It’s not too often that one of the guys on this list is actually better at a different skill than hitting.
But Lael Lockhart, our fifth best hitter in the 2019 Valley League, was the Friday starter for Houston in the 2019 college season, and is considered to be a draft prospect on the mound. Mike Bocock and Gerald Harman added him to the Woodstock roster with the understanding that he wouldn’t pitch, to give his arm a break, but could play in the field and hit every day.
And did he ever hit.
Lockhart finished tenth in batting average, fourth in OPS, fifth in on base percentage, third in slugging percentage, eighth in walks, tied for ninth in total bases (with 70), tied for eighth in RBIs, tied for fifth in home runs, tied for sixth in doubles, and tied for third in runs. He finished in the top ten in every single category except for hits and triples. He was named to the 2nd Team All-Valley League at first base after the season (behind a player yet to come on this list).
He the hitter of the day on July 21st against Covington, when he went 4-5 with five runs, a double, two home runs, five RBIs, and two walks. He was also very good on August 2nd against Strasburg in the playoffs, when he went 2-3, with three runs, a home run, four RBIs, walk, and hit-by-pitch. Another notable achievement was his 16 game hitting streak from June 15 to July 10.
Here are his hitting stats from University the past three years:
As a sophomore in 2018, as a pitcher, he went 1-2, 6.64, with a 1.62 WHIP, 6.2 BB/9, and 9.7 K/9 in only 20 innings. In 2019, he was the squad’s Friday starter, and went 4-6, 3.58, with a 1.27 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, and 8.2 K/9 in 83 innings pitched. In 2017 he was named to the American Championship All-Tournament Team, and the next year he was named 2nd Team All-American Athletic Conference at utility.
The 6-foot-3 lefty from Friendswood, Texas, also played summer ball in 2017 and 2018:
In the summer of 2017, he played for the Baltimore Redbirds in the Cal Ripken League, while only appearing on the mound for five innings. In 2018, he played on the Cape with the Wareham Gatemen, while appearing on the mound for four innings.
The future looks interesting for this young man- will a major league organization see him more as a pitcher or hitter?