In its 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Braden Minor of Eisenhower High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Kansas Baseball Player of the Year. Minor is the first Gatorade Kansas Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Eisenhower High School.

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 Minor as Kansas’s best high school baseball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, Minor joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Roy Halladay (1994-95, Arvada West HS, Colo.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman HS, Tenn.), Chipper Jones (1989-90, Bolles School, Fla.), Derek Lee (1992-93, El Camino HS, Calif.) and John Lester (2001-02, Bellarmine Prep, Wash.).

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound sophomore right-handed pitcher and first baseman led the Tigers (19-3) to a berth in the Class 5A state tournament, scheduled to begin May 29. At the time of his selection, Minor owned a 5-1 record, a 1.88 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 41 innings. Ranked as the state’s No. 4 prospect in the Class of 2016 by Prep Baseball Report, he also batted .542 with 23 RBIs, 13 runs and a .711 slugging percentage through 22 games.

Minor has maintained a 3.97 GPA in the classroom. A member of his school’s Spanish Club and Spirit Club, he has volunteered locally shoveling snow for the elderly and as a youth baseball coach.

“Braden Minor is one of the top pitchers in the state of Kansas,” said Eisenhower High head coach Tom Campa. “He has a very good command of his pitches to make him successful each game. He possesses great game management and also leads by example. He will definitely be a high recruit for any NCAA Division I university.”

Minor will begin his junior year of high school this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Minor joins recent Gatorade Kansas Baseball Players of the Year Ryan Colombo (2012-13, Seaman High School), Collin Wiles (2011-12, Blue Valley West High School), Conner Knight (2010 – 11, Maize High School), Cody Kukuk (2009-10, Free State), Garrett Gould (2008–09, Maize), Lee Ridenhour (2007-08, Shawnee Mission West), and Derek Norris (2006-2007, Goddard) among the state’s list of former award winners.

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