Waterloo High senior baseball standout Jordan McFarland was seemingly among the last to know Monday after being named National 17-under Player of the Year and an All-American by Perfect Game USA.
McFarland was taking final exams Monday morning at Waterloo when his cell phone started going off.
“I was just taking a math exam this morning and I got 15 or 20 rings on my cell phone,” McFarland said. “I had to give my phone to the teacher because my phone kept going off.”
He checked his phone after finishing the exam and saw the news that others had seen before him. He was being honored as Perfect Game’s National Player of the Year.
“I was speechless,” he said. “It’s a huge honor for me. It goes to show that all the hard work I’ve put in is coming to show now and I’m so appreciative. There were so many guys I know they could have given it to and I’m honestly surprised they gave it to me.
McFarland (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) is an outfielder who signed with the University of Arkansas in November. He was the only player from Illinois on the Perfect Game All-American team and is considered a potential high draft pick among national high school seniors.
“He’s a special kid, probably a once in a lifetime kid,” said Rick Strickland, who coaches McFarland’s summer travel league team, the St. Louis Pirates. “To win something like this, you’ve got to be playing in front of national people and you’ve got to be good. He’s got some God-given ability, then you ads the skill component too and now you’re talking about a kid that has a lot of talking points of being a good player.”
The Pirates have had many talented players, but Strickland said McFarland is the first to win Perfect Game Player of the Year honors.
He also had a strong performance last summer while playing for the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., which includes some of the nation’s top players. PrepBaseballReport.com has McFarland listed as the 66th best player nationally and No. 7 outfielder.
“It was definitely the best year that I’ve had,” McFarland said.
During three Perfect Game showcase tournaments in Atlanta, Phoenix and Jupiter, Fla., he hit .571 (24-for-51) with four doubles, two triple, two home runs and 13 RBIs. He had a .627 on-base percentage and .905 slugging average.
“You put him on a national level and he does well,” Strickland said. “You put him on a field and there’s just not many people that look like him right now. He’s a grown man.
“He’s a freak. You may not see the likes of him for a long, long time.”
McFarland transferred to Waterloo High for his senior year after hitting .427 with eight homers and 42 RBIs for Gibault last spring as a junior. He was among the top players for the St. Louis Pirates travel team.
Perfect Game USA chose Jason Groome, a left-hander from Barnegat, N.J., as its National Pitcher of the Year.