For most high school baseball players, becoming a major league player is only a dream. Senior Gunnar Troutwine could come one step closer to making that dream a reality on June 5, when professional teams begin selecting from top baseball prospects coming out of high school and college in the 2014 MLB draft.
Currently, Troutwine is committed to play Division I baseball for the Wichita State University Shockers next fall. Like many high school recruits, the decision to go pro or attend college will not be certain until the draft.
Troutwine is listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds. He recently ran a 60-yard dash in 6.68 seconds, rare at the catcher position.
“Right now, there is the possibility of me getting drafted out of high school,” Troutwine said. “That decision will be made based on what round I go in, how much money I could make versus going to college for three years or four years and then getting drafted out of there.”
East head baseball coach Jerrod Ryherd is confident Troutwine will have the option to play at a professional level this year. He has coached many players but none that stand out as much as Troutwine.
“I definitely think he’s going to get drafted this year,” Ryherd said. “He’s hit balls farther than any kid I’ve ever coached.”
Troutwine played soccer, basketball, and baseball during elementary school with his classmates but naturally excelled more in baseball than in other sports.
Freshman year, Troutwine decided to focus more on baseball after playing JV and suiting up with varsity. He travelled with the team that year when East took third in state.
“I think those guys on that team really made it click for me,” Troutwine said.
He realized early on that in order to succeed in baseball, he would need a level of dedication higher than his peers and made sacrifices to have time for the sport.
“In the summertime, I’m always travelling every weekend,” Troutwine said. “I don’t always get to go hang out at the pool or hang out with friends, but I try to stay in shape all the time.”
Recruitment started early for Troutwine, a quick standout on the East team. He started to look at a few colleges the summer after freshman year before an intense recruiting process began.
By playing in certain tournaments and attending showcases for top recruits, he got the attention of many colleges.
“You don’t get to become a [Division I] athlete without working hard,” Ryherd said. “He’s done that for the last four years, and that’s why he’s getting the opportunity to go to Wichita State to play ball.”
A recent showcase in Illinois in early February featured the top 60 players from 10 states. Nathan Rode, a supervisor for a baseball recruiting website, Prep Baseball Report, attended the event and tweeted, “Gunnar Troutwine might be the most physically impressive guy here.”
A combination of natural athletic ability and work ethic has allowed Troutwine to excel past other players his age. In the off season, he is enrolled in weights and attends the after school conditioning currently underway for spring season athletes.
“With his work ethic, he has coached himself to another level,” Ryherd said. “I would say of probably all the athletes here at East right now in the winter conditioning, he is working harder than them all.”
Once the spring season begins, practices run two and a half to three hours daily. Even with an upcoming draft and after signing with a Division I college, Troutwine still has his entire senior season ahead of him.
No matter who Troutwine plays for a year from now, he looks forward to continued growth in baseball and plans to major in business during his time at Wichita State.
“There’s always room for improvement, to move on to a higher and better level,” Troutwine said. “Every time I step out on the field, it’s my home.”