Baldwin Drafted in Fourth Round
Pinecrest's James Baldwin III Tuesday became the first high school player from North Carolina taken in the 2010 MLB draft.
Calling it a “dream come true,” the senior outfielder was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round with the 142nd overall pick. Previously committed to play baseball at Elon, he now says he’ll turn pro out of high school, following in the footsteps of his father, Pinecrest pitching coach James Baldwin Jr., a 10-year veteran of Major League Baseball.
“We just had to go along with the flow,” James Baldwin III said, noting that at the beginning of baseball season, he didn’t know that being drafted out of high school was an option. “I’m just trying to follow in my dad’s footsteps, because I love the game of baseball.”
A three-sport star at Pinecrest who was an all-conference selection in football, basketball and baseball, Baldwin was co-Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in baseball in 2010, along with junior teammate Dillon Maples. As a result, both were named to the all-state baseball team.
Leading the league champion Patriots to a 19-6 overall record, Baldwin led the team in most offensive categories in his senior season, including batting average (.416), at-bats (77), runs (30), hits (32), doubles (6-tied with Joe Vecchione and Jacob Gibson), triples (2), home runs (7), RBIs (24), stolen bases (16) and on-base percentage (.531).
“Major League Baseball is moving more athletic, and they're certainly getting an athletic-type kid with an athletic frame in J.B.,” said Pinecrest head coach Jeff Hewitt. “We're just so excited. Our program is so tight, we're really family-oriented, and anytime something happens like this, we're all excited.”
The elder Baldwin, a Pinecrest graduate whose name is on the wall at the school's John Williams Field, was 79-74 as a major league pitcher with 844 strikeouts and a career ERA of 5.01. He was runner-up in the Rookie of the Year race in 1997 and won 11 games that year with an ERA of 4.42.
Arguably his best season came in 2000, when, as a member of the Chicago White Sox, he was 14-7 with a 4.65 ERA. That year he was the winning pitcher in the All-Star Game played in Atlanta.
A season later in 2001, he played for the Dodgers.
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