Greencastle-Antrim ace Myles Gayman was selected as the 2016 P.O. Baseball Player of the Year. Video by Lindsey Smith
One year ago, Myles Gayman was a Division I baseball recruit who spent much of his junior season on the bench.
After emerging as a standout pitcher as a freshman, and producing a 1.17 ERA as a sophomore, an arm injury kept him off the mound most of his junior year, and he earned just three decisions in 25 innings.
But that wasn't going to keep Gayman from chasing his dream.
After five months of intense daily rehab, he was back and better than ever to start his senior season for Greencastle-Antrim, and it wasn't long before he started turning heads in the major leagues.
Gayman, who was not selected to any P.O. All-Star team last year, is the Public Opinion Player of the Year.
"When I injured myself, it put me down for the rest of the season," Gayman said. "But through rehab they were always positive and kept telling me, 'You are going to come back better than you were when you got hurt,' and I really did."
"He’s always motivated coming into the season, but now even more that he was looking for a bounce-back year health-wise, and looking for a major statement for the draft," Greencastle coach Eric Shaner said. "He's so diligent the way he prepares. I've left him here in the rain doing exercises and sprints because that was what he was supposed to do that day. He has the drive and the work ethic to go along with the talent."
He had the area's best ERA at 0.34 after allowing just two earned runs in 41 innings pitched. He also averaged 1.8 strikeouts per inning, fanning 75 batters on the season. Gayman boasted two shutouts and a 6-0 record as the Blue Devils claimed the Mid Penn Conference title and Gayman's fourth-straight appearance in the District 3 Class-AAA tournament.
"We knew if we could get Myles back healthy we could be really dangerous, and for 19 games that's exactly what happened," Shaner said.
But his talents on the baseball field don't stop at the pitcher's rubber. Gayman also led the Blue Devils with a .417 batting average and knocked in a team-high 19 RBIs, despite being the leadoff hitter. He had 33 hits and was walked 12 times for an on-base percentage of .549, the team's highest of any player who appeared in more than 10 games.
When he wasn't on the mound, Gayman played shortstop, making it nearly impossible for any runner to beat out a ground ball with his throwing speed.
"Good pitching doesn't intimidate him. He's one of the handful of guys I consider an advanced hitter," Shaner said. "Fielding-wise, he's long and he's rangy and what he gets to he catches, and you better be really fast if you're going to outrun that fastball."
As the end of the year approached and the MLB draft loomed over the Greencastle senior - bound to play at Penn State - Gayman heard from multiple teams that intended to choose him early in the draft. But the stars didn't align.
"I expected a lot more out of (the draft) going in," Gayman said. "I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to play pro ball. The draft was right around the corner, and I thought I was going to get what I wanted; and everything turned literally at the last minute, and everything changed."
But like his arm injury, Gayman isn't going to let going undrafted stop him from living his dream. He wants to use the next three years to his advantage and eventually reenter the MLB draft better, faster and stronger.
"I want to add a pitch in college," Gayman said. "I think if I go and see a sports nutritionist and try to put on some weight, I think it will really help my velocity jump and really help me three years down the road. I can just hope for the best at this point."
"I look for him to have some great years at Penn State, and I expect him to be a high draft pick and make it to the show," Shaner said. "I've seen how he progressed in four years here, and now he's going to have top-notch facilities and trainers. Not being drafted now might be the best thing to ever happen to him because he's going to come in with all kinds of motivation at Penn State. They are getting themselves a gem."
Myles Gayman file
Position: Pitcher, shortstop
Parents: Jamie and Kristina Gayman
Future plans: Gayman will join the Penn State baseball team as a right-handed pitcher.
Other interests: Gayman likes working out and running.
Surprising fact: Despite a large rip in the leg, Gayman wore the same pair of baseball pants for four years at G-A for luck.
Favorite team: Baltimore Orioles
Pro athlete most admired: Manny Machado
Favorite movie: Saving Private Ryan
Favorite pump-up song: He likes listening to rap music and Drake, his favorite rapper.
Statistics: Gayman had an outstanding 0.34 ERA as Greencastle's ace, allowing just two earned runs all season. He also struck out a total of 75 batters, to average 1.8 strikeouts per innings pitched. He also led G-A at the plate, leading off with a .417 batting average, and brought in 19 RBIs. He had a .549 on base percentage.