REFUGIO, Texas, May 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), meets the needs of consumers who participate in Sports and Fitness, through brands that include Gatorade, Propel, Muscle Milk and Bolt24. The solutions they provide are driven by a deep understanding of the unique needs and occasions of different types of sports and fitness. Gatorade, their marquee brand, is underpinned by more than 50-year history of studying the best athletes in the world and sports-nutrition research by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, allowing it to provide scientifically-formulated products that meet athletes' needs both on and off the field. For more information and a full list of products, please visit www.gatorade.com.
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $64 billion in net revenue in 2018, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.
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PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
Bobby Witt Jr.
Kansas City Royals
San Diego Padres organization
San Diego Padres organization
Atlanta Braves organization
St. Louis Cardinals organization
New York Yankees
Lance McCullers Jr.
Los Angeles Angels
Retired from Baltimore Orioles organization
Retired from Cincinnati Reds organization
West Orange, NJ
Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels
Retired from Texas Rangers organization
Retired from Kansas City Royals
Retired from Toronto Blue Jays organization
Retired from Detroit Tigers organization
Moses Lake, WA
Retired from Florida Marlins organization
Retired from New York Yankees organization
Retired from Chicago Cubs organization
Retired from Los Angeles Dodgers organization
San Diego, CA
Retired from St. Louis Cardinals organization
Retired from New York Yankees
Midwest City, OK
Retired from Philadelphia Phillies organization
Retired from Cleveland Indians
Todd Van Poppel
Retired from Cincinnati Reds
Retired from Pittsburgh Pirates organization
Retired from Cleveland Indians
Jersey City, NJ
Retired from Boston Red Sox
Retired from New York Mets
SOURCE The Gatorade Company