Even before the completion of his freshman season, Edwardsville High School baseball player Drake Westcott already sees the path of his future.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Westcott, a left-handed hitter who plays first base and third base, on Saturday gave a verbal commitment to the University of Louisville. Westcott chose the Cardinals over Mississippi, Indiana, Purdue and Alabama.
“I had some schools that were looking at me and it was down to the right fit,” Westcott said. “If the school was right and I got an offer from them when I was a freshman or sophomore, I was going to take it. If I didn’t find a school, I was going to play it out and see what happened.”
Westcott took two visits to Louisville and never hesitated when the offer was made.
“I fell in love with Louisville,” said the 15-year-old Westcott, adding that Ole Miss was the runner-up. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity that I have. The decision wasn’t too hard, but at the same time, it was (about) where you’re going to spend three, four years of your life. It takes a lot of thought.
“But with Louisville, the decision was pretty easy. I really like Louisville.”
The Redbirds, coached by Dan McDonnell, are ranked second in the country and are 38-6 this season. McDonnell 494-197 in 10-plus seasons at Louisville.
Westcott, the son of Brad and Melissa Westcott, is batting .434 (23-for-53) with seven doubles, seven home runs and 24 RBIs for the Tigers (17-3), with 11 walks and eight strikeouts. He has a .531 on-base percentage and a .962 slugging percentage, good for a 1.493 OPS.
“He’s an advanced hitter, especially for his age,” Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said. “He really takes great at-bats. He has plus power and a great approach at the plate. He’s one of the top area threats. He squares up the ball and uses all fields. He doesn’t get himself out much at all.”
Westcott, who plays up one and sometimes two age levels in the summer with the St. Louis Pirates, is certain to draw the interest of professional teams in the 2020 amateur draft, assuming he remains healthy and productive throughout high school.
“It would be cool and I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t really put much thought to it. That’s kind of far (in the future),” Westcott said. “I’m just trying to improve everything and do what I can to help the high school team win. I think since I’ve committed, it just makes me want to work harder, honestly, so when I get (to Louisville), I’ll be the best I can possibly be.”
Westcott can’t predict the future, of course, but he makes it clear that playing baseball for a living is a goal.
“That would be really cool. That would be awesome,” Westcott said.
Funkhouser considers it a strong possibility.
“I think he recognizes he’s got several areas to work on and continue to develop, just like any other player,” Funkhouser said. “There’s a lot of projectability. I’m always one to recognize some of that, but I always like staying the course with, ‘What are you going to do each day to try to get better?’ and then see how it plays out.
“But (the pros) could be a possibility for him out of high school – or out of college.”