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Dylan Lesko Named 2020-21 Gatorade® National Baseball Player of the Year

July 7, 2021 GMT

BUFORD, Ga., July 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 36th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Dylan Lesko of Buford High School in Buford, Ga. is the 2020-21 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. Lesko 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, 42 All-Star appearances and 27 MLB first round draft picks.

New York Mets Shortstop Francisco Lindor virtually surprised Lesko with the news, while his family, coaches and teammates showed up with the trophy at school. Check out a video of the announcement here.

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 Lesko as the nation’s best high school baseball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Lesko from nearly half a million high school baseball players nationwide.

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Competition for the national award was fierce. Lesko topped the list of state winners in baseball who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including 46 Gatorade State Players of the Year who have signed Letters of Intent or made verbal commitments to play baseball at Division I colleges/universities, 22 with a GPA of 3.75 and above and 18 who are expected to be selected in the early rounds of the 2021 MLB Draft.

“Lesko has long been considered one of the top players in his class and has already established a strong track record of performance against older competition in some of the bigger high school events around the country,” said Carlos Collazo, a national writer for Baseball America. “On top of impressive strike zone command, he was a poised and polished pitcher with advanced secondary pitches even prior to his junior season of high school, and he could develop a trio of legitimate ‘plus’ pitches when it’s all said and done.”

The 6-foot-3, 197-pound junior right-handed pitcher and infielder compiled an 11-0 record on the mound with a 0.35 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 60 innings this past season, leading the Wolves to a 32-2 record and a berth in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. The nation’s No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2022 as ranked by Perfect Game and PrepBaseballReport, he held opposing hitters to a .126 batting average and a 0.68 WHIP while contributing offensively by posting a .417 average, 25 RBIs and an OPS of 1.054.

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A member of Buford High’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, Lesko has volunteered locally at the North Gwinnett Co-Op, which provides food and services to the needy. He has also donated his time packing, loading and delivering food to underserved families each Thanksgiving. In addition, he has raised funds to support the underprivileged during the Christmas holidays.

Lesko has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. He has made a verbal commitment to play baseball on scholarship at Vanderbilt University beginning in the fall of 2022.

“Winning the Gatorade Player of the Year award is an enormous accomplishment, as it’s reserved for the best and brightest high school student-athletes,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “We strongly believe in the lifelong benefits of playing high school sports and look forward to seeing what Dylan Lesko will accomplish in the future.”

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.

Gatorade is dedicated to recognizing, supporting and keeping athletes in the game because of the lifelong skills sports instill on and off the field. 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, Jayson Tatum, Derek Jeter, Elena Delle Donne 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 playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.

PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS

YEAR

NAME

HOMETOWN

STATUS

2019-20

Jared Kelley

Refugio, TX

Chicago White Sox organization

2018-19

Bobby Witt Jr.

Colleyville, TX

Kansas City Royals organization

2017-18

Ryan Weathers

Loretto, TN

San Diego Padres

2016-17

Mackenzie Gore

Whiteville, NC

San Diego Padres organization

2015-16

Kyle Muller

Dallas, TX

Atlanta Braves organization

2014-15

Luken Baker

Conroe, TX

St. Louis Cardinals organization

2013-14

Justus Sheffield

Tullahoma, TN

Seattle Mariners

2012-13

Clint Frazier

Loganville, GA

New York Yankees

2011-12

Lance McCullers Jr.

Tampa, FL

Houston Astros

2010-11

Dylan Bundy

Owasso, OK

Los Angeles Angels

2009-10

Kaleb Cowart

Adel, GA

New York Yankees organization

2008-09

Matt Hobgood

Norco, CA

Retired from Baltimore Orioles organization

2007-08

Kyle Skipworth

Riverside, CA

Retired from Cincinnati Reds organization

2006-07

Rick Porcello

West Orange, NJ

MLB Free Agent

2005-06

Clayton Kershaw

Dallas, TX

Los Angeles Dodgers

2004-05

Justin Upton

Chesapeake, VA

Los Angeles Angels

2003-04

Mark Rogers

Topsham, ME

Retired from Texas Rangers organization

2002-03

Chris Lubanski

Collegeville, PA

Retired from Kansas City Royals

2001-02

Zack Greinke

Apopka, FL

Houston Astros

2000-01

Casey Kotchman

Seminole, FL

Retired from Toronto Blue Jays organization

1999-00

Jason Stokes

Coppell, TX

Retired from Detroit Tigers organization

1998-99

B.J. Garbe

Moses Lake, WA

Retired from Florida Marlins organization

1997-98

Drew Henson

Brighton, MI

Retired from New York Yankees organization

1996-97

Darnell McDonald

Englewood, CO

Retired from Chicago Cubs organization

1995-96

Matt White

Waynesboro, PA

Retired from Los Angeles Dodgers organization

1994-95

Chad Hutchinson

San Diego, CA

Retired from St. Louis Cardinals organization

1993-94

Doug Million

Sarasota, FL

Deceased

1992-93

Alex Rodriguez

Miami, FL

Retired from New York Yankees

1991-92

A.J. Hinch

Midwest City, OK

Retired from Philadelphia Phillies organization

1990-91

Brian Barber

Orlando, FL

Retired from Cleveland Indians

1989-90

Todd Van Poppel

Arlington, TX

Retired from Cincinnati Reds

1988-89

Jeff Jackson

Chicago, IL

Retired from Pittsburgh Pirates organization

1987-88

Mark Lewis

Hamilton, OH

Retired from Cleveland Indians

1986-87

Willie Banks

Jersey City, NJ

Retired from Boston Red Sox

1985-86

Gary Sheffield

Tampa, FL

Retired from New York Mets

About 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, Evolve 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.

About PepsiCo
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 $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, Tropicana and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. “Winning with Purpose” reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of our business strategy and brands. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

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SOURCE The Gatorade Company