High School Sports

The potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft unfazed by spotlight, focused on state

Bobby Witt Jr. belts home run vs. Birdville on game’s first pitch

Colleyville Heritage senior shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who is projected to be the No. 1 overall player selected in this year's MLB Draft, hit a lead-off home run vs. Birdville on March 15, 2019.
Up Next
Colleyville Heritage senior shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who is projected to be the No. 1 overall player selected in this year's MLB Draft, hit a lead-off home run vs. Birdville on March 15, 2019.

Colleyville Heritage senior shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, but the Oklahoma signee is only focused on one thing right now.

“We have some unfinished business,” Witt said of his high school team. “We’re trying to make another run at state and go out with a bang.”

The Panthers are off to a good start at 15-1 and 2-0 in district play.

“We’re as talented as anyone we’re going to run up against,” coach Alan McDougal said. “This group has been close. They’re hungry for the challenge and really trying to take that next step.”

It all starts with Witt.

Heritage has gone 72-15-2 with trips to the regional semifinal in 2017 and regional final last season with the budding superstar. Witt has accounted for 18 home runs and 93 RBI, and has been named all-state during that stretch.

Witt has been on fire the past two weeks, going 19 of 25 with seven homers and 19 RBI.

“I try to improve on everything,” he said. “The mental side of the game, all the tools, my baseball IQ, just trying to get better day by day and eventually get to my goal.”

It didn’t happen overnight though. Witt has been around baseball his entire life.

His father Bobby Witt Sr. played in the majors for 16 years, 10 with the Texas Rangers.

Bobby Witt Jr., an Oklahoma commit, gets all of one against Grapevine in 2017.

Last summer, Witt Jr. had an incredible run, playing in some of the best major league parks in the country. He won a home run derby during all-star weekend at Nationals Park, played in two All-American games at Wrigley Field and Petco Park, and finished with an all-star game at Globe Life Park.

Witt also helped Team USA to a gold medal in December during the 2018 COPABE Pan-American championships in Panama City.

“He’s a different animal,” McDougal said. “It’s like he’s been groomed with the attention ever since freshman year.”

The attention never gets to Witt’s head.

“It’s common to think that, but Bobby is such a team guy. He’s focused on trying to be the best he can be, but also help us be the best team we can be,” McDougal said. “Luckily as a head coach that’s one thing I don’t have to talk to him about.”

“My dad always tells me to keep grinding and to always stay humble,” Witt added. “He’s always there for me and a big role model.”

The son of the former Rangers pitcher says he likes hitting better than pitching. Video by Matthew Martinez.

Heritage also has six others that are committed or signed to Division I schools including all-state selections in catcher Nick Balsano (Baylor) and pitcher Jakob Berger (Dallas Baptist).

Third basemen Mason Greer, son of former Rangers outfielder Rusty Greer, is committed to Auburn.

Others include Logan Britt (Texas A&M), Jacob Guerrero (New Mexico) and Chandler Freeman (Dallas Baptist).

“It’s a talented senior class,” Witt said. “All the underclassmen have bought in too so it’s going to be fun the next few months.”

“It’s a scary lineup,” McDougal added. “People come in and think if they take care of Bobby, they have it all figured out. We’re so much deeper. It’s going to be our ability to do things without him at times, whether they pitch around Bobby or don’t pitch to him at all. It’ll be the other guys that will set this thing in motion and so far they’ve done a great job the first three weeks.”

Colleyville Heritage star prospect and projected No. 1 pick Bobby Witt Jr. hit a home run in the Under Armour All-American game at Wrigley Field on Friday night. Video credit 2080 Baseball.

As for all the glory surrounding the star shortstop, both Witt and McDougal think it only helps the Panthers overall.

“I hope so,” Witt said. “Hope we can build off it and learn from it. It’s good to have those guys. They’re an awesome group of teammates.”

Added McDougal: “It does nothing but help. They’re going to follow Bobby’s lead. He’s a leader by example. It’s watch what Bobby does and how he conducts his business. Hope they can follow that mold because that’s certainly a good example.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.