Kyle Muller wasn’t expecting to be presented with a prestigious award from an MLB pitcher on Monday morning, but that’s exactly what happened to the Dallas Jesuit College Prep School senior.
Muller received the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award at a surprise ceremony at his high school. The Texas commit for the 2016-17 school year accepted the award from Texas Rangers pitcher and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels.
“Growing up, I watched [Hamels] pitch and compete, and really tried to take parts of his game and put it into mine,” Muller said. “With his delivery and his changeup, he’s one of the best pitchers in the game.”
The similarities between Muller and Hamels are striking. Both are big lefties, with Muller standing at 6-foot-7 and Hamels just a few inches shorter, and both finished their high school careers brimming with MLB potential.
Hamels was selected as the No. 17 overall pick by the Phillies in 2002, while Muller has MLB scouts buzzing about his potential. And for good reason. Muller dominated high school competition in 2016, going 8–1 with a 0.46 ERA.
“Guys like [Muller] have the energy and the focus and the determination to get to the top,” Hamels said. “It’s nice to give them a few words of encouragement and just let them go. Kyle is a great guy, and this really exemplifies his character and who he is.”
Now, Muller has a decision to make. A projected first-round pick in the MLB draft on Thursday, Muller must weigh his commitment to Texas against the possibility of a rookie signing bonus, and a spot in a major league team’s organization.
As one of the top pitching prospects to commit to Texas in recent memory, there are high hopes for Muller in Austin already. But Muller isn’t a Longhorn yet. He’s just a high school pitcher who’s been awarded one of the sports world’s highest honors.