Gatorade® National Baseball Player of the Year: Lance McCullers

Three-time MLB All-Star Sean Casey Surprises Standout with Elite Honor

May 31, 2012, 15:45 ET from Gatorade

TAMPA, Fla., May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 27th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced Lance McCullers of Jesuit High School (Tampa, Fla.) as its 2011-12 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.  McCullers was surprised with the news by three-time MLB All-Star and current MLB Network broadcaster, Sean Casey.

"It felt great to surprise Lance with the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award and welcome him into one of the most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports," said Casey.  "Gatorade has been on the sidelines fueling athletic performance for years, so to be recognized by a brand that understands the game and truly helps athletes perform is a huge honor for these kids."

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 McCullers as the nation's best high school baseball player.  A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select McCullers from more than 470,000 baseball players nationwide. McCullers is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior right-handed pitcher posted a 13-0 record with a 0.18 ERA and 140 strikeouts against 30 walks in 77.1 innings pitched this past season, leading the Tigers (28-2) to the Class 5A state semifinals. The 2011 Jackie Robinson Award winner as the country's top rising senior, McCullers, also a shortstop, batted .280 with two home runs and 21 RBI, stealing 10 bases in 10 attempts. An All-American as named by ESPNHS, Baseball America, Perfect Game, MaxPreps and Louisville Slugger, he scored 27 runs while producing a .485 on-base percentage and .486 slugging percentage. In addition to making seven appearances for the 2010 USA Baseball 18-and-Under National Team, he also participated in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game and 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic.

McCullers has maintained a B average in the classroom. A volunteer on behalf of Challenger Baseball, the Special Olympics, Metropolitan Ministries, the Head Start Program and as a Bakas Equestrian Center assistant for intellectually challenged children, he has also donated his time as part of a literacy-outreach program, as a motivational speaker for middle school children and as part of multiple food drives in association with Jesuit High.

"Lance McCullers came into the season with a ton of hype and had scouts watching his every move," said Jon Mahoney, ESPNHS baseball editor. "You'd expect him to have a rough start here and there. But he goes out and delivers a phenomenal campaign. Two earned runs all season? That's just filthy, especially against the competition his team faced. Simply put, McCullers rose to the occasion in the face of incredible pressure. He's a worthy choice for Gatorade National Player of the Year."

McCullers has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Florida this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in next week's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

"Without question, Lance is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school baseball player based on his statistics on the field and the impact his accomplishments have had on Jesuit High School's success," said Gatorade President North America and Global Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Robb O'Hagan. "But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be.  He represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."

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. The selection process is administered by ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year web site at, on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at











Lance McCullers

Dylan Bundy

Kaleb Cowart

Matt Hobgood

Kyle Skipworth

Jesuit/Tampa, FL

Owasso/Owasso, OK

Cook/Adel, GA

Norco/Norco, CA

Patriot/Riverside, CA

High School Senior

Baltimore Orioles Org.

Los Angeles Angels Org.

Baltimore Orioles Org.

Florida Marlins Org.


Rick Porcello

Seton Hall Prep/West Orange,  NJ

Detroit Tigers


Clayton Kershaw

Highland Park/Dallas, TX

Los Angeles Dodgers


Justin Upton

Great Bridge/Chesapeake, VA

Arizona Diamondbacks


Mark Rogers

Mt. Ararat/Topsham, Maine

Milwaukee Brewers Org.


Chris Lubanski

Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic/Norristown, PA

Philadelphia Phillies Org. 


Zack Greinke

Apopka/Apopka, FL

Milwaukee Brewers


Casey Kotchman

Seminole/Seminole, FL

Cleveland Indians


Jason Stokes

Coppell/Coppell, TX

Retired from MLB


B.J. Garbe

Moses Lake/Moses Lake, WA

Retired from MLB


Drew Henson

Brighton/Brighton, MI

NFL Free Agent


Darnell McDonald

Cherry Creek/Englewood, CO

Boston Red Sox


Matt White

Waynesboro/Waynesboro, PA

Retired from MLB  


Chad Hutchinson

Torrey Pines/San Diego, CA

Retired from NFL and MLB


Doug Million

Sarasota/Sarasota, FL



Alex Rodriguez

Westminster Christian/Miami, FL

New York Yankees


A.J. Hinch

Midwest City/Midwest City, OK

San Diego Padres Front Office


Brian Barber

Dr. Phillips/Orlando, FL

Retired from MLB


Todd VanPoppel

James Martin/Arlington, TX

Retired from MLB


Jeff Jackson

Simeon/Chicago, IL

Retired from MLB


Mark Lewis

Hamilton/Hamilton, OH

Retired from MLB


Willie Banks

St. Anthony's/Jersey City, NJ

Retired from MLB


Gary Sheffield

Hillsborough/Tampa, FL

Retired from MLB

SOURCE Gatorade