster than typical catchers, show that I have a consistent, low pop time,” Baker said. “I want to show in the BP session that I can hit for power and do that consistently. In the games, I want to show that I’m a leader, I can block and can show that I can control a game. And I want to come out feeling good about it.”
“I just want to open people’s eyes, let people know who I am and what I can do,” Hotchkiss said. “There’s some nerves but not really nervous. I’m more excited.”